Top Five 2020 NFL Draft Prospects- Tight End
These guys will be asked to be blockers in the run game and reliable pass catchers for quarterbacks. Today I rank the top five tight end prospects for the upcoming NFL Draft.
1. Cole Kmet- Notre Dame
Bio: A top five tight end recruit out of high school, Cole Kmet committed to Notre Dame to play both football and baseball. By his sophomore year, he focused solely on football as he became more involved in the offense. As a junior, he was the primary target with 43 receptions for 515 yards and six touchdowns.
Strengths: Good size and long arms with room to add more muscle mass. Will shift in formation and drive through defenders on run blocks. Good hand placement and keeps legs churning through blocks. Stays locked in on base blocks with slides of a offensive tackle. Frees himself from defenders downfield to create more catch space. Calm demeanor on high passes to secure balls. Gets to the ball wherever it's thrown. Sturdy between the shoulders and can absorb hits while continuing to gain ground. Bounces off defenders when running after the catch.
Weaknesses: Improvement is needed in body control and play strength. Angles and instincts as a move blocker are below average. Slow and ineffective at getting into block gaps. Hands need to be quicker and hips lack fluidity at the point of attack. Too tall coming out of his breaks. Struggles to regain composure when jammed at the line. Route running needs refined as he give clues to defenders to break on the pass. Hand strength for contested balls is questionable. Missed the first two games of 2019 with a broken collarbone.
Pro Comparison: Kyle Rudolph
Projected Round: 1-2
Possible Landing Spot: Jacksonville Jaguars
2. Hunter Bryant- Washington
Bio: One of the top prospects in the country, Hunter Bryant chose to stay in his home state and signed with Washington. By 2019, he showed off his talent on his way to second-team Associated Press All-American, first-team All-Pac-12, and John Mackey Award finalist honors while recording 52 catches for 825 yards and three touchdowns.
Strengths: Above average first step into routes. Coverage buster who can out run linebackers. Averaged over 16 yards per catch while in college. Impressive balls skills. Solid tracking and catching on the run. Perfectly times his the pass to go over defenders. Catches with his eyes and maintains focus throughout. Strong and quick hands. Plucks the ball out anywhere around his frame. Good speed to juke around tackler and create more yardage. Will find a home in the slot.
Weaknesses: Scheme dependent due to smaller size. Strong defensive ends easily power through his blocks. Block angles have to be more thought out. Could have issues with NFL press coverage. Lags when coming out of breaks. Complex routes and double moves slow down his game. Rounded off routes allow safeties to close in. Most of his college catches were in open space. Injury concerns. Missed final game of his freshman season and most of his sophomore year with knee injuries.
Pro Comparison: Charles Clay
Projected Round: 2
Possible Landing Spot: Indianapolis Colts
3. Thaddeus Moss- LSU
Bio: Play for five schools in four years while in high school, Thaddeus Moss signed with North Carolina State in 2016. After the season, he transferred to LSU and had to sit out the entire 2017 season due to transfer rules. By 2019 he became an integral part of the offense with 47 receptions and 570 yards and four touchdowns, including two scores in their National Championship victory.
Strengths: Not afraid to get dirty as a run blocker. Approaches run blocking with great conviction. Keeps hips even and mirrored to sustain blocks. Adjusts in open space to connect on moving targets. Kept Auburn defense end Big Kat Bryant in check. Phenomenal hands and instincts as a receiver. Disciplined footwork to make boundary catches. Wide frame to box out against safeties. Catches are almost always guaranteed on underneath throws. Plenty of room to grow and get better with good coaching. NFL pedigree. Son of Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss.
Weaknesses: Average athlete. Frame lacks definition and needs refined. Inconsistent hand placement in run blocking. Lacks quickness getting off the snap and into routes. Easily detoured by press coverage. One speed in and out of breaks. Route tempo doesn't have much urgency. Slow foot quickness going in and out of turns. Dexterity after the catch is below average. Had two surgeries on his foot that caused him to miss all of 2018.
Pro Comparison: Gerald Everett
Projected Round: 3
Possible Landing Spot: New England Patriots
4. Adam Trautman- Dayton
Bio: A quarterback in high school, Adam Trautman was Dayton's scout team player of the year during his redshirt season. As a redshirt freshman, he lined up at tight end, slot receiver, and Wildcat quarterback. Over the next three years, he became the Flyers leading receiver with 154 receptions for 2,057 yards and 28 touchdowns.
Strengths: Highly productive as the number one target. Big target down the seam. Good acceleration to top speed for a man his size. Good size and attitude to fight through press coverage. Leads defenders out of the seam and accelerates past them for the catch. Positions body well to create catch space. Toughness and grit to control catch through contact. Naturally adjusts to the ball in the air. Former basketball player who knows how to time high balls.
Weaknesses: Benefited from playing against weak competition. Freedom to run wild with lots of easy releases. Limited route tree. Formulaic steps through routes will be predictable at pro level. Not a real threat after the catch. Slows down once initial play breaks down. Awkward stance hinders power through contact off the snap. Initial steps as a run blocker are chaotic. Hand placement needs coached up.
Pro Comparison: Adam Shaheen
Projected Round: 4
Possible Landing Spot: Pittsburgh Steelers
5. Harrison Bryant- Florida Atlantic
Bio: Not highly recruited out of high school due to transitioning from offensive tackle to tight end, Harrison Bryant signed with Florida Atlantic. As a senior, he earned first-team AP All-American honors and won the John Mackey Award as the nation's top tight end. He led all tight ends nationally with 65 receptions for 1,004 yards while scoring seven touchdowns.
Strengths: Great fluidity across the field. Threat at the second and third levels of the field. Mismatch for cornerbacks when lined up on the outside. Accelerates into routes and evades traffic to keep up play on track. Alters route speed in order to uncover. Good instincts in space and able to improvise when the play breaks down. Technically sound as a blocker. Strikes with strong first punch and slides to stay engaged. Secures ball through contact. Played well against a great Ohio State defense.
Weaknesses: Still fairly raw. Could afford to spend time in the weight room to build more mass. More knee bend is needed for ideal leverage. Will stand too tall coming out of breaks. Just average at adjusting to off target balls. Route turns need cleaned up to eliminate wasted motion. Focus drops due to peeking in the backfield. Elusiveness after the catch is pretty basic. Must improve body positioning skills to become a dangerous red zone target.
Pro Comparison: George Kittle
Projected Round: 4
Possible Landing Spot: Green Bay Packers
Other Notable Prospects
Jared Pinkney- Vanderbilt
- Quick hands, questionable demeanor
Brycen Hopkins- Purdue
- Solid athlete, poor play strength
Colby Parkinson- Stanford
- Elite height and length, thin limbed on lean frame
Albert Okwuegbunam- Missouri
- Good size and speed, questionable toughness
Stephen Sullivan- LSU
- Team first attitude, thin lower body
Jacob Breeland- Oregon
- Fluid route runner, slow top speed
Sean McKeon- Michigan
- Good focus, must fill out frame
Josiah Deguara- Cincinnati
- Reliable run game blocker, lacks speed
Devin Asiasi- UCLA
- Good burst up the seam, weight management concerns
Mitchell Wilcox- South Florida
- Good ball tracker, small hands
Charlie Woerner- Georgia
- Ultra competitive, short arms