Senior Bowl TE RosterA group of high-impact players primed to light up the showcase event, the pool of TE talent set to take the stage in Mobile for the Senior Bowl is an enticing one. With less than a week ‘till pads begin to crack for Senior Bowl practices, here is a deep dive into the group of TEs to keep an eye on. We here at The Draft Network will have you covered from every angle starting next week on-site from the Senior Bowl.
Trey McBride, Colorado StateWhile it would be juvenile to say Trey McBride is the ‘next big thing’ at the TE spot, especially after the season we saw 2021 No. 4 overall pick Kyle Pitts have for Atlanta this year, McBride has every single trait you look for as a future high-volume target within a pro offense. Ball skills? Check. Balance and the ability to run through contact? Check. Elite athleticism? You bet. In a day in age in the scouting realm where teams look to select players with as many ‘boxes checked’ as possible to fully understand who and what they are getting in each individual player taken, it’s hard to find flaws in McBride’s versatile, evolving skill set.
Isaiah Likely, Coastal CarolinaArguably the most pro-ready prospect of any tight end in the class with his elite offensive ability as a threat in the passing game, Isaiah Likely’s speed, powerful hands, and breakaway ability have drawn the masses to Conway, S.C. With an innate ability to extend in close confines as he works over the middle of the field, his outstanding YAC ability will immediately translate to the next level in an offense that gets tight ends in space. If he’s able to add muscle to his frame without decreasing his functional strength, Likely, coupled with a quarterback who is able to pick apart the second level of a defense, could be a match made in heaven.
Charlie Kolar, Iowa StateEntering the fall, there wasn’t a more enticing tight end prospect than Charlie Kolar in college football. A 6-foot-6 blend of elite ball skills and a refined game as a blocker, Kolar’s stock has taken a gut punch this fall with the performances of the aforementioned talents above. While his production has remained consistent, I wouldn’t expect his name to remain in the shadows for too much longer. He’s everything the pro game looks for in an immediate impact tight end.
Jeremy Ruckert, Ohio StateUnderutilized during his time in Columbus with an embarrassment of riches on the outside at wideout, Jeremy Ruckert will enter the NFL with fresh tread on his aerial tires. A mover in the run game, he’s pro-ready in that aspect and touts intriguing ability as a pass-catcher to believe he could become nothing less than a target hog in the shallow to intermediate areas of the offense.
Cole Turner, NevadaCole Turner is a riser. Often flexed out as WR3 in the Wolfpack offense, he became a top-two target for signal-caller Carson Strong—who will also compete in Mobile. At 6-foot-6, he’s a large man and may have a difficult time winning the leverage battle when asked to work inside as a run blocker, but as an athlete in space, Turner presents a heck of an athletic profile.
Jake Ferguson, WisconsinIf you’re a team looking for a TE2 that runs heavy 12-personnel, Jake Ferguson is your guy. While he fails to stack up to Likely and McBride from an athleticism perspective, he’s a talent that will enjoy a decade-plus-long career due to his refined traits as a complete tight end. By no means is he a matchup nightmare in the pass game where coordinators will constantly look to scheme him flexed out on smaller safeties or slower linebackers. But Ferguson is excellent in the run game, sure-handed in the pass game, and as consistent as they come.
Grant Calcaterra, SMUThe third pass-catching threat out of the Mustangs’ offense that will suit up in Mobile, Grant Calcaterra’s story makes him hard to root against. A smooth route-runner throughout the middle of defenses, Calcaterra is an outstanding athlete who should thrive as a premier red-zone threat at the next level. While injuries littered his past, the former Oklahoma transfer has the potential to earn significant snaps in a spread offense.
Greg Dulcich, UCLAGreg Dulcich is a bit lighter in the pants than some of the other TEs in the class, but he has the requisite size to be a mismatch for smaller defenders. A glider in space who stretches out nicely to snatch footballs out of the air, I’m very intrigued to see him compete as a blocker.
Daniel Bellinger, San Diego StateArguably the top blocker in the class, where Daniel Bellinger’s game needs the most growth is in his fluidity as a route-runner and ability to create separation against linebackers and safeties. He’s excellent in identifying blind spots in zone coverage, but his biggest question mark lies in his functional athleticism and ability to create separation in man coverage.
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