JOHNSBURG – C.J. Fiedorowicz spent the better part of 10 years waiting for this day to arrive.
So on Friday night, when the Texans selected the Johnsburg native and former Iowa tight end with the 65th pick in Round 3 of the NFL Draft, Fiedorowicz – who decided in the sixth grade he would work to become a professional athlete – was able to exhale.
Fiedorowicz was drafted while surrounded by many of his family members and friends at a draft party at Raymond's Bowl. Fiedorowicz said last week that there was never any doubt he wanted to spend draft weekend in his hometown of 6,300.
Fiedorowicz is the second-highest NFL draftee out of McHenry County. Bryan Bulaga (Marian Central) was picked 23rd by the Packers in 2010. Chuck Hartlieb (Marian Central) was picked in the 12th round by the Houston Oilers in 1989. All three went to Iowa.
Friday night's selection ended four months of speculation of how a prototypical blocking tight end would fare. After spending four years at Iowa being used primarily as a run blocker, Fiedorowicz spent the past several months trying to convince NFL general managers and coaches he was a capable pass catcher as well, molding himself after New England's Rob Gronkowski. He finished his senior year with the Hawkeyes with 30 catches for 299 yards and six touchdowns.
Starting in February, when Fiedorowicz was voted the top receiver at the Senior Bowl before performing well at the NFL Scouting Combine, the 6-5 1/2, 265-pound Fiedorowicz had worked to prove to NFL teams he could be a dual-threat performer.
Most draft experts pegged Fiedorowicz as a solid third of fourth-round pick, placing him behind fellow draft class tight ends Eric Ebron – who went to the Lions in Thursday's first round – as well as Texas Tech's Jace Amaro, Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Notre Dame's Troy Niklas.
Prior to the draft, Fiedorowicz met with six NFL teams and worked out privately for even more, trying to enhance his draft profile. This week alone, he spoke with the Miami Dolphins and Green Bay Packers, making a final push to sell himself as a valuable offensive asset.