By Adam Aniba
The '22 Tight End Draft class has received mixed reviews, with none projected to be selected in Round 1. In fact, the earliest the first tight end is projected to come off the board is mid-late round 2, with Coastal Carolina tigt end Isaiah Likely (CLICK for Full Scouting Report) leading the way.
Washington had success with Logan Thomas, but he's coming off ACL surgery and John Bates needs more time to develop as an overall pass catcher. Tight End Ricky Seals-Jones saw extended snaps when Thomas went down and was a productive chain-mover.
His value as a red zone target for Taylor Heinicke in OC Scott Turner's passing game was apparent, but has since signed with the Giants. Second year tight end Sammis Reyes, saw his first football action last season, after playing basketball his entire life and is purely a developmental prospect at this point.
New signal caller Carson Wentz will need weapons and an imposing red-zone pass catching tight end will help his transition. The Commanders have other pressing needs such as WR, FS, MLB, IOL and CB, but the door should be open for them to look at tight end in the middle-late rounds.
6'7" 259 lbs | TE | UVA
Draft Proj 4th Rd
Career OKS/UVA (33 games) 75 rec for 959 yds & 12 tds with 12.8 ypc avg
2021 (11 games) 44 rec for 598 yds & 8 tds with 13.6 ypc avg
Keeping up with the trend of evaluating versatile prospects, University of Virginia tight end Jelani Woods was a former Top 25 HS quarterback prospect, who was originally recruited by Oklahoma State to be their signal caller. He switched to tight end shortly after accepting an offer to play for OKS, but only recorded 21 receptions in his first 3 seasons, being used sparingly in the passing game.
With limited opportunities in the Cowboys passing scheme, Woods elected to transfer to the University of Virginia as a graduate transfer and the decision paid off. His first season as a Cavalier, led to a 1st-Team All-ACC selection.
At 6'7" with 6'10" wingspan, Woods poses match-up issues facing smaller DB's and LB's. He gave his quarterback a safety blanket on every play, who provides a huge catch radius and difficult to overthrow. Add in his ability as a blocker who displays a mean-streak and Woods could improve any tight end room.
His limited statistical production and overall depth at other positions in this draft, will likely cause teams to wait until the mid rounds to invest in the Cavalier tight end as he continues to develop. Year one for Woods should involve him carving out a role on a special teams and refining his ability as a route runner.
Time and patience will be needed with Woods, as he grows into the position and continues to get reps in the passing game. Investing a 4th rounder on Woods if available, would provide Washington with some insurance if Thomas' recovery hits a snag, but also an instant weapon in the red zone.
6'4" 255 lbs | TE | Texas A&M
Draft Proj Late 5th-6th Rd
Career (34 games) 118 rec for 1,468 yds & 16 tds with a 12.4 ypc avg
2021 (12 games) 40 rec for 515 yds & 4 tds with a 12.9 ypc avg
Jalen Wydermyer is a tight end once believed to be a potential top 50 draft prospect, only a few seasons ago. Unfortunately the A&M tight end dealt with concentration lapses, which led to dropped passes and his slow forty time didn't help his cause (5.01 sec). Considering all the knocks on the tight end during the evaluation process, what would be the appeal for a team picking late in the draft?
Wydermye's ability to thrive in the red zone, particularity on back-of-the-end zone jump balls, make him an ideal sub-package weapon. Although his strait line speed is less than desirable for a flex tight end prospect, he has the ability to beat coverage when facing linebackers and smaller DB's. His ability to fight for the ball, utilizing his powerful hands, length and significant catch radius is notable and makes up for some of his shortcomings.
The Aggies tight end is an average route runner, but displays an effective double move and the top of his route (only asked to run a handful of routes at A&M). Once Wydermye makes the reception, he's at his best when looking to create and displays the ability to gain YAC as a tough nosed tight end. He shows a mean streak and is a willing blocker, but this is an area that he needs serious refinement and coaching on the next level.
The A&M tight end is another prospect with size and a significant catch radius, which should appeal to Washington late in the draft. Although Wydermye's career statistics don't jump out, his overall intangibles and his ability to make big time catches make him worthy of a late round flier.
6'6.5" 252 lbs | TE | Iowa St
Draft Proj Late 5th-6th Rd
Career (43 games) 168 rec for 2,181 yds & 23 tds 13.0 ypc avg
2021 (12 games) 62 rec for 756 yds & 6 tds 12.5 0 ypc avg
Charlie Kolar is another imposing tight end prospect with an impressive catch radius. His 3% drop rate, dating back 2019 is one of the best at his position in the nation. Although 252 lbs, adding weight/mass could help his production after the catch and his overall longevity.
The Cyclone's pass catcher isn't a quick-twitch prospect, but his ability to box-out and catch everything thrown his way is his best attribute. Although Kolar is a long-strider and a bit labored in and out of his breaks, his 4.67 forty time and 35.5" vertical make him an ideal developmental tight end. His ability facing zone coverage, especially on crossing routes will translate to the next level.
Kolar is a willing blocker, but his stiffness/upright stance, allow defenders to get under his pad level and push him back. Although Kolar was only asked to run a handful of short-intermediate routes at ISU, he was a reliable target. His 13.0 per reception career average make him an ideal chain-mover and sub-package flex receiver that can be moved around.
Staying with the theme of the day, Kolar is another tight end prospect that can create red zone mismatches and utilize his length when facing smaller defenders. His upside to bail his quarterback out of over-thrown passes and ideal length should entice Washington if they pass on the position in the early-mid rounds..
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