2020 NFL Draft Preview - The TE Class
Dan Servodidio takes a look at the top tight ends coming out in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Although coronavirus is impacting live sports across the world this spring, we still have the NFL Draft scheduled for April 23rd! That means it’s time to talk about the top prospects at each of the fantasy-relevant positions before they enter the league. Every year we see NFL rookies emerge as impact players in both real life and in fantasy football or DFS - and it’s always important to know who these guys are before everyone else jumps on the bandwagon. Below, we focus on the top tight end prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft. Enjoy!
1) Adam Trautman -- Dayton
Height/Weight: 6’5” / 255 lbs.
Age/Year: 23 yrs old / Redshirt Senior
Hometown: Williamsburg, Michigan
2019 Stats: 70 receptions; 916 receiving yds; 14 TD in 11 games
Although Adam Trautman had the benefit of playing against softer FCS defenses, there’s no denying how dominant he is on game film. Whenever you watch his tape from 2019, Trautman was clearly one of the more dominant athletes on the field and his senior year stats back that up. At Dayton, he primarily lined up out wide in a spread attack which allowed for his top-notch pass-catching skills to be put on full display as the offense’s go-to receiving option. He’s a physical route-runner and pass-catcher who led his team in receiving yards each of the past three seasons. Considering his size and skills as a receiving tight end, it’s easy to see him translating well to NFL offenses that utilize pass-catching TE’s. The only big knocks on Trautman’s prospects are 1) his lack of experience going against tough competition, 2) his run-blocking, which needs refinement considering he didn’t play in a pro-style offense and 3) his relative newness to the tight end position (he was a quarterback in high school). Expect him to be either the first or second TE off the board overall and likely a Day 2 pick.
2) Cole Kmet -- Notre Dame
Height/Weight: 6’5” / 262 lbs.
Age/Year: 21 yrs old / Junior
Hometown: Lake Barrington, Illinois
2019 Stats: 43 receptions; 515 receiving yds; 6 TD in 11 games
Cole Kmet is one of the more NFL-ready tight ends in this draft because of his skills as a pass-catcher and experience playing in a pro-style offense at Notre Dame. Although he only had one full season as a starter for the Irish, Kmet was used heavily as one of QB Ian Book’s top receiving targets in 2019 - especially in the red zone. He was a two-sport athlete in college and could’ve gone pro in baseball, but followed in the footsteps of former Notre Damers Golden Tate and Jeff Samardzija by choosing football. The only weakness to Kmet’s game is his blocking skills, which could use some work so he can become a true three-down tight end in the NFL. There’s a chance Kmet could be drafted before Adam Trautman, but either way expect him to be gone by the end of Round 3 as a Day 2 pick.
3) Harrison Bryant -- Florida Atlantic
Height/Weight: 6’4” / 243 lbs.
Age/Year: 22 yrs old / Senior
Hometown: Gray, Georgia
2019 Stats: 65 receptions; 1,004 receiving yds; 7 TD in 13 games
Harrison Bryant became the first TE from a non-Power 5 program to win the John Mackey Award as the country’s best tight end. The honor was certainly earned as he led all FBS tight ends in receptions and receiving yards while playing in Lane Kiffin’s spread offense at Florida Atlantic. He’s an athletic receiver and his skills as a pass-catcher, route-runner and run-after-catch are possibly the best at the position in this draft class. The one thing that Bryant needs to work on - like many collegiate tight ends these days - is his pass and run blocking. It’s not something he was asked to do a lot at FAU and he’ll need to learn better technique and get bulkier to be able to block NFL-caliber defensive ends. Teams looking for an elite pass-catching tight end will take a chance on Bryant in the 2nd or 3rd round - and there’s a slight chance he gets drafted ahead of Adam Trautman and Cole Kmet as the top TE.
4) Albert Okwuegbunam -- Missouri
Height/Weight: 6’5” / 258 lbs.
Age/Year: 21 yrs old / Redshirt Junior
Hometown: Springfield, Illinois
2019 Stats: 26 receptions; 306 receiving yds; 6 TD in 11 games
From a pure size and strength standpoint, Albert Okwuegbunam might be at the top of the list for tight ends in this draft with his muscular and physically-intimidating frame. He uses his bigger body to catch passes in traffic, box out defenders on jump balls and break tackles after the catch. After making a position switch to TE from wideout in his redshirt freshman year, Okwuegbunam finished his Missouri career with the second-most receiving touchdowns in school history. Like most of these tight end prospects, he needs more development as a blocker - but his large frame will already help him when defending NFL-sized defensive linemen. Expect him to go in the 3rd or 4th rounds as a cheaper investment overall for an NFL team looking for big-bodied tight end.
5) Hunter Bryant -- Washington
Height/Weight: 6’2” / 248 lbs.
Age/Year: 21 yrs old / Junior
Hometown: Issaquah, Washington
2019 Stats: 52 receptions; 825 receiving yds; 3 TD in 12 games
Even though Hunter Bryant only has one full collegiate season under his belt, his 2019 production is proof of how good he can be as a receiving tight end at the next level. He battled two serious knee injuries over his first two years at Washington - missing 12 total games - before staying healthy as a junior and leading the team in receiving yards. In the Huskies’ spread offense, Bryant mostly operated out of the slot where he was one of QB Jacob Eason’s top targets in the passing tree. Obviously the injury history is a worry, but it’s encouraging that Bryant was able to bounce back from those serious knee problems and still put up one of the best stat lines for a tight end in 2019. One thing he will need to work on is his pure catching skills - he had six drops last season - as well as being more physical as a receiver in a crowd. There’s a chance Bryant could be drafted before or after other names on this list, but it should be in the 4th round or so.
6) Devin Asiasi -- UCLA
Height/Weight: 6’3” / 257 lbs.
Age/Year: 22 yrs old / Redshirt Junior
Hometown: Shoreview, California
2019 Stats: 44 receptions; 641 receiving yds; 4 TD in 12 games
Out of all the tight ends listed here, Devin Asiasi is probably the best blocker of the bunch and that ability could help him get on the field more often than other prospects who need work in that area. At UCLA, Asiasi was asked to run block often in Chip Kelly’s uptempo offense that featured plenty of run plays - and that experience lining up on the line should definitely help him contribute with an NFL team. He also finished as the Bruins’ second-leading receiver last season as a great pass-catcher over the middle and finding zones to sit in for his QB. He doesn’t boast many of the receiving traits as other tight ends in this class, but Asiasi should earn an NFL roster spot because of his blocking chops and sure-handed catching ability. He’ll likely be a Day 3 pick in the 4th round or later.