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Sam LaPorta could be Sam Howell’s security blanket

Hogs Haven takes a look at 2023 NFL Draft prospects that could contribute to the Commanders

Iowa v Minnesota Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Sam LaPorta, TE
School: Iowa | Conference: Big 10
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 6’4” / 249 lbs
Projected Draft Status: Rounds 3-4

Player Comp: Hayden Hurst

College Statistics

Receiving & Rushing Table
Receiving Rushing Scrimmage
Year School Conf Class Pos G Rec Yds Avg TD Att Yds Avg TD Plays Yds Avg TD
*2019 Iowa Big Ten FR TE 6 15 188 12.5 0 0 0 0 15 188 12.5 0
2020 Iowa Big Ten SO TE 8 27 271 10.0 1 0 0 0 27 271 10.0 1
*2021 Iowa Big Ten JR TE 14 53 670 12.6 3 0 0 0 53 670 12.6 3
*2022 Iowa Big Ten SR TE 12 58 657 11.3 1 2 6 3.0 0 60 663 11.1 1
Career Iowa 153 1786 11.7 5 2 6 3.0 0 155 1792 11.6 5
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 2/25/2023.

Player Overview

The number of high quality tight ends that Iowa has produced in recent years is truly impressive: George Kittle, TJ Hockenson, and Noah Fant, and Sam LaPorta looks like a name that will probably be added to that list in the next couple of years.

In a testament to both LaPorta’s ability, and perhaps the weakness of Iowa’s offensive weapons overall, in both 2021 and 2022 LaPorta was the top receiver on the team. In 2022, LaPorta - one of the Hawkeye’s captains - was named as Iowa’s MVP a year after being given the “team hustle” award.

LaPorta was also named the 2022 Big 10 tight end of the year, and was a Mackey Award - given to the top college TE - finalist alongside potential first round pick Michael Mayer (Notre Dame) and sophomore Brock Bowers (Georgia), the eventual winner.

In a draft class that is one of the deepest in recent years, LaPorta’s skillset could end up resulting in him being a Day 3 steal.


  • Already an accomplished run blocker.
  • Former wide receiver.
  • Has very good hands and route-running ability.
  • Can break tackles effectively once he has the ball in his hands.


  • Could improve his contested catch game.
  • Not a top end athlete.
  • Needs to improve play strength a bit.

Let’s See His Work

How He Would Fit

In each of the past two seasons, Washington has drafted tight ends on Day 3 (John Bates (2021) and Cole Turner (2022)), after having gone 3 years without having drafted one. That’s a step in the right direction, and while Washington’s tight end room has plenty of potential, the 2023 draft represents - because of its depth - an excellent place to grab a high-ceiling addition at a relative bargain.

I would avoid a Michael Mayer or a Dalton Kincaid, who are going to be too costly for Washington to reasonably draft, and instead focus on a player like LaPorta who already has a well-developed blocking skillset and is also a plus wide receiver. A player of LaPorta’s eventual caliber could be exactly what Eric Bieniemy is looking to add to his offensive quiver.

As an additional note, how about we target Iowa’s former tight ends coach - and current offensive coordinator - Brian Ferentz as a replacement for Juan Castillo?


In what round would you draft Sam LaPorta?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    (116 votes)
  • 50%
    (220 votes)
  • 14%
    (65 votes)
  • 8%
    Not interested
    (36 votes)
437 votes total Vote Now