[In this NFL Draft series, we will spotlight several positions of interest for the Dallas Cowboys. Scouring the landscape of draft gurus, we will put together mini scouting reports and weigh the pros and cons of many available prospects to find the right fit for the Dallas Cowboys come April 2020.]
Today, we look to find the Cowboys a tight end, it’s a big need for the organization. The Cowboys have an over-the-hill Jason Witten that will be wearing a gold jacket in a few years but is a free agent and could end up somewhere else. Blake Jarwin has shown that he can make plays when given an opportunity but those opportunities rarely come. Dalton Schultz hasn’t been much of a producer in his short career. Truth be told, the Cowboys lack a real presence at the tight end position but it’s something that can really improve an offense’s production. Mike McCarthy may want to add one to this offense going forward, so let’s have a look at this year’s class.
|TIGHT END||SCHOOL||CBS RANK||PROJ. RD||REC YD||REC||TD||Y/R|
|COLE KMET||NOTRE DAME||39||1-2||691||60||6||11.5|
|MITCHELL WILCOX||SOUTH FLORIDA||205||6-7||1326||100||11||13.3|
COLE KMET, NOTRE DAME
10 GP, 43 REC, 515 YDS, 12 Y/REC, 6 TD (2019)
Kmet has the look of an NFL tight end, he’s very long and muscular. He is also one of the more polished tight end prospects, in terms of having a blended skill set and being able to handle in-line duties. The only issue with Kmet is trust in his hands, he lets way too many footballs hit his body and needs to be more trusting of his hands. Overall, he isn’t the most athletic prospect but he’s more consistent than most prospects and has a balanced game.
|JR-NOTRE DAME||6'4 235 LBS||PROJ. RD: 1-2|
|Smooth release, good movement in & out of 3-point stance, in-line threat, tall & long, very muscular frame, great ball skills, very skilled in using leverage as a blocker, concentration at catch-point good||Let's too many footballs reach his chest, only functional athleticism, not very quick footed, not dynamic in any way but technically sound, needs to trust his hands|
BRYCEN HOPKINS, PURDUE
11 GP, 61 REC, 830 YDS, 13.6 Y/REC, 7 TD (2019)
Hopkins is a big-time playmaker on the field and is a receiver’s tight end in that aspect. He’s very fluid and is more advanced as a route running tight end. If the Cowboys are looking for a dynamic playmaker vertically, Hopkins would be their guy. Hopkins has issues staying engaged when the ball is not coming his way, he’s also got a lot to learn in leverage blocking. For as good as he is between the 20’s, he tends to disappear in the red zone. There are things to work on but Hopkins is an explosive receiving tight end, which will get him on the field early.
|SR-PURDUE||6'4 241 LBS||PROJ. RD: 2|
|Very fluid mover, advanced route runner, explosive playmaker off the line, solid blocker, mismatch player, fast & agile, consistent space creator||Play strength is a concern, thin-framed, needs bulk, not much of a red zone target, needs to improve hand-placement, needs to stay engaged in games|
HUNTER BRYANT, WASHINGTON
12 GP, 52 REC, 825 YDS, 15.9 Y/REC, 3 TD (2019)
Another great play-making tight end that stretched defenses vertically at Washington, Bryant is a dynamic pass-catcher. Bryant is a chess piece that will make a good mismatch option for any offense. He has a ton of technical work ahead before he can be trusted as an in-line blocker though he’s pretty good blocking on the move. Bryant needs to add some bulk because he is not nearly as physical at the catch-point either.
|JR-WASH||6'2 239 LBS||PROJ. RD: 2|
|Good versatility, can be used as chess piece on offense, mismatch player, great route salesman, deceptive in his breaks, great timing & makes good adjustments, does a nice job of positioning toward the catch point, great blocker in space||Not an in-line player, willing blocker but too narrow to take on big edge defenders, not especially great in clearing jams or making contested catches, hands fail him at times, not overly physical making the catch|
JARED PINKNEY, VANDERBILT
8 GP, 20 REC, 233 YDS, 11.7 Y/REC, 2 TD (2019)
Pinkney will be an attractive prospect to team that need a more functional blocker with pass-catching abilities. Pinkney does a great job of holding up at the point of attack, he can come out of his stance well and shoot downfield in the passing game. He’s not the most agile athlete and he does have some clunky footwork issues to work out. However, Pinkney is a great red zone threat and can box out defenders at the catch-point.
|SR-VANDERBILT||6'4 254 LBS||PROJ. RD: 2-3|
|Savvy player, good size & punishes defenders, makes the hard catches with contact, boxes out defenders, good hands, lots of experience with in-line responsibilities, keeps pads square when engaging defenders, big-play threat||Not real creative after catch, burst & acceleration are average, needs technique work, needs to improve his footwork, struggles to stay upright consistently|
THADDEUS MOSS, LSU
12 GP, 47 REC, 570 YDS, 12.1 Y/REC, 4 TD (2019)
Moss is a big-framed target that plays with physicality and is just a load for defenders to deal with. He’s very savvy at finding soft spots in the coverage and making the catch. Moss doesn’t have the speed but he does have the power. There is a bit of stiffness in his routes and he will need to learn to be a better salesman but Moss is a playmaker in the making at the tight end position.
|SOPH-LSU||6'3 225 LBS||PROJ. RD: 3|
|Phenomenal hands, gets off blocks well, creates in space, good in-line ability, boxes out defenders & makes contested catches, plays with incredible power at the point of attack, very polished blocker||Needs tons of work in route tree, doesn't sell routes well, not super agile, can seem stiff, needs to work on technique, balance can be an issue, must learn to loosen hips|
JACOB BREELAND, OREGON
6 GP, 26 REC, 405 YDS, 15.6 Y/REC, 6 TD (2019)
Breeland has good length and long speed, he will get downfield in a hurry. He makes good plays in the passing game and knows how to manipulate zone coverage. Breeland is not the strongest at point-of-attack blocking and he lacks explosion in his lower half. However, his large catch radius and abilities after the catch will be his calling card.
|SR-OREGON||6'3 225 LBS||PROJ. RD: 3-4|
|Decent long speed, stretches defense vertically, good spatial awareness, separates well in zone, good catch radius, will catch through contact, impressive YAC player, nice second-level blocker||Not explosive enough, not great on the initial point of attack blocking, just average athleticism, needs lots of cleanup in technique, average route runner|
HARRISON BRYANT, FLORIDA-ATLANTIC
13 GP, 65 REC, 1004 YDS, 15.4 Y/REC, 7 TD (2019)
Bryant is one of the best targets for any team looking for more receiving production in their offense. He uses his length really well, he has great athleticism and long speed to really scoot downfield. In the NFL, he will be a big-time receiving threat but he has so much to learn in terms of blocking, His technique at the line is poor and he’s just very underdeveloped in that area though he’s a dynamic pass-catcher.
|SR-FAU||6'5 242 LBS||PROJ. RD: 4-5|
|Super-productive, true receiving-threat, great length, does major damage out of slot, good speed & hustle, stretches defense vertically, creates consistent mismatch issues for defenders||Just not developed well as a blocker, sloppy hands & feet when asked to stay in-line, needs bulk, seems to play light in backside, needs to diversify his route tree|
ADAM TRAUTMAN, DAYTON
11 GP, 70 REC, 916 YDS, 13.1 Y/REC, 14 TD (2019)
Trautman is racing up the draft boards after his Senior Bowl performance. Like Harrison Bryant, Trautman has the length and knows how to use it. He’s very agile and has been successful in stretching the field as a receiver. He has a very blended skill set and might have the best upside of any tight end in the class. He’s just very raw and must learn how to win with technique over athleticism at the pro-level.
|SR-DAYTON||6'5 251 LBS||PROJ. RD: 4-5|
|Excellent length, size, & frame, explosive athlete, good blend of speed both long & in short-area quickness, agile, stacks & sheds defenders, can stretch field, all-around good chess piece for offense||Learning the position, wins mostly with athleticism, will have steep learning curve, not ready for NFL in-line play, raw player & needs technical work all over|