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Hawkeyes in the NFL: Fant and Hockenson Drawing Praise

Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson’s respective teams are hoping their first-round picks are quick studies.

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NFL: Denver Broncos-Training Camp Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Unsurprisingly, Iowa’s two rookie first-round picks are drawing the most attention among ex-Hawkeyes as we reach the end of training camp.

Noah Fant caught two passes for 14 yards in Denver’s loss at Seattle. Mounting injuries at tight end for the Broncos mean that more pressure is on Fant to contribute immediately, according to ESPN’s Jeff Legwold. Offensive coordinator Jeff Scangarello says Fant’s picking things up quickly.

“It’s not just learning the offense; it’s also him learning the nuances of the things that we know he’ll excel at,” Scangarello said. “He really has shown to be a quick learner. He’s got a skill set, and he can do just about anything.”

Yahoo’s Terez Paylor says T.J. Hockenson is likely to start the season as the No. 2 option at tight end in Detroit. His chances to contribute will hinge greatly on how quickly he learns to understand NFL coverages and blocking schemes.

Paylor wrote a detailed feature about Hockenson and why general manager Bob Quinn drafted him. Hockenson did not catch a pass in the Lions’ preseason debut last week.

Elsewhere in Detroit, MLive’s Kyle Meinke doesn’t expect Matt Nelson to make the 53-man roster.

Mike Daniels credited former Green Bay teammate T.J. Lang — who he’s now reunited with in Detroit — with helping to convince him to sign with Detroit. Daniels described his first meeting with Matt Patricia as a “shouting match,” which apparently was a positive thing. Sounds about right.

Daniels’ old squad appears to be machinating on a contingency plan in Bryan Bulaga’s contract season, given his injury-riddled history. Meanwhile, Saturday marked Josh Jackson’s first practice of camp.

A thumb injury could foil C.J. Beathard’s already uphill climb to win backup quarterback duties in San Francisco. Beathard suffered the injury in Saturday’s win over Dallas after completing 13 of 17 passes for 141 yards with a touchdown and an interception. George Kittle didn’t play and missed his first practice Tuesday due to calf tightness.

Teammate Richard Sherman said Greg Mabin is having a “phenomenal” camp, because that’s what Richard Sherman does. The Athletic’s Matt Barrows doesn’t expect teammate Ross Reynolds to make the cut.

Linebacker Ben Niemann drew praise in Arrowhead Pride’s Craig Stout’s film study for his execution in last week’s contest against Cincinnati:

Amani Hooker had four tackles in Tennessee’s 27-10 win over Philadelphia. Pro Football Focus included Hooker in an “Under-the-radar rookies to keep an eye on” list, citing his strong abilities in slot coverage.

Jake Gervase logged five tackles in the Rams’ loss to Oakland on Saturday.

Josey Jewell returned to Denver practice Sunday after dealing with an oblique issue.

Marshal Yanda still wasn’t practicing as of Tuesday due to the same foot injury that has nagged him throughout camp.

Anthony Nelson had yet to return to Buccaneers practice as of Monday, apparently still dealing with a knee injury.

Christian Kirksey sat down for an in-depth Q&A with the Browns’ official website last week.

Ike Boettger worked as Buffalo’s No. 2 right guard in Tuesday’s practice. The Buffalo News’ Jay Skurski doesn’t expect Nick Easley to survive the Bills’ roster cuts. Micah Hyde is no longer sporting a red non-contact jersey after dealing with a neck injury.

You might remember us mentioning last week that New England waived offensive lineman Cole Croston. Plans change! The Patriots scooped him back up Monday after a corresponding release.