*Walt taking 2014 and 2018
Charlie Campbell, Senior Draft Analyst
Sam LaPorta Has First-Round PotentialUpdated March 16, 2023
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.
Iowa tight end Sam LaPorta was one of the stars of the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. He had a solid time in the 40-yard dash of 4.59 seconds, but he was superb in the field drills. Sources from a number of teams raved about his route-running and how well he performed in the receiving drills. After that workout, one source mentioned to WalterFootball.com that they thought LaPorta might go late in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. That led me to reach out to sources from around the league to see if there was a consensus that LaPorta had a shot at being a late first-round pick. Sources from four teams said yes, and sources from two teams said no. It only takes one team to fall in love, meaning LaPorta has first-round potential for the 2023 NFL Draft.
“Yes, I think he has a shot at going late one,” said an area scout. “He has really good tape. This is a deep tight end class, so it’ll be ‘what’s your flavor,’ but he’s top-50 for sure.”
Iowa has produced a lot of quality tight ends for the NFL under head coach Kirk Ferentz, and that tradition will continue with LaPorta. He saw the field as a freshman in 2019, making 15 catches for 188 yards. In the shortened 2020 season, LaPorta played well with 27 receptions for 271 yards and a score. He had 53 catches for 670 yards and three touchdowns in 2021. LaPorta then closed out his Iowa career with 58 receptions for 657 yards and a touchdown in 2022.
Sources from a couple of teams are disappointed that LaPorta has risen because they were hoping he could be available to them in Round 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft. While LaPorta still being around on Day 2 still is not impossible, that does not look like a given because some teams believe LaPorta might sneak into Round 1. If he isn’t a first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, he could end up an early second-round selection.