Week 1 of the NFL season is in the books, and man, did it feel like the league was standing in solidarity with Brian Ferentz. A grand total of 23 teams this weekend also scored below the benchmark of 25 points. The Eagles and Ravens fully backed their fellow bird team in Iowa by scoring 25 on the money.
Week 1 was gritty, it was a grind, and most teams preferred a more defensive style to their games. It was truly Iowa football.
It makes total sense why the NFL would have the Hawkeyes on its mind. A true NFL pipeline, you are bound to find a player from Iowa on almost every team in the league. The chances go up astronomically for highly paid tight ends, Iowa of course being Tight End U.
So how did those former Hawkeyes do to start the 2023 NFL season? Here is a roundup look at some of the top stars from Iowa, as well as some other notable performances.
Trent Williams+George Kittle sent Leal to Philadelphia lol pic.twitter.com/r5SoLAMtBX
— JP Acosta (Pug Dederson Stan Acct) (@acosta32_jp) September 11, 2023
It was a quiet first week for San Francisco tight end George Kittle. Battling a groin injury heading into Sunday, Kittle totaled three catches for 19 yards. His teammates were more than able to pick up the workload for him, Brandon Aiyuk and Christian McCaffery, in particular, carrying a bulk of the offense.
this is why TJ Hockenson got money by the way. TEs who are vertical threats >>>
— Luke Braun (@LukeBraunNFL) September 11, 2023
The Hock also got off to a quiet start to the season, but it wasn’t due to a lack of targets. The Minnesota tight end reeled in eight catches for 35 yards. While he played a big role in the offense, almost all of his work came in the short game. Still, his threat down the field did help open up the Vikings’ offense.
— Heavens! (@HeavensFX) September 8, 2023
Sticking with tight ends, Sam LaPorta made an impact in his NFL debut. He totaled five catches for 39 yards in the Lions‘ 21-20 victory over Kansas City. In the win, LaPorta made several key blocks in the run game.
WHAT A PLAY FROM AMANI HOOKER
— Action Network NFL (@ActionNetNFL) September 10, 2023
Amani Hooker had a heck of a start to the 2023 season. In Tennessee‘s 16-15 loss to New Orleans, the safety had an interception. He created another turnover, forcing and recovering a fumble. He also contributed a tackle for loss. Seriously, just look at this play he made this weekend below.
— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) September 11, 2023
One of the biggest surprises from Sunday was Buccaneers pass rusher Anthony Nelson. The former Hawkeye earned a sack while contributing some really impressive pass-rushing reps. Nelson has been a solid contributor for the Bucs, with 10 sacks over the past two years. Could he demand a bigger role this year?
Pretty special play in coverage here from Lions rookie LB Jack Campbell (No. 46) pic.twitter.com/quIZIWx3pm
— Jack Brentnall (@Jack_Brentnall) September 9, 2023
In limited reps for the Lions, Jack Campbell showed just why he has superstar potential with this fantastic play in coverage below. While he was only used as a rotational piece, Campbell will see more of the field sooner rather than later.
— Arye Pulli (@AryePulli) September 10, 2023
Lukas Van Ness pretty much looked like the same player he was at Iowa, and that should excite any Packers fan. As a rotational piece, he logged five pressures, tied for second-most amongst rookies, and earned his first career sack. He may be raw, but the talent is undeniable. He’s one to watch for.
— Blaine Grisak 💭 (@bgrisakTST) September 12, 2023
Probably the biggest surprise of the weekend came from the Rams and their left tackle Alaric Jackson. As the starter, Jackson more than held his own. He ended up as one of PFF’s highest-graded pass blockers on the weekend. He may have gone undrafted in 2021, but don’t forget, Jackson was a First-Team All-Big Ten member for Iowa in 2020. Could he be LA’s answer at left tackle?
Follow Jacob on Twitter: @Jacobkeppen
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