Rookie tight ends aren't supposed to be this good, this soon. But Sam LaPorta is no ordinary rookie tight end. And the former Hawkeye has a shot at making NFL history.

LaPorta had a huge game on Sunday as the Detroit Lions topped the New Orleans Saints 33-28. The Des Moines Register reports that the former Hawkeye had nine catches for 140 yards and a touchdown. LaPorta has already joined a small group of players to have at least 60 catches, 675 yards, and 6 touchdowns through their first 12 career games. Other names on that list include Justin Jefferson, Odell Beckham Jr., and Anquan Boldin. But there is an even bigger record that LaPorta has a shot at with five games left in the regular season.

Facebook via Real Time 1960s
Facebook via Real Time 1960s

LaPorta has a shot at breaking Mike Ditka's rookie tight end receiving yards record. A record that has stood for 62 years. The Register reports that Iron Mike had 1076 yards and 12 touchdowns during his rookie campaign in 1961. It is remarkable that the record still stands given the changes in the NFL, including a longer schedule. The Register reports that LaPorta is currently on pace to secure 91 catches for 961 yards. He'll need a big finish to catch Ditka, but it is possible.

No matter what records LaPorta secures this season, he has become a favorite target of Detroit quarterback Jared Goff. The Register reports that LaPorta caught all nine of his targets on Sunday, five of which were for first downs. While he is only a rookie, LaPorta is well on his way to joining the likes of Kittle and Hockenson as the best to ever come out of Tight End U!


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