KANSAS CITY — University of Iowa tight end Sam LaPorta was selected by the Detroit Lions in the second round of Friday’s NFL Draft. LaPorta was the 34th player picked overall. He is the 12th tight end selected in the Kirk Ferentz era.
LaPorta (6-foot-4, 249-pounds) is a native of Highland, Illinois. He was named the Kwalick-Clark Big Ten Tight End of the Year while earning first-team All-Big Ten honors. He was one of three finalists for the John Mackey Award.
LaPorta’s selection gives the Iowa football program three selections in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft for the first time since 2003. In 2003 tight end Dallas Clark was a first round selection, while offensive linemen Eric Steinbach and Bruce Nelson were second round selections.
LaPorta led Iowa with 58 receptions for 657 yards in 12 games, leading the team for the second straight season. His career totals include 153 receptions for 1,786 yards. He leads Iowa’s tight ends in career receptions and ranks second in yards.
LaPorta was named a Permanent Team Captain and Roy Carver Most Valuable Player.
The Lions posted a 9-8 record in 2022. LaPorta is the second Hawkeye selected by Detroit in the 2023 NFL Draft as linebacker Jack Campbell was the 18th overall pick on Thursday. The Lions also selected a Hawkeye tight end in the first round of the 2019 draft, with T.J. Hockenson being the eighth player selected that year.
Iowa has had at least one player drafted in every NFL Draft since 1978, including 13 first round selections. LaPorta is the 84th player coached by Kirk Ferentz at the University of Iowa to be selected in the NFL Draft.
With the selection of Campbell (Detroit, 18th pick) and defensive lineman Lukas Van Ness (Green Bay, 13th pick) in Thursday’s first round, the Iowa football program had two players selected in the first round of the NFL Draft for the first time since 2019 when tight ends T.J. Hockenson (8th) and Noah Fant (20th) were selected.
It is just the fourth time in program history that two Hawkeyes have been selected in the first round of the NFL Draft (1986, 1997, 2019). Iowa football has had a first round selection in four of the last five NFL Drafts. Iowa football is one of five programs to have multiple players selected in the first round in the 2023 draft.
To see the University of Iowa’s NFL Draft Central Page, visit Iowa’s Draft Central.