Every year, I get the list of the Senior Bowl prospects and go through each one for a 15-30 minute tape and initial data scouting session. I then slap an initial (school) grade reaction on each prospect and write a few lines about my first reaction to my preview study on them – to publish during Senior Bowl week to get ready for the practice week and game.
I’ll get a better feel for these players after we get their Combine and/or Pro Day numbers and run our scouting analytics and do deeper research on some of them, but for now he’s a first reaction preview of the players going into their Senior Bowl week (ranked by lowest-to-highest initial reaction grades)…
*Updated grades/ranks noted after scouting the entire week.
TE Sean McKeon, Michigan (6’5”/246) *Early Preview Grade: D
Has the look of a potential NFL TE…more of a backup/extra body TE for the NFL. Wasn’t bad when called upon in the passing game but wasn’t really looked upon much…most games he had 1-2 catches tops. Missed multiple games in 2018 and 2019 with nagging injuries. Doubtful he gets drafted or makes any waves at Senior Bowl week.
TE Charlie Taumoepeau, Portland State (6’4”/240) *Early Preview Grade: D+/C-
Has the initial look of a legit NFL TE prospect…has the size, seems to move around the field well…but as I watched more and more, I just didn’t see anything to get excited about. He’s probably a 4.8+ runner but looks faster and bigger against Big Sky/FCS opponents. He’s got to prove it to scouts during the Senior Bowl week.
TE Harrison Bryant, Fla. International (6’5”/240) *Early Preview Grade: D+/C-
Doesn’t look like he has an ‘NFL body’. Has some decent skills…good hands, maybe a 4.8 runner. Just isn’t moving like a high-end, fluid athlete at my first study of his work. And his frame doesn’t look like what you want in an NFL TE. He can get away with it in college, but in the pros he needs more muscle on his frame and I’m not sure his frame is prime for that. He could make a practice squad or fringe part of an NFL roster at some point, but I see many more promising TE prospect talents than this one in 2020.
TE Adam Trautman, Dayton (6’5”/250) *Early Preview Grade: C- (update: C)
Update: Looked like a legit NFL TE prospect, but more of a lower level starter not a future star…but in the right situation, maybe he’s OK. The small school guy proved he belonged.
Org. Comments: Dominated a low level of college play – 70 catches, 916 yards, 14 TDs in 11 games in 2019. Was like the Gronk of the FCS Pioneer League. He can catch and is bigger and faster than the linebackers at his level, but not sure I saw NFL speed here. FCS-Pioneer League speed but not NFL speed. He could be more of a ‘D’ than ‘C’. The Senior Bowl week will tell the tale better.
TE Stephen Sullivan, LSU (6’5”/240) *Early Preview Grade: D+ (Update: C)
Update: Was the most visible, ‘looked at’ by the QBs tight end every time I watched the 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s. He’s a former WR converted to TE at LSU. He looked like a nice blend, but not the high-end athlete type like a Darren Waller. Reminded me more of a Jared Cook.
Org. Comments: There is a reasonable NFL TE prospect hiding here, potentially. Didn’t do much on stat sheets in his college career but was more backup than starter. Was a TE but has the look of a WR/TE. Shows pretty good hands. Can move OK, maybe a 4.8 runner. He has some NFL features, but he looks raw and tentative. There wasn’t much I could get excited about watching him play.
TE Josiah Deguara, Cincinnati (6’3”/240) *Early Preview Grade: B-
With the rise of the passing game from grade school on up for the past decade, we’re getting much better passing QBs, immensely talented WRs and corners…and more athletic, accomplished receiver tight ends. Deguara is an athletic, accomplished receiver. He’s not a world class athlete playing TE…he’s just a very good athlete, for a tight end, who is a helluva receiving talent.
Smooth hands. Nice routes. And always seems to get open and be open by 3-5+ yards with talented defenders trying to keep up with him. He might be a deceptive 4.5s runner the way he gets space on tape. He looks like a 4.6-4.7 guy but might be a George Kittle shock 4.5s guy. Really loved what I previewed here with him as a receiver. If he’s 6’3” and/or above…he’s a top 50 draft pick potential. Generates thoughts of a smaller version of Travis Kelce (same college).
TE Brycen Hopkins, Purdue (6’5”/245) *Early Preview Grade: B-
TE size, TE look…but runs like a WR once he gets going. Very quick feet and a little breakaway-type speed (for a TE). Big Ten TE of the Year…and is much quicker/faster than last year’s winner of that award (T.J. Hockenson). A tight end that can move like this is going top 40 in the draft, I would assume. He is a faster/quick version of Hockenson as a first reaction comparison.
TE Jared Pinkney, Vandy (6’4”/260) *Early Preview Grade: B/B+
He’s a legit NFL starting TE prospect. He has the size, and with the size he was pretty nice movement skills. If he cut 10 pounds and added more lean muscle he could be really higher-end in movement numbers at the NFL Combine, and more of late 1st-round type of TE prospect. Good hands. Good open field speed and toughness. He just played on a terrible passing game in 2019, so his senior season was unnoticeable. Not his fault. He’s like a better version of Ian Thomas.