Tight End Cochart Returns Home To Visit Pack

A prep star at nearby Kewaunee High School, Colin Cochart was an all-conference tight end at South Dakota State. In our 40th draft exclusive, we talked to him and his collegiate position coach after Cochart left Lambeau Field on Wednesday.

Every year, Colin Cochart attends a Green Bay Packers game. This past season was no different, as he watched the Packers keep their playoff hopes alive by throttling the New York Giants on the day after Christmas.

Cochart was back at Lambeau Field on Tuesday and Wednesday as the Packers brought in the native of nearby Kewaunee, Wis., for one of their allotted 30 pre-draft visits.

"Oh, man, it was exciting," the humble Cochart said from his family's home on Wednesday. "I'm familiar with the Packers and Green Bay and everything. It was cool to go to the hometown professional team and visit. It was pretty fun."

Cochart, a tight end from South Dakota State, is the 36th-ranked player at his position, according to the NFL's official rankings that were provided to Packer Report. However, he has all the raw materials to be a longtime contributor — just like former South Dakota State tight end Steve Heiden, who played 11 seasons for San Diego and Cleveland after being a third-round pick in 1999. So, it's hardly out of the question that Cochart will be drafted in the sixth or seventh round.

Cochart's got great size (6-foot-4, 255 pounds) and strength (his 29 reps on the 225-pound bench press at his pro day topped the 17 tight ends who performed at the Scouting Combine) and runs pretty well, too (a solid 4.71 in the 40, officially).

"I'm an all-around good tight end," he said. "I'm not afraid to stick my nose in there against 280-pound D-ends and I can run with pretty much any linebacker. My catching and running abilities are just as good as my blocking ability."

The three-year starter earned first-team all-Missouri Valley Conference honors as a senior, when he caught 31 passes for 338 yards and a team-high four touchdowns. Along with the traditional duties for a tight end, the Jackrabbits used him as a slot receiver, threw him the ball on shovel passes and screens, and lined him up as a lead-blocking fullback.

"He created a lot of matchup problems for a linebacker or a strong safety just because of his size and his speed," South Dakota State tight ends coach Shannon Moore told Packer Report on Thursday. "When you watch film on Colin, he was honestly probably our fastest skill guy from 0 to 10 yards. He played full-speed all the time. When he got out of his stance and would get going vertical, he was one of the fastest guys on our team from 0 to 10 because he had that burst and quickness off the ball just like our normal receivers did."

Cochart was an all-state tight end at Kewaunee High School. His offensive coordinator there, Jack Novak, caught 12 passes and scored one touchdown with the Cincinnati Bengals (1975) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1976-77). One day before Cochart's senior season, Novak told him that he had the talent and drive to reach the NFL.

"Obviously, I thought it was a little far out, you know, coming from a little D-4 school in Wisconsin and I don't even know where I'm going to college," Cochart recalled. "But it gave me so much motivation, just to work hard and get to that next level and the next level after that."

That motivation paid off. Moore said Cochart had two goals upon his arrival: earn his degree and get a chance to play in the NFL. He earned a degree in industrial management in four-and-a-half years, and now, the NFL beckons.

Cochart said he will be back home in Kewaunee for the draft. And he swears his stomach won't be filled with butterflies on April 30, when the next phone call might be from his new employer.

"I was never one to get nervous before games," he said. "If you knew me at all, I was always the calm, cool, collected guy. I don't let too much stuff get under my skin. I do my own little pregame thing before games and it's just me. On April 30, it's not going to be any different. I'm just going to be relaxed with some family. It should be a good time."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport.

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