CLOSE

USA TODAY Sports' Lorenzo Reyes breaks down the action from Week 3 in the NFL preseason and discusses why teams should stop suiting up their starters. USA TODAY

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

College football officially arrived last Saturday, and the NFL will come soon enough.

But not yet. 

Week 3 of the NFL preseason wrapped up Sunday. For those trying to gain a 53-man roster spot or crack a practice squad, each day could make or break one's football future. 

Here is the third installment of how Iowa's rookies fared in the NFL preseason. If you missed the first two, those can be found here and here

Let's roll.

T.J. Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions

Stats: Hockenson led the Lions in receiving, hauling in three catches for 52 yards in Friday's 24-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

Skinny: Another game, another look at why Detroit scooped Hockenson so high. The former Iowa tight end punctuated his nice day with this 32-yard grab off a play-action fake. Expect plenty more connections like that between Hockenson and Matthew Stafford this season. Their final preseason tune-up comes Thursday at Cleveland. 

Media coverage: NFL.com analyst Brian Baldinger broke down Hockenson's big third game here.

Noah Fant, TE, Denver Broncos

Stats: Fant didn't play in Saturday's 10-6 loss to the Los Angeles Rams

Skinny: Although the foot injury suffered in Week 2 put a scare in all of Denver, Fant and the Broncos have avoided any serious issues. Denver coach Vic Fangio said last week that Fant will be ready to go for the season-opener against Oakland. Fant missed multiple days of practice last week. Expect Denver to play things cautiously the rest of the preseason.     

Media coverage: A different angle, but here's a breakdown on Fant's fantasy value. Many peg him as a late-round sleeper. 

Anthony Nelson, LB, Tampa Bay Bucs

Stats: Nelson remained sidelined in Friday's 13-12 win over the Cleveland Browns. 

Skinny: Nelson's knee injury continues to keep him off the game field, but some good news emerged Monday afternoon. According to Bucs staff writer Carmen Vitali, Nelson returned to practice — at least for the portion open to the media. That's the first time Nelson has practiced in the last three weeks.  

Amani Hooker, S, Tennessee Titans

Stats: Hooker had three tackles — two solo — a pass defended and an interception in Sunday's 18-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Skinny: Hooker took full advantage of a miscommunication between Pittsburgh's Mason Rudolph and James Washington. Rudolph thought Washington was going to break out — but he stopped his route instead — and there was Hooker to make the wide-open sliding grab. It's been a nice preseason for the fourth-round pick, who was able to secure this interception after dropping one last week. He'll have a solid role for Tennessee this year. Hooker's final preseason action comes Thursday at Chicago.      

Media coverage: A couple videos involving Hooker here. Here he is talking for two solid minutes, and here is 102.5 The Game's Calvin Smith including Hooker's performance in his postgame breakdown.  

Nick Easley, WR, Buffalo Bills

Stats: Easley didn't record a catch in Friday's 24-20 win over the Detroit Lions

Skinny: Easley didn't take a snap against Detroit, and it appears his chances of making the 53-man roster are all but through. It'll likely be a battle between David Sills, Ray-Ray McCloud and Easley for a spot on Buffalo's practice squad. The Bills might take two wide receivers, but probably not three. The Bills' last preseason game is Thursday versus Minnesota. 

No one covers the Hawkeyes like the Register. Subscribe today so you don't miss a moment.​​​​​​​

Jake Gervase, S, Los Angeles Rams 

Stats: Gervase had one tackle in Saturday's 10-6 win over the Denver Broncos. 

Skinny: Gervase played 17 snaps on defense and 12 on special teams Saturday. According to this breakdown, Gervase was one of only three Rams to play double-digit snaps on special teams. This projection doesn't have Gervase making the 53-man roster, but his special teams usage indicates the former Iowa safety could land on the practice squad. Gervase's final preseason action comes Thursday at Houston. 

Parker Hesse, TE, Tennessee Titans

Stats: Hesse saw action but did not record a catch in Sunday's 18-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers

Skinny: There isn't a lot of extra room on the Titans' roster for undrafted free agents. But Hesse could be an easy practice-squad candidate. We'll see soon enough. Decisions are coming all around the league this week. 

Matt Nelson, OT, Detroit Lions

Stats: Nelson had 24 snaps on offense and two on special teams in Friday's 24-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills.  

Skinny: Nelson's usage increased a bit from Week 2, which is a good sign. But it still feels like a long shot that he'll make the 53-man roster. MLive.com Lions beat writer Kyle Meinke has been consistent with Nelson's assessment. That didn't change in Meinke's third roster projection

Ross Reynolds, OG, San Francisco 49ers

Stats: Reynolds saw action in Saturday's 27-17 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Skinny: With tons of supporters in attendance — around 80 people or so — Reynolds continued his preseason quest. Sacramento Bee's Chris Biderman still has Reynolds landing on San Francisco's practice squad. The 49ers' final preseason game comes Thursday against the Chargers.   

Keegan Render, C, Philadelphia Eagles

Stats: Render played three snaps on offense and one on special teams in Thursday's 26-15 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. 

Skinny: It seems Render's time with the Eagles is coming to an end. He played significantly fewer snaps in Week 3 than in Week 2. Philadelphia's final preseason game is Thursday at the Jets.   

Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at msouthard@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE