The bromance began in Mobile, Ala.
As the country’s top senior collegiate athletes gathered to participate in the 2020 Reese’s Senior Bowl, two tight ends, one from Dayton and the other from Purdue, would eventually become best of friends.
When Dayton’s Adam Trautman walked into his room on the first night in Mobile, he made an instant connection with the man he would be competing against and compared to throughout the months leading up to the NFL Draft: Purdue’s Brycen Hopkins
Even though they were both competing to impress the coaches and scouts attending the event, Trautman and Hopkins didn’t hesitate to help each other learn the nuances of Matt Patricia’s playbook after the first Senior Bowl practice.
“As soon as he [Trautman] walked in the room, we just hit it off,” Hopkins said at the Senior Bowl. “We had a lot to relate with. I’m definitely going to keep that relationship going after the bowl game.”
Hopkins kept true to his word, as he and Trautman have been in touch since the Senior Bowl ended on Jan. 25. But Hopkins did forget one detail heading into this week’s NFL Scouting Combine.
“Going in I told him [Trautman] I was going to request him as a roommate, but I forgot to send in [the request],” Hopkins said. “But me and Adam have just been talking and kicking it, you know. Really relatable guy. Like as soon as he walks in the room, we just hit it off. It’s funny it’s like I have known him for years. I wish him all the best.”
Although they may not be roommates this time around in Indianapolis and it has only been a month since the tight ends were first introduced to each other, there are some similarities that have begun to emerge between the two.
When it came to running position drills during the Senior Bowl practices, Trautman and Hopkins consistently lined up one after the other, mirroring each other’s approach on how to run a route or beat a linebacker in coverage. They both want to model their game after 49ers tight end George Kittle, showing they can be versatile. And the two acknowledged they can improve their blocking, ultimately making them more well-rounded players.
With all these similarities, it was a forgone conclusion the tight ends would become comfortable making fun of each other, like any good friends would.
“Now, you get to the point where you just mess around with each other and all of that kind of stuff, joking with each other,” Trautman said.
All jokes aside, like their last business trip in Mobile, AL, Trautman and Hopkins are in Indianapolis to prove they can be difference-makers in the NFL. And on Thursday night, both of the talented tight ends will have the opportunities to show they can be that kind of player.
For Trautman, he said his comfort when playing in-line with his hand in the dirt or out wide makes him a “big chess piece.” At 6-foot-5, 255 pounds, if Trautman replicates his crisp route running that he displayed at the Senior Bowl, he should make teams think twice about overlooking him.
As for Hopkins, he highlighted the importance of excelling on the drills at the combine. Since leaving the Senior Bowl, Hopkins has been working on the intricacies of each combine drill, making sure he can complete each one efficiently while also showing his speed. If Hopkins finishes with a fast 40-yard dash and shows good hands in the gauntlet, he can stand out from the rest of the tight ends
Regardless of what is at stake for each player, Trautman and Hopkins will want each other to perform well on Thursday night, because that is exactly the kind of relationship the two tight ends have.
What started out as being roommates has now become, well, a bromance.
“I love Brycen,” Trautman said. “I have nothing obviously but good things to say about him, and I’m sure he would say the exact same thing.”