After testing at the scouting combine, it’s still hard to find a leader in the clubhouse for the 2020 NFL Draft at tight end.
The biggest position weakness in the 2020 NFL Draft is at tight end where a consensus top prospect has yet to emerge at the NFL Combine.
The position took a big hit early in the draft process when Penn State’s Pat Freiermuth decided to return to school. Notre Dame’s Cole Kmet eventually decided to declare, joining a boatload of seniors in the process. However, there still isn’t an upper-echelon talent, leaving a bunch of players fighting for the top spot.
Purdue’s Brycen Hopkins had been the leader of the group before the 2019 season began. His catch radius and abilities as a receiver are good, but not enough to create separation in his position group. Hunter Bryant (Washington) is another receiving tight end who’s gotten a lot of hype, and it’s warranted. However, some teams and analysts look at his size and believe he’s going to be a flex guy and is a little undersized.
Dayton’s Adam Trautman has joined the party later in the process and got a lot of attention after accepting an invite to the Senior Bowl. He looked impressive down in Mobile, showing good separation skills along with strong hands at the catch point. Kmet came into focus again as well after analysts went back to the tape, where he’s shown an ability to block and be productive as a pass-catcher.
As we entered scouting combine week, many hoped athletic testing would separate someone from the group. Missouri’s Albert Okwuegbunam stole the show in the 40-yard dash, running an official 4.49 at 258 pounds, putting together a better time than O.J. Howard.
Kmet ran a respectable 4.70 at 260 pounds and led in the vertical jump at 37 inches. In the agility drills, Trautman came alive, putting together a fantastic 6.78 in the three-cone, one of the best times in quite some time.
Former LSU tight end Thaddeus Moss didn’t work out after his physical revealed a Jones fracture in his right foot that will require surgery. The son of Randy Moss is expected to be healthy before his rookie season, but he didn’t have the chance to make his case.
The race for the “TE1” designation is still very competitive at this point, especially with certain players dominating in one area while others dominate in the next (in this writer’s opinion, it’s Trautman). With no clear-cut No. 1, it’s going to come down to preference for some teams, based on the type of player they want in their building.
Whether it be an inline mauler, a seam-stretcher, a red-zone machine, or an all-around guy, there’s a flavor for every team in the 2020 NFL Draft.