Iowa football: How Hawkeyes rookies fared in Week 4 of the 2019 NFL preseason

Dargan Southard
Hawk Central

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. 

We'll dissect it all here. If you missed any of the first three breakdowns, you can find those here, here and here.

Let's dive in.

Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson goes through drills during training camp Sunday, August 4, 2019 in Allen Park.

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 dissects whether Hockenson will meet his lofty rookie expectations.  

Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant (87) takes part in drills during an NFL football training camp session Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in Englewood, Colo.

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. 

It seems Anthony Nelson will have a solid shot to be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' fourth outside linebacker.

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 had a nice preseason and should be ready to roll inside the Titans' defense.

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.'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 came up in short in making both the Bills' 53-man roster and practice squad.

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.   

A decent preseason landed Jake Gervase on the Rams' practice squad.

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.

Titans tight end Parker Hesse (49) runs through drills during practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park Wednesday, July 31, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn.

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.

Lions offensive tackle Matt Nelson (67) and offensive guard Beau Benzschawel (63) perform a drill during training camp at the Detroit Lions Training Facility.

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.      

Skinny: Nelson had an outside shot to make the Lions' 53-man roster after switching to offense upon being signed. But he'll have to settle for the practice squad after being cut over the weekend.   

Ross Reynolds was one of four undrafted Iowa rookies to land on the practice squad.

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

Eagles' Keegan Render (64) warms up during training camp Thursday at the NovaCare Complex.

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, and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.