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The NFL preseason is behind us. Real action kicks off Thursday night.
Teams across the league trimmed their roster to 53 this weekend. That affects multiple Iowa rookies looking to maintain NFL jobs. A handful were cut, but many of those landed on practice squads.
Let's dive in.
T.J Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions
Stats: Hockenson didn't play in Thursday's 20-16 loss to the Cleveland Browns.
Skinny: Detroit went 0-4 in the preseason, but that didn't stop Hockenson from delivering a nice first run with his new squad He finished the preseason with four catches for 74 yards on six targets, including 40 yards after the catch. Solid chemistry with veteran Matthew Stafford should have Hockenson on his way to a nice rookie year.
Media coverage: This breakdown from sidelionreport.com dissects whether Hockenson will meet his lofty rookie expectations.
Noah Fant, TE, Denver Broncos
Stats: Fant didn't play in Thursday's 20-7 win over the Arizona Cardinals.
Skinny: This wasn't surprising, as Fant's ankle injury suffered in Week 2 was expected to keep him out the rest of the preseason. Fant has since returned to practice and should be ready to roll in Denver's opener against Oakland. Fant finished the preseason with five catches for 28 yards on five targets.
Anthony Nelson, LB, Tampa Bay Bucs
Stats: Nelson didn't play in Thursday's 17-15 win over the Dallas Cowboys.
Skinny: Nelson returned to practice last week, but the knee injury that's bothered him all preseason kept him from seeing any action. There was minor speculation that Nelson's health would keep him off Tampa Bay's initial 53-man roster, but the former Iowa standout made it as the final outside linebacker. Nelson will try to get right in time for the Buccaneers' opener against San Francisco.
Amani Hooker, S, Tennessee Titans
Stats: Hooker didn't play in Thursday's 19-15 win over the Chicago Bears.
Skinny: Hooker helped himself with a nice preseason. The fourth-round pick finished with seven tackles (six solo), one interception and two passes defended. NFL.com's Bucky Brooks gave Hooker a B+ grade after his strong Week 3 showing, which is arguably the most important week in the preseason. He'll be ready to roll when Tennessee opens the regular season against Cleveland.
Nick Easley, WR, Buffalo Bills
Stats: Easley had four catches for 41 yards on six targets in Thursday's 27-23 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Skinny: With almost every Buffalo starter sitting, Easley took advantage of the extra reps with his first stats of the preseason. But it was too little, too late to land a roster spot. Easley was cut Friday, and although some speculated he'd be brought back to the practice squad, that doesn't seem to be happening either.
Jake Gervase, S, Los Angeles Rams
Stats: Gervase had three tackles, two passes defended and an interception in Thursday's 22-10 win over the Houston Texans.
Skinny: Like Easley, Gervase capitalized with the Rams' starters sitting. But also like Easley, Gervase was released Friday. He is, however, coming back to Los Angeles' practice squad after a nice preseason. Gervase finished with the third-highest preseason grade among Rams players, according to Pro Football Focus.
Parker Hesse, TE, Tennessee Titans
Stats: Hesse finished with one catch for seven yards on three targets in Thursday's 19-15 win over the Chicago Bears.
Skinny: Hesse's transition to tight end didn't gain much traction in terms of statistics. But it seems Tennessee sees something in the former Hawkeye's versatility. After being cut, the Titans re-signed Hesse to their practice squad.
Matt Nelson, OT, Detroit Lions
Stats: Nelson played 22 snaps on offense and three on special teams in Thursday's 20-16 loss to the Cleveland Browns.
Ross Reynolds, OG, San Francisco 49ers
Stats: Reynolds played five snaps in Thursday's 27-24 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Skinny: Given San Francisco's offensive line injuries, Reynolds was the likeliest Iowa rookie to make the roster out of the undrafted bunch. But like Gervase, Hesse and Matt Nelson, Reynolds has ended up on the practice squad.
Keegan Render, C, Philadelphia Eagles
Stats: Render played 37 snaps in Thursday's 6-0 loss to the New York Jets.
Skinny: Sitting starters led to the high snap count, but Render hardly saw any significant preseason action. Render was waived over the weekend and hasn't been signed to any practice squad.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.