ATHENS — Isaac Nauta came off the 2019 NFL Draft board in the seventh round when the Detroit Lions selected the Georgia tight end with the 224th overall pick.
Detroit also selected a tight end in the first round, picking Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson with the No. 8 overall pick.
Nauta was the 13th tight end selected in the NFL Draft, and the sixth Bulldogs’ player:
Nauta caught 30 of the 31 passes thrown his way this season. The 6-foot-4, 240-pounder also had the highest grade among draft-eligible SEC tight ends as a blocker, per Pro Football Focus.
These SEC tight ends paved the way for their running backs this season! pic.twitter.com/OGYt4b3VoG
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 4, 2019
Nauta surprised some when he declared for the 2019 NFL Draft, forgoing his senior season of eligibility, as he factored heavily into the Bulldogs’ game plan.
But Nauta has always been at the head of the class, going back to his days as a 5-star prospect out of the IMG Academy after starting his prep career in his hometown of Buford, Ga.
Nauta improved each season at Georgia and showed a knack for stepping up in the biggest games last season.
Nauta had a season-high five catches for 73 yards in the Bulldogs’ 36-17 win over Florida.
Against Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, Nauta had four catches for a season-high 81 yards and a touchdown.
Indeed, Nauta proved to be one of Jake Fromm’s favorite targets in the Red Zone and on third down.
Nauta ranked tied for third among SEC tight ends in combined first down and TD catches last season with 18.
These SEC tight ends IMPRESSED this season and were reliable targets for their QBs. pic.twitter.com/Iz3xQYMpFT
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) March 28, 2019
Some might still suggest Nauta should have stayed another year at UGA, Nauta has not looked back.
“I’m the most at peace with myself that I have been,” Nauta said in the days leading up to his selection. “I’m enjoying the journey and soaking up every moment of it.”
Nauta was also the highest graded blocker among SEC tight ends, per Pro Football Focus.
Nauta knockdown. pic.twitter.com/5kIazNdSeX
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) September 12, 2017