2023 NFL Draft TE rankings: Dalton Kincaid leads “unique” prime 10

With all due respect to quarterbacks, maybe no place on the offensive facet of the ball this yr has NFL scouts extra excited than 2023’s distinctive crop at tight finish.

It is a a lot stronger class than we have seen up to now a number of years, providing each high-end expertise and glorious depth. The first tight finish off the board a yr in the past was Trey McBride, who the Arizona Cardinals chosen fifty fifth general. There could possibly be a handful of prospects chosen by that time this yr with a trio of future NFL starters — Utah’s Dalton Kincaid, Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer and Oregon State’s Luke Musgrave — duking it out for the respect of being this yr’s prime tight finish.

Adding to the enjoyable is the truth that Kincaid, Mayer and Musgrave couldn’t be way more completely different in background, model and manufacturing.

Perhaps better of all, the depth this yr extends all through Day 2 and properly into the center rounds. An common of 4 tight ends have been among the many Top 100 picks over the previous three NFL drafts. I might be stunned if that quantity doesn’t double this spring.

1. Dalton Kincaid, Utah, 6-4, 246, Redshirt Senior

Overview: Given that he solely performed one yr of highschool soccer, the success Kincaid loved on the school gridiron is sort of unimaginable. After specializing in basketball for a lot of his prep profession (together with successful a nationwide championship with an AAU squad), the Las Vegas native initially signed with the University of San Diego, the place he instantly dominated, scoring 11 touchdowns on simply 24 receptions for 374 yards. 

He was much less environment friendly (however extra productive) a yr later, hauling in eight extra scores however practically doubling his catches (44) and greater than carrying out that feat with 834 receiving yards. Utah satisfied him to switch for his remaining years of eligibility and Kincaid continued his playmaking methods for the back-to-back PAC-12 champs, catching a mixed 106 passes for 1,400 yards and 16 touchdowns over the previous two seasons.

Bryson Barnes finds Dalton Kincaid on a five-yard TD to place Utah up 21-7 on Washington State

Bryson Barnes finds Dalton Kincaid on a five-yard TD to put Utah up 21-7 on Washington State

Bryson Barnes finds Dalton Kincaid on a five-yard landing to place the Utah Utes up 21-7 towards the Washington State Cougars.

Strengths: The basketball background is clearly evident in Kincaid’s grace, physique management and talent to pluck the soccer. He is a simple mover, simply shifting speeds to create area and exploit it after the catch. He is cat-quick as a route-runner and is arguably probably the most dynamic of this yr’s tight ends after the catch, displaying lateral agility to elude, quickness to interrupt away and even growing power to run by means of arm tackles.

Kincaid performs even taller than he measures, successful “above the rim” due to his extraordinary timing and extension to really catch the ball at its highest level. His blood sort have to be half-glue, because the ball sticks to his fingers even with defenders draped over him.

Concerns: Kincaid presents little or no, at the moment, as a run blocker. He’s keen to assist teammates however merely lacks the scale and power to do greater than pester NFL defenders and is clearly not a candidate for in-line blocking duties. Kincaid depends on his quickness and may battle with sticky, bodily defenders hampering his launch and nagging him all through his route. He might want to acquire extra core power to deal with the uptick in physicality he’ll see in protection within the NFL… He comes with reliable medical questions following the invention of a reported “tiny fracture in his back” throughout NFL Combine medical evaluations. Kincaid fought by means of a number of accidents in 2022, together with a shoulder challenge.

Bottom Line: The fantastic thing about the 2023 tight finish class is that it presents a number of prospects with seemingly untapped potential and plenty of others with terrific manufacturing on the school degree. Much to the delight of NFL scouts, Kincaid has each. You’ll at all times want he was a bit greater, however Kincaid’s quickness, physique management and mushy arms are completely suited to the fashionable NFL. He ought to make an instantaneous affect on his NFL crew’s passing recreation, justifying a first-round decide if groups are snug together with his medical analysis.

Grade: First spherical

Prior draft rankings:

2. Michael Mayer, Notre Dame, 6-5, 249, Junior

Overview: Like most Notre Dame gamers, Mayer signed as a premium recruit, incomes four-star designation and being lured to South Bend regardless of taking part in his prep ball in Kentucky. His instant success with the Irish justified leaving SEC nation as Mayer earned Freshman All-American honors in 2019, main the crew with 42 receptions (for 450 yards and two scores. 

Consistency personified, Mayer would go on to steer Notre Dame in receptions every of the following two years as properly, setting all-time Notre Dame data for tight ends with 180 receptions for two,099 yards and 18 scores in simply three years. With little else left to show, Mayer gave up his remaining eligibility and entered the 2023 NFL draft, hauling in at the least one reception in all 36 video games of his school profession.

Strengths: He is an imposing and well-built athlete with good general musculature. Mayer has a plan as a route-runner, slipping previous visitors on the level of assault and easing into his route, displaying the core power and sense of urgency to get into his route effectively. He’s extra nuanced than explosive however does a pleasant job of making area and offering his quarterback with a giant goal. Mayer is a savvy route-runner. He has mushy mitts to drag in passes outdoors his numbers and reveals good focus and grip power to win contested throws. 

Combine measurements proved that Mayer has smaller-than-ideal arms, however his fingers are robust sufficient to haul in throws. He’s among the many higher blockers on this class. Mayer initiates the motion with defenders, offering a robust preliminary pop and using the identical grip to latch and maintain blocks. He retains his ft chugging to maneuver defenders, somewhat than merely flip and seal them off.

Concerns: Mayer is not the elite athlete that his manufacturing suggests, as his comparatively pedestrian numbers within the 40-yard sprint (4.70), vertical bounce (32.5″) and broad jump (9’10”) mirror. He’s a bit sluggish out of his stance and wins extra with physique positioning than actually creating area. He has barely below-average arm size (31 5/8″) and hand size (9 ½”) for a person of his top. Mayer was charged by Pro Football Focus with 12 drops (on 266 targets) over his profession.

Bottom Line: More polished than his golden helmet, Mayer is as secure as a prospect will get. That is not to counsel that he is a very flashy athlete, with groups on the lookout for a playmaker within the slot or down the seam prone to goal one of many different, swifter athletes on this class. However, Mayer is a full-service tight finish able to boosting a crew’s operating and passing recreation instantly, and people typically require a first-round funding.

Grade: Top 50

3. Luke Musgrave, Oregon State, 6-6, 250, Redshirt Junior

Overview: Given his soccer bloodlines and an distinctive dimension/velocity mixture that counsel he is without doubt one of the distinctive athletes of the whole 2023 NFL draft class, Musgrave has understandably generated a variety of pre-draft buzz. He obtained comparable consideration when initially signing with Oregon State, selecting the rival of this system the place his father (Dave) and uncle (Bill) had starred. Musgrave’s expertise earned him taking part in time virtually instantly however manufacturing was robust to come back by with proficient upperclassmen forward of him on the depth chart. 

He entered the 2021 season with simply 14 profession grabs for 160 mixed yards on his resume, however broke out in his third yr on campus, setting a profession excessive with 22 passes for 304 yards and the primary rating of his school profession. Musgrave’s numbers may need been higher, however he was splitting snaps with Teagan Quitoriano (19 catches for 214 yards and three scores), who was drafted within the fifth spherical just a few months later by the Houston Texans. Musgrave appeared poised for a very dynamic 2022 marketing campaign — hauling in 11 passes for 169 yards and one other rating within the first two video games of the season — however he suffered a knee damage which abruptly ended his marketing campaign. He was capable of return for jaw-dropping performances at each the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine, tantalizing scouts with seemingly untapped potential.

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Strengths: Musgrave appears to be like the a part of an NFL athlete with perfect top and well-developed musculature. He’s a clean athlete with good preliminary quickness that extends into uncommon top-end velocity. He was clocked at an eye-popping 20.5 MPH on the Senior Bowl, routinely getting behind high quality defenders. His ease of motion for a person of his dimension actually stands out on tape, as he is ready to slither his method by means of visitors, displaying good stop-start quickness and burst out of his breaks to mission as a top-notch route-runner with a bit persistence. 

He has mushy arms and appears pure catching the ball. He’s a technically sound blocker who bends on the knees and reveals good pop and stability to latch on and battle on the line of scrimmage. Doesn’t again down from a problem on the level of assault and reveals good consciousness and physique management to select off defenders on the second degree, as properly. Mustgrave has good soccer bloodlines.

Concerns: Musgrave contributed lower than anticipated at Oregon State. He’s a little bit of a freelancer as a route-runner, incorporating little stops and pauses that appeared to throw off the timing of his quarterbacks through the years. His manufacturing was boosted by misdirection and boots that acquired him the ball in area. He flashes energy as a blocker however would not play with an indignant or violent factor that may strike concern into opponents searching for to deal with him in area. Musgrave was cleared by NFL docs to take part in each the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine, however particular person groups should need their very own evaluations for a participant who began lower than one full skilled season over 4 years on the school degree.

Bottom Line: In phrases of flashy upside, Musgrave could possibly be referred to as the Anthony Richardson of the 2023 tight-end class, as his uncommon mixture of dimension, velocity and a scarcity of manufacturing will make him one of many hotly debated prospects of the yr. It ought to shock nobody if in three years Musgrave is taken into account the perfect tight finish from this class. The actuality is, nevertheless, that regardless of his personal expertise in addition to a top quality offense round him, Musgrave merely didn’t produce on the school degree. The prime 50 choice Musgrave is prone to earn is a real roll of the cube. He is sort of an entire projection, scoring simply two touchdowns over the 34 video games (15 begins) of his school profession.

Grade: Second spherical

4. Darnell WashingtonGeorgia, 6-6, 270, Junior

Overview: Washington is a throwback to a earlier era of soccer the place tight ends have been primarily blockers who solely sometimes caught the ball — and even then, possible for brief yardage. Blessed with uncommon dimension and power for the place, Washington seemed like an NFL participant when he initially joined the Bulldogs, understandably incomes five-star grades from recruiting companies and selecting Georgia over presents from nearly each program after rising up in Las Vegas. He made himself eligible for the professionals as quickly as he may, declaring early regardless of ho-hum statistics (45 catches for 774 yards and three touchdowns) over his profession, particularly compared to his Georgia teammate and 2022 John Mackey Award winner, Brock Bowers.

Strengths: Quite probably probably the most imposing participant within the 2023 NFL draft. Washington’s listed dimension nonetheless would not do him justice till you see him matched up with the poor defensive backs and linebackers tasked with controlling him. A punishing, brutal blocker on the level of assault and downfield who seemingly relishes bullying opponents. He in all probability had extra knockdown blocks than any offensive lineman within the nation. Washington merely shoves opponents to the bottom and appears for another person to dominate. 

Of course, Washington is simply as intimidating with the ball in his arms, wading by means of arm tackles and carrying defenders for further yardage. While maybe he would not have probably the most pure arms, Washington is pretty reliable on this method, clamping down on the ball. PFF charged him with 5 drops (on simply 76 targets) and 0 fumbles over his Georgia profession. Theoretically, he has potential nonetheless to be tapped as a redzone goal.

Concerns: Washington is a rudimentary receiver who entered the NFL early with solely three profession landing receptions over 27 video games. He has below-average velocity and agility for the place. He’s a sluggish, predictable route-runner who depends on his dimension to get open, struggling to generate a lot separation from defenders tasked with following him in man protection. Washington could be a bit hesitant with the ball in flight, virtually like he is being requested to catch somebody’s cellphone somewhat than the soccer with arms extensive and ready for it to come back to him, somewhat than confidently snatching it out of the air. 

He might have the construct and intimidating issue of a tank however he is about as cell, lurching forward with sluggish steps and displaying very restricted lateral agility. Repeated ankle and foot accidents in 2021 (lacking first 4 video games of the season) and 2022 (together with being restricted within the nationwide title recreation vs TCU) warrant a detailed look by NFL docs.

Bottom Line: The expression “bull in a china shop” is a typical one in scouting, and completely describes a large and bodily mauling presence like Washington. He is the type of prospect who winds up extra fashionable with draft followers than scouts throughout the league. That is as a result of whereas Washington presents plain presents, he’s a little bit of a specialist, whose recreation interprets finest to extra of a run-heavy, power-based offense that comparatively few golf equipment are prioritizing in right now’s league.

Grade: Second-to-third spherical

5. Sam LaPorta, Iowa, 6-3, 245, Senior

Overview: Few applications routinely churn out high-caliber NFL tight ends just like the Iowa Hawkeyes do. Consider that the final three drafted from this system are San Francisco 49ers star George Kittle (2017) and 2019 first rounders T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant, with 9 gamers on the place chosen whole throughout Kirk Ferentz’s time as head coach. LaPorta leaves Iowa City as the best pass-catching tight finish in this system’s illustrious historical past, with 153 grabs, good for 1,756 yards and 5 touchdowns over 46 video games, together with 32 begins. 

Those profession totals — in addition to the truth that LaPorta was named one in all three finalists for the John Mackey Award in 2022 — are a testomony to his sturdiness and reliability, as, a lot to the chagrin of many Iowa followers, the Hawkeyes have one of many extra conservative and methodical offenses within the school recreation. Iowa averaged 156.7 passing yards a recreation final yr and scored a complete of simply seven touchdowns by means of the air. LaPorta’s tape suggests he could possibly be way more productive, and his historical past suggests the identical. Originally given a three-star grade by recruiters who doubted he may stay at extensive receiver in school, LaPorta dominated in highschool, rating second in Illinois prep historical past with 50 receiving touchdowns, in addition to third with 3,793 yards.

Spencer Petras connects with Sam LaPorta for a 16-yard landing as Iowa takes a 7-0 lead over Purdue

Spencer Petras connects with Sam LaPorta for a 16-yard touchdown as Iowa takes a 7-0 lead over Purdue

Spencer Petras discovered Sam LaPorta for a 16-yard landing. The Iowa Hawkeyes take the lead 7-0 over the Purdue Boilermakers.

Strengths: Former extensive receiver who grew into a good finish and nonetheless possesses the shiftiness and velocity to make overlaying him one-on-one a troublesome job. A high quality athlete with good preliminary quickness and above-average straight-line velocity for the place, however one who performs quicker and stronger than he’ll possible take a look at as he is a “natural” soccer participant who runs sharp routes, catches the ball cleanly and competes to the whistle. LaPorta has a plan as a route-runner, adjusting his gait and lean to get defenders off-balance and exploding out of cuts, creating straightforward throwing lanes for quarterbacks to take advantage of. He reveals good consciousness towards zone protection. Recognizes mushy spots and the place the sticks are and works to uncover for his quarterback. He has mushy arms and tends to grab and safe the ball in a single fluid movement. 

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He reveals good core flexibility to widen his catch zone, extending excessive, low, behind and diving forward to make troublesome grabs look routine. LaPorta is artistic after the catch. He has some lateral agility to elude and runs harder than he appears to be like, decreasing his shoulder and bouncing off contact with good stability and burst to gobble up yards. He is not going to wow anybody together with his blocking however he is assignment-sound and possesses sufficient power and competitiveness to show and seal off defenders. He’s alert and appears to assist out teammates. Voted a crew captain in 2022 and the recipient of the Coaches Appreciation Award.

Concerns: LaPorta has simply common dimension for the place. His common top and arm size (32 ¼”) does show up on tape with defenders able to jostle him at the line of scrimmage and throughout his route, ruining the timing with his quarterback, at times. While typically a reliable hands-catcher, there are occasional “drops” of contested passes where defenders’ longer reach can knock the ball away… Similarly, he lacks the bulk to handle consistent in-line duties in the NFL, projecting best on the wing or in motion. LaPorta is more quick than fast and played in a tight-end-friendly scheme that created advantageous matchups for him.

Bottom Line: LaPorta isn’t the biggest, strongest or fastest, but he’s among the better pure football players in this talented class of tight ends. Don’t be surprised if he ultimately winds up outperforming some of the flashier prospects who may have been drafted ahead of him.

Grade: Third round

6. Tucker Kraft, South Dakota State, 6-5, 254, Redshirt Junior

Overview: Lightly recruited after spending his much of his prep career at running back in a nine-man football league, Kraft was one of the true breakout stars in 2021, finishing among the most productive tight ends at any level of college football with 65 catches for 773 yards and six scores. Big, fast and productive, he drew plenty of interest from Power 5 teams hoping that he might transfer “up” in 2022 but he elected to remain loyal to SDSU, one of just two D-I teams (along with Wyoming) to offer him a full ride out of high school. Unfortunately, Kraft’s commitment to the Jackrabbits in 2022 wasn’t rewarded. In large part due to an ankle injury that robbed him of a month of the season, his statistics dropped significantly (27-348-3) and, with just one dominant year against questionable competition, he enters the NFL with the typical concerns about his ability to acclimate to the greater speed and physicality.

Strengths: Kraft looks the part of an NFL player with a well-developed frame that speaks to his commitment in the weight room. He flashes good initial quickness of a player of his size and is a smooth accelerator with above-average straight-line speed for the position. He’s a full-service tight end who was asked to play multiple roles in the Jackrabbits’ offense, including as a traditional blocker at the line of scrimmage. Has the frame to remain in this role, though he’ll need to continue to gain strength and technique. He’s also a diligent blocker in space, working to sustain and understanding how to use angles to block the opponent without drawing flags. Kraft shows reliable hands and can smoothly gather and tuck away the ball. He can also track over his shoulder.

Concerns: Kraft physically outmatched most of the defenders he faced and will need time to master the intricacies of the position now that he will be going against better players. His routes lack pace and explosion. He has shorter arms (32 ¾”) than his dimension suggests. Generated stalemates on most of his blocks, turning and sealing off defenders somewhat than bodily mauling them, as one would possibly anticipate of the decrease competitors.

Bottom Line: The Jackrabbits usually line up in “12 personnel” with two tight ends, that includes Kraft as a blocker, receiver and even an occasional runner. He was clearly higher than most of his competitors at this degree however is making fairly a bounce in competitors and it possible will take a while. Kraft might by no means be a starter within the NFL however he is demonstrated the work ethic and flexibility to at the least be a top quality reserve with upside worthy of growing.

Grade: Third spherical

7. Josh WhyleCincinnati, 6-6, 250, Redshirt Senior

Overview: A star for powerhouse La Salle High within the football-loving state of Ohio, Whyle elected to remain near dwelling and signal with the Bearcats, turning down presents from Georgia, Tennessee, Auburn and Wisconsin, amongst others. It took him a few years to work his method up the depth chart however Whyle lived as much as the early hype, incomes All-American Athletic Conference recognition every of his closing three years at Cincinnati and proving to be a giant a part of the Bearcats’ postseason run in 2021-2022, ending second on the crew that yr with six receiving touchdowns. 

Whyle stunned some by returning in 2022 however he was voted a crew captain and posted strong numbers (32 catches for 326 yards and three touchdowns), incomes First Team All-AAC honors and leaving a program identified for producing high quality NFL tight ends (like Travis Kelce and Brent Celek) with a report 15 profession landing receptions.

Strengths: Whyle has an imposing body with glorious top and size. He’s a clean accelerator for a giant man with a late burst that helps him run his method open down the seam and on crossing routes. He’s a straightforward collector of the soccer with mushy arms and physique management to show and pluck outdoors of his body, benefiting from his dimension, size and agility to win on contested passes downfield. He has a little bit of shake to him after the catch. Picks his ft by means of visitors and may shock defenders together with his burst. Whyle runs onerous after the catch, decreasing his shoulder and displaying good leg drive and dedication to run by means of arm tackles. He’s a keen and assignment-savvy blocker who reveals good preliminary burst and aggression to problem defenders and works to maintain. He’s an skilled blocker tasked with go safety in addition to downfield duties.

Concerns: Whyle is held again as a consequence of a scarcity of suddenness. He solely averages preliminary quickness out of his stance as a route-runner and is simply too predictable and informal together with his breaks at the moment — although the flashes after the catch counsel it is a coachable challenge and he may must run them with extra urgency. He struggles to maintain blocks for lengthy, ultimately getting tossed apart. Whyle is extra of a seal-off blocker than mover on the line of scrimmage.

Bottom Line: There is sufficient inconsistency in Whyle’s tape to supply pause, however one may make the argument that he presents the perfect whole bundle of traits, manufacturing and intangibles of any tight finish on this class. That reality would possibly very properly earn Whyle a top-100 choice.

Grade: Third-to-fourth spherical

8. Brenton Strange, Penn State, 6-4, 253 kilos, Redshirt Junior

Overview: Pardon the pun, however Strange took an uncommon path to changing into an NFL prospect, with the West Virginia native first shocking locals by signing with Penn State and changing into one of many uncommon Nittany Lions to earn larger appreciation from rival coaches than the media throughout his 4 years on campus. Strange signed with Penn State as a celebrated three-star, multi-sport prep and confirmed regular improvement over his profession, boosting his numbers every season. He wound up beginning 31 of the 37 video games he performed, topping out this previous season with 32 receptions for 362 yards and 5 scores, incomes Third Team All-Big Ten honors from league coaches, in addition to honorable-mention accolades from the convention’s media.

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Strengths: Strange has a compact however highly effective body which permits him larger contact stability than most of the tight ends on this checklist. He bounces off would-be tacklers properly, pinballing his method by means of visitors and forcing defenders to convey him to the bottom. He reveals little regard for his personal security, plunging into visitors or vaulting himself into the air in an effort to get each further inch. This identical physicality and competitiveness is obvious within the blocking recreation, as properly. Strange is at his finest on the wing or as a lead blocker, barreling into opponents together with his knees coiled to create large collisions. There is an explosiveness to his recreation that confirmed itself with an above-average 36″ vertical jump at the Combine. He complements his tough play and explosiveness with soft, reliable hands to catch outside of his frame, as well as the dexterity to pick up passes off the turf, high over his head and behind him. He shows good initial quickness as a route-runner as well as burst and balance out of his breaks to create separation.

Concerns: Strange is more quick than fast, with only average top-end speed for the position. He lacks breakaway speed and is too easily caught from behind to be the dangerous seam threat some teams are looking for, projecting best as more of an East-West H-back or “joker” tight end than a traditional full-service tight end. He possesses a slightly stubby frame, appearing shorter than his measured size on tape. Relatively short (31 1/8″) arms depart him susceptible to defenders punching the ball out. He punches above his weight class as a blocker however lacks the majority most well-liked to deal with conventional in-line duties.

Grade: Fourth spherical

9. Luke SchoonmakerMichigan, 6-5, 250, Redshirt Senior

Overview: A testomony to good, old style work ethic, Schoonmaker initially signed with Michigan as a comparatively unheralded three-star recruit out of Connecticut. Neither significantly giant nor quick, the then-225 pounder devoted himself to gaining power and bettering his quickness, steadily working his method up Michigan’s depth chart. After his first three years in Ann Arbor, nevertheless, Schoonmaker nonetheless had simply two whole catches to his credit score. He flashed in 2021, hauling in 17 receptions for 165 yards and three scores and with accidents to others creating a chance to shine in 2022, Schoonmaker took full benefit, basically doubling his earlier profession totals with 35 receptions for 418 yards and three extra scores whereas additionally serving as a key element to Michigan’s operating recreation, serving to the Wolverines earn the Joe Moore Award because the nation’s prime blocking unit.

Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy hits Luke Schoonmaker for a seven-yard TD to place the Wolverines forward 14-10 towards Purdue

Michigan's J.J. McCarthy hits Luke Schoonmaker for a seven-yard TD to put the Wolverines ahead 14-10 against Purdue

Michigan Wolverines’ J.J. McCarthy hit Luke Schoonmaker for a seven-yard landing to place the Wolverines forward 14-10 towards the Purdue Boilermakers.

Strengths: Schoonmaker appears to be like the a part of an NFL tight finish with a tall, highly effective body, together with good size (32 7/8″ arms). Played in a pro-style offense and it shows with his NFL-ready strength and awareness as an in-line blocker, attacking opponents with proper knee bend, grip strength and tenacity to sustain blocks. He’s more sure-footed than truly sudden as a route-runner but has good core strength and balance to get a clean release at the line of scrimmage and gets into his route efficiently, showing enough deception to get free against man coverage, as well as the smarts to settle in the holes of zone. He offers a big, sure-handed target for his quarterback. Schoonmaker is more nimble than he looks and is tough to bring down after the catch, lowering his shoulder into would-be tacklers and running hard.

Concerns: Schoonmaker has some medical issues that required a closer look at the Combine, including a sprained AC joint in his shoulder that caused him to miss time against TCU in the Fiesta Bowl, as well as a two-game absence prior in the year (reportedly for a head injury). 

Bottom Line: Teams looking for a dynamic seam threat might want to look elsewhere. But if a blue-collar, full-service tight end capable of creating push at the line of scrimmage and finding the soft spots in zone coverage is the need, Schoonmaker is a nice pro-ready option likely to be available on Day 3.

Grade: Fourth round

10. Davis AllenClemson, 6-6, 250 pounds, Senior

Overview: The fact that Allen leaves Clemson tied for second all-time among tight ends with 12 touchdown grabs over his career is quite a statement given that he starred at the prep level more on the defensive side of the ball. The former three-star recruit quickly shifted his attention to “simply” tight end at Clemson, playing in all 15 games and even starting a game as a true freshman. With so many mouths to feed on team loaded with future NFL draft picks, Allen didn’t post the sorts of statistics that earn much buzz in the media, but his production steadily improved, topping out in 2022 with Allen starting all 14 games for the Tigers and earning Third Team All-ACC accolades, setting career-highs with 39 receptions for 443 yards and five scores.

Strengths: Allen has excellent height for the position with long arms and good overall musculature. Allen’s best attribute is clearly his receiving ability. He possesses pillow-soft hands and impressive body control to adjust in mid-route (or mid-flight) to make acrobatic grabs look routine. Perhaps due to his basketball background at the prep level, Allen seems to have a greater awareness of tight windows, slithering his way past defenders with tricky footwork and core flexibility, truly taking advantage of his large catch radius by snatching the ball with strong, outstretched hands. He tracks the ball well over his shoulder and shows excellent timing to spring into the air and haul it in “above the rim.” While his ability as a receiver stands out, so too does Allen’s flexibility, lining up in multiple roles (inline, H-back, split out wide, etc.). He isn’t a dominant blocker but gets a good initial pop and works hard to sustain. He’s long and strong enough to contribute at the line of scrimmage and shows good awareness, competitiveness and quickness downfield in this area. Allen was voted a permanent team captain in 2022 and was a core special teamer throughout his career.

Concerns: He is just an average athlete from an NFL perspective and his relatively pedestrian 40-yard dash time (4.84 seconds) at the Combine reflects this fact. Allen has average initial burst and speed to challenge defenders in coverage, too often being forced to make difficult grabs because he didn’t provide his quarterback much space to fit the ball. He’s more graceful and gliding than explosive or aggressive after the catch, rarely breaking tackles or making defenders miss. This is a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none type who may lack the upside to get multiple chances in the NFL.

Bottom Line: Allen will be appreciated more by NFL coaches than scouts, as he possesses just average traits. He does a lot of the little things well — most importantly, making his quarterback look smart by turning his relatively few opportunities into important plays. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s still on the board well into Day Three but believe he will ultimately outplay his draft slot and prove a quality, reliable producer at the next level.

Grade: Fourth-to-fifth round

Rob Rang is an NFL Draft analyst for FOX Sports. He has been covering the NFL Draft for more than 20 years, with work at FOX, Sports Illustrated, CBSSports.com, USA Today, Yahoo, NFL.com and NFLDraftScout.com, among others. He also works as a scout with the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League. Follow him on Twitter @RobRang.

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