The Detroit Lions made more headlines with a tight end they selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, but perhaps they should be making just as many for the one they selected in round seven. Isaac Nauta doesn’t get a ton of love in draft publications, but recently, NFL.com handed out some major love to him. He was identified as one of the favorite picks of Lance Zierlein.
Here’s a look at what Zierlein wrote about the selection:
“Nauta the football player and Nauta the workout guy were two totally different prospects, from my perspective, but the poor testing stuck, which is why he tumbled. His testing numbers suggest he won’t be an NFL player, but I love this pick in Round 7 because he plays faster than he tested, he has great hands and I can see him competing for a role as a move tight end or H-back when Detroit looks to create matchup problems out of two-tight-end sets.”
Nauta made it to round seven which was interesting to note, but the reason could have been as much about testing as anything else. It’s possible that he didn’t test well at the NFL Combine leading to poor numbers. It’s happened before so it will be interesting to see what type of player Nauta is. The numbers paint the picture of a super productive, tough as nails SEC competitor. Truthfully, an NFL team can never have too many like that.
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It will be fun to see Matthew Stafford toss Nauta the ball a bit and get the Bulldog connection going up in Detroit. Safe to say that both Stafford, his wife Kelly, who is also a Georgia grad, and Nauta will all be fired up about this. It will be easy to see Stafford putting Nauta under his wing thanks to this important connection on the field involving a couple of shared colleges between two key offensive players on the Lions team.
Stafford went to Georgia and so did Nauta. So does the young dawg know the old dawg? Not exactly, but as they say in the movie Step Brothers, these two are likely about to become best friends. Will be fun to see the Georgia connection in Detroit. The last time Stafford had such a connection was with Kris Durham more than a handful of years back, another former Georgia pass catcher who scrapped and made the team.
Many analysts see Nauta having a long pro career and making an impact in the league. They have also called the pick a steal and predicted the team would be keeping Nauta when all was said and done. For sure, that would be a huge development for the Lions to get that play out of a player they nabbed in the seventh round of the NFL Draft.
While Nauta did not test well, he did a nice job to always be a top target with the Bulldogs and that is something which always catches Detroit’s eye. The team likes production, and there was nobody more productive arguably in his career in the SEC than Nauta. Combine numbers only mean so much, but Nauta’s production could earn him a big role with the Lions who are needy at tight end.
If it happens, Zierlein will not be surprised one bit.