The Detroit Lions have double dipped on University of Iowa prospects early in the NFL Draft with the selection of tight end Sam LaPorta with their first pick in the second round (No. 34 overall). The Lions selected Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell No. 18 overall Thursday night.
In LaPorta, the Lions are getting an uber productive pass-catching tight end who caught over 50 passes with more than 600 receiving yards in each of the last two seasons. Iowa is known for developing NFL-ready tight ends, and LaPorta is next in line.
"I'm just going to try and add as much value as I can as quickly as I can," LaPorta said after the selection. "The Lions' offense last year was extremely explosive ... I just hope I can contribute to that.
"It's really cool to kind of be the next guy. I showed up as a freshman and I was just hoping I could sneak onto the field. Four years later I leave the University of Iowa and I feel I'm right up there with names like T.J. Hockenson, Dallas Clark, and Noah Fant and that's something I'm really proud of."
View photos of Detroit Lions first-round picks Jahmyr Gibbs & Jack Campbell arriving in Detroit and touring the Allen Park training facility.
A four-year starter at Iowa, LaPorta was the featured target in Iowa's offense splitting time almost equally as an inline tight end and a player who lined up offline in the slot or out wide. Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson will no-doubt like that kind of versatility. LaPorta was the Big Ten's Tight End of the Year and finished as the program's all-time receptions leader (153) at the position.
LaPorta said he is super excited to be teammates with Campbell once again.
"I kept getting asked in the Combine interview process what teammate I wanted to bring with me to my new team and I kept saying Jack Campbell, Jack Campbell," LaPorta said. "I think the kid really speaks for himself. Phenomenal football player and even better human. I just can't wait to be back in the building with him."
LaPorta (6-3, 245) ran the 40 in 4.59 seconds at the Combine. He's a solid route runner who should be able to make an impact right away.
He joins a Lions tight end group that set a franchise record with 12 touchdowns from the position last season.
Johnson knows how to utilize the tight end position in a playmaking role, and LaPorta should fit right in.