Lions’ T.J. Hockenson on 1st-round status with Broncos’ Noah Fant: ‘We just wanted to both be great’

Being one of two tight ends selected in the first round of the same NFL Draft is, in itself, fairly unique.

When both of those players are from the same school, that takes it to an entirely different level.

‘We pushed each other every day and it showed’

T.J. Hockenson shared that distinction with former fellow Iowa teammate Noah Fant after Hockenson was chosen seventh overall by the Detroit Lions and Fant was picked 20th overall by the Denver Broncos.

“Being able to be a part of different organizations, it’s a little different.”

“It was special, it really was, having Noah with me,” Hockenson told Jeff Rickard and Phil Savage on Late Hits. “We pushed each other every day and it showed. It showed on our work ethic. It showed on tape that we just wanted to both be great. And that’s what we’re trying to do still at the next level.

‘It’s cool, just being able to see him grow’

“Being able to be a part of different organizations, it’s a little different. It’s cool, just being able to see him grow and on the same hand, him being able to still have me as a friend and as someone he can always talk to is really cool.”

Hockenson believes that his opportunity to play in the NFL, regardless of where he was drafted, is tied directly to having played at Iowa. He has nothing but praise for what coach Kirk Ferentz and strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle did to help prepare him for the next level.

‘That really helped me to be able to develop, being under Coach Doyle and Coach Ferentz’

“I owe everything to that university, those coaches,” Hockenson said. “They excel you to the next level and they push you as fast as they can. That really helped me to be able to develop, being under Coach Doyle and Coach Ferentz, just being able to develop as a player and understand the game of football.

“Now I’m trying to understand the game even more at this next level and trying to learn from all these coaches. I learn from Coach (Matt) Patricia, I learn from Coach (Chris) White, my tight ends coach in Detroit. And it’s just a learning process, a little learning curve, and just like anything, any new job, any new experience, you’ve got to learn. And I’m excited to be a part of this this program and I’m just very grateful.”

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