2019 NFL Combine Scouting Preview/Ranking: TE
TE Dawson Knox, Ole Miss (6’3”/255) *Preview Scouting Grade: F
More FB/H-back than TE prospect…as a TE prospect he’s mostly for blocking. Nothing super-exciting here.
TE Trevon Wesco, West Va. (6’3”/266) *Preview Scouting Grade: F
Boat anchor in the ass slow. Not sure how he got an invite and Stetson’s Donald Parham did not. Very slow and below average hands. No interest.
TE Zach Gentry, Michigan (6’5”/260) *Preview Scouting Grade: D-
Tall, but not that athletic…nor that powerful. Plays more finesse, tentative than you’d like for his body, and he’s not fast/quick enough to be a pass game weapon in the NFL. I have a feeling he’ll be a ghost among the TE prospects at the NFL Combine.
TE Drew Sample, Washington (6’5”/259) *Preview Scouting Grade: D-
Big, but slow TE. May work as a blocker in the NFL, and occasional pass target…not likely a high-productivity receiving option.
TE Caleb Wilson, UCLA (6’5”/240) *Preview Scouting Grade: D
I always laugh when I see his name on lists. This time last year – was the majority of analyst’s #1 ranked TE prospect. A year later he’s fallen to #5+. He shouldn’t even be in the top 10. He’s too slow, too finesse, and not that great a receiver. He had one huge game in 2017 on a million targets and analysts went nuts. You can tell a website, scout, etc., that doesn’t know what they’re doing when they rate this guy top 5-10 in the class. Man, if his tape didn’t tell you just watch him flopping around at the Senior Bowl (late invite for Donald Parham injured at Mobile).
TE Daniel Helm, Duke (6’3”/251) *Preview Scouting Grade: D
Looks more like a big WR than TE. Not a big/strong body frame…so, kinda flimsy as a blocker. Has some NFL movement and decent hands, but at the next level he looks like he’d be over-matched trying to become a consistent starter.
TE Keenen Brown, Texas State (6’2”/250) *Preview Scouting Grade: D
Unusual body type TE prospect…skinnier lower body. Not a tall TE with reach, but he appears to have NFL speed. Was buried at Oklahoma State for years then was a senior transfer to Texas State, where he had a decent 2018. Just doesn’t have much to excite me…or the NFL, I suspect.
TE T.J. Hockenson, Iowa (6’4”/250) *Preview Scouting Grade: D
The fact that this guy is sitting among draft websites as a top five TE prospect, and on more than one I saw he was #1…it’s absurd. The fact that he won the Tight End of the Year Award in the Big Ten is utterly ridiculous as well. He’s going to run a 4.8-4.9+ 40-time and drop from top TE prospect to 3rd-day draft pick. He doesn’t have the coveted size of an NFL starting TE, and he sure doesn’t have the athleticism…not what I see on tape. I literally cannot believe this guy has this much draft status.
TE Josh Oliver, San Jose State (6’5”/253) *Preview Scouting Grade: D+/C-
Big, bulky TE. Better blocker/wall than big-time receiving threat, but I think there is some upside for him as a receiver. I fear he’ll get pigeon-holed as a ‘blocker’.
TE Kendall Blanton, Missouri (6’5”/250) *Preview Scouting Grade: C-
Has some ‘weapon’ ability in the pass game…looks more like a WR/TE hybrid. Has the height but is more on the wiry side, body type, than ‘bulky’. Hard to know upside playing with inaccurate Drew Lock who didn’t throw to anyone over the middle well…really hurting his TE’s potential output.
TE C.J. Conrad, Kentucky (6’4”/250) *Preview Scouting Grade: C-
Hard to scout because he was used more as a red zone threat. You watch some tape and you think you see a hidden gem and then you watch more and think you’re watching an NFL backup TE at best. He looks capable not ‘wow’. Could be decent, reliable for the NFL…not any ‘star’ power.
TE Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M (6’4”/250) *Preview Scouting Grade: C-/C
Has very underrated speed. Solid+ hands. Agility is iffy. Has some moments that catch your attention, and then some where he looks very average. He’s got a little something, potentially. He’s more ‘C’ than ‘C-‘ for me right now.
TE Tommy Sweeney, Boston College (6’5”/259) *Preview Scouting Grade: C
Has a Zach Ertz kinda vibe…not a great athlete, but gets open and makes all the catches. Sneaky good in the pass game and a solid blocker.
TE Dax Raymond, Utah State (6’5”/245) *Preview Scouting Grade: C
Some Travis Kelce hopes here. Really looks like and works like Kelce, down to the #87 uniform in college. The concern…played in a productive passing game but went 27-345-2 on the season in 10 games in 2018.
TE Kaden Smith, Stanford (6’5”/253) *Preview Scouting Grade: C
Below average athlete at TE, but maybe the best hands of all the TE prospects here this year. Hard to properly grade him because of the dichotomy. The NFL likes bigger, slower, hands TEs more than athletes, so Smith is more likely to get opportunity than not.
TE Alize Mack, Notre Dame (6’5”/240) *Preview Scouting Grade: C+
Might find his way to ‘B’ grade status after the Combine. He might be surprise low 4.5s runner. Nice burst and open field speed. Solid hands. Has an upside in a pro pass game. His Combine is going to very interesting…the most room to jump of any TE prospect, potentially.
TE Foster Moreau, LSU (6’4”/253) *Preview Scouting Grade: B-
I’m a fan. I think he’s a poor man’s George Kittle/Blake Jarwin type TE prospect. Showed out well at the Senior Bowl. LSU had an awful pass game, so he was hidden from production in college. Could solidify a top 75 draft status with a nice Combine.
TE Isaac Nauta, Georgia (6’4”/246) *Preview Scouting Grade: B-
One of the better sleepers in this TE class…a potential poor man’s Travis Kelce in development. Five-star high school TE recruit. Top freshman TE in the SEC in 2016. A little lost in the weaker Georgia passing game his entire career. Needs work in the weight room and he might be more of a B+.
TE Kahale Warring, San Diego State (6’5”/250) *Preview Scouting Grade: B/B+
Sleeper ‘best’ TE prospect in this draft class. Looking at two sample/random draft sites, I see him ranked #14 among TEs in one and not at all in the top 50 in the other. Great physique. Good athlete with some hops, and very good hands…not obvious hands because of his lower production numbers – however, he played in a terrible passing game. Watch out for him ‘winning’ the Combine among TEs and getting himself in the top 150.
TE Irv Smith, Alabama (6’4”/241) *Preview Scouting Grade: B+
Definitely one of the best TE prospects in this year’s draft class – above average speed-agility and nice hands. I love the confidence he has in the pass game and after the catch. Smith is a lesser O.J. Howard athlete but a more NFL-ready-right-away TE for the passing game. Howard was more explosive…Smith is better in routes and getting open, a better technician at their early stages.
TE Noah Fant, Iowa (6’5”/241) *Preview Scouting Grade: A-/A
One of the best TE receiving weapons I’ve ever scouted in college…and, of course, to an old-school coach like they have in Iowa – that means use him as a blocker in a heavy run game and as a decoy in the passing game. Watching him toy with defenses for 11 TDs in 2017 and then have just 7 TDs and a little over 3+ catches and 40+ yards per game was ridiculous.
If you’re wanting more blocking, and don’t see it in Fant…who cares? His gift is as a ‘weapon’ in the passing game. Evan Engram was an atrocious blocker in college and has become a solid one in the NFL. Blocking can be improved, what Fant has as a receiver cannot be taught…and only Evan Engram could match it, maybe.
Fant gets off the snap quick and picks up speed to out run defenders. Good hands and going to test high-end in speed-agility at the NFL Combine. Looked like an A+ in 2017, more of an A- in 2018…not as much ‘wow’ in 2018…not sure if he did something different in 2018 or got frustrated or what.
If there’s a better TE prospect in this draft, I’d be shocked.