Trautman making a difference in his rookie season in the NFL

Adam Trautman, former tight end for the University of Dayton football team, has started his NFL career with several catches and dependable play. Photo courtesy of Flyer News.

Peter Burtnett
Sports Editor

For much of 2020, the focus of sports coverage at the University of Dayton centered around Obi Toppin and the electric men’s basketball team. But while the men’s basketball team racked up the wins, a former UD tight end was preparing for the NFL Draft and the season that follows.

As the spring turned into early summer, that tight end, 6-foot-5 Adam Trautman from Elk Rapids, Michigan, was selected with the No. 105 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. 

With that selection, UD football was put back on the map. With former alumnus Jon Gruden and a handful of other former-Flyer assistant coaches, the program’s place on the map is growing.

Since the selection, Trautman spent the summer months training for the season, even through the challenges that the entire NFL has faced because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although Trautman could not be reached for comment, his time in the NFL so far has to be satisfying. Even for a player who caught 171 passes for 2,295 yards and 31 touchdowns over his UD career, 3 catches for 34 yards from the future Hall-of-Famer Drew Brees is a pretty good start.

His first catch came on Monday Night Football against Gruden’s Las Vegas Raiders, a 17-yard post-route that put the Saints in the red zone. Although the Saints lost the game, it was a big night for both Trautman and the UD football program.

The next week against the Green Bay Packers, Trautman played 32 snaps and caught two passes for 17 yards after an injury to tight end Jared Cook. Saints tight ends coach Dan Campbell told WWL Radio in New Orleans, “I think we all like the kid and where he’s going.”

“When that injury happened with Cook, I didn’t hesitate to put him into that role,”Campbell said. “I think that says a lot about that kid.”

Trautman followed that up with 19 snaps played on offense against the Detroit Lions in a home-coming game of sorts for the Michigander, but was a “healthy scratch” in week 5 against the Los Angeles Chargers.

The next several weeks were quiet for the tight end, but against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week nine, Trautman had his break-out game in a 38-3 Saints win.

On the last play of the first quarter, Drew Brees found Trautman over the middle for a 7-yard touchdown, Trautman’s first TD catch in the NFL to give the Saints a 14-0 lead to end the quarter.

Midway through the third quarter, Trautman got his second catch for 2 yards, but his longest catch of the game (and his career so far) came after a dropped snap by utility player/back-up QB Taysom Hill.

Hill recovered and found Trautman along the sideline, and the Elk Rapids native picked up over 20 yards before lowering his shoulder to pick up a few more yards for a 29-yard gain.

As time wound down in the Saints’ 38-3 win, Trautman also got in on several snaps. The Saints now sit at 6-2, and Trautman has racked up six catches for 73 yards and a TD.

The rookie is already making a difference at the halfway point of the Saints’ season, and has even made an appearance in a Microsoft Surface commercial titled, “Celebrating Traditions with the New Orleans Saints.”

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