Isaac Nauta was surely pleased to get picked by the Lions, but they're the same team that spent a first-round pick on a player at his position. Nauta notched eight touchdowns over three seasons at Georgia, playing well and snapping up everything thrown his way. His speed is okay for a guy his size and his blocking skills should make him serviceable on special teams. Could he unseat T.J. Hockenson for the starting job? "Nauta" chance! That keeps him as a late-round flier for patient managers in dynasty and keeper leagues.
Nauta (undisclosed) has been working through a rehab regimen during spring workouts, Tim Twentyman of the Lions' official site reports. It isn't clear what sort of injury Nauta is tending to, or if he entered the league with the injury. If the latter is true, it may explain why he fell to the seventh round of April's draft. In any case, Nauta's limitations during spring workouts aren't the ideal way to begin his professional career, especially with Logan Thomas, a quarterback in college, making strides in his development. Nauta seemingly has more upside than Thomas, though, and it wouldn't be a shock if the Georgia product lays claim to the No. 3 role prior to Week 1.
The Lions selected Nauta in the seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft, 224th overall. Nauta's ugly 40-yard dash (4.91) at the combine likely caused such a precipitous fall, as the Georgia tight end was considered a potential Day 2 prospect prior to the poor outing. "Matchup tight end" is a buzz phrase too often used in this day and age, but it's worth pointing out Nauta's collegiate numbers (30 catches, 430 yards in his junior season) seem to reflect a player capable of getting himself open. The Lions clearly seem intent on improving their TE depth chart, as Nauta became the third player at the position to join Detroit this offseason. (Jesse James and first-round T.J. Hockenson are the other two.)
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/15||Los Angeles Chargers||10||5.67|
|4||09/29||Kansas City Chiefs||31||9.56|
|6||10/15||@Green Bay Packers||8||5.50|
|8||10/27||New York Giants||19||7.38|
|15||12/15||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||22||7.88|
|17||12/29||Green Bay Packers||8||5.50|