It’s that time of year again; time to take a look at potential late round draft gems in this year’s first installment of The Burgundy and Gold Report’s Small School Spotlight.
In this installment, the spotlight shines on Portland State’s tight end Charlie Taumoepeau, who has the potential to be an offensive weapon on the next level and a possible fit for the Washington Redskins.
Charlie Taumoepeau 6’3″ 245 lbs (Projected 5th round-Undrafted)
Taumoepeau is viewed by scouts as an athletic hybrid TE/H-Back with the ability to also line up at fullback. The Portland State tight end lettered in football, basketball and track during his time at Federal Way HS in Washington. His ability to utilizes his 4.6 sec forty-speed made him a go-to weapon in Portland State’s offense and offensive team captain, enroute to making the 2018 1st team All-Big Sky Conference team.
The Viking’s pass catcher has accrued 109 receptions for 1,814 receiving yards, 10 touchdowns with a 16.6 yards per rec average during his collegiate career. His statistics might seem pedestrian, but that has more to do with the up and down quarterback play at Portland State as opposed to his overall ability. With the Viking’s offensive identity erratic at times, employing RPO, Spread, and Pistol concepts, seem to have led to confusion as to how to best utilize Taumoepeau.
In taking all of that into account, the Viking’s offense is still intriguing to watch. However, Taumoepeau’s ability seems to be underutilized. It’s easy to see why the tight end is a primary cog in Portland State’s offense, even if it means using his blocking ability over his pass catching skills.
What Scouts are Talking About
Against Arkansas on 8/31/19, Taumoepeau had, arguably, his most notable play of his college career and had scouts buzzing. On a 4th and 13 play from the Arkansas 33 yard-line, the Portland State tight end was out wide in a three receiver set. As the play broke down with the quarterback taking off towards the sideline, Taumoepeau broke off his go route and headed to the opposite side of the field. The tight end then proceeded to make one of the most impressive, leaping receptions of his career on the 6 yard-line. The four Razorback defenders in the area did little to stop him, as he shrugged them off on his way to the endzone.
His ability to make the timely catch, when his quarterback went off script, is what makes Taumoepeau such an intriguing prospect and a friendly target for quarterbacks on the next level. Additionally, his in-line blocking separates him from other late round prospects. The ability to line up in the backfield as a fullback will also give him a leg up on other tight ends in the 2020 Draft.
Strong & reliable hands
Excels at high pointing 50/50 balls
Impressive straight-line speed (expected to run 4.6 sec forty at pro-day/combine)
Rare improvisational ability for the position
Position versatile as a hybrid
Undersized for the position
Limited route runner
Can break off routes too early
Lower level of competition at the small school level
Fit in Washington
With retirement seeming likely for often injured Jordan Reed, who was placed on IR with yet another concussion, this has arguably become a top offseason need for Washington. Next to Reed, Vernon Davis has also battled injuries all year and like Reed, has spent a significant amount of time in the concussion protocol. Davis seems to be in the twilight of his career and turns 36 in January. That leaves third-year tight end, Jeremy Sprinkle, who has underwhelmed with limited production and drops. Having a flex tight-end, who also has the ability to line up in the backfield, and even split out wide in certain formations, is a trend the NFL has been heading toward.
The Redskins will certainly be in the market for a tight end in the 2020 Draft, but will have other early round needs as well. Kyle Smith, who is the point man for the College Scouting Department in Washington, will have the task of filling the many holes on the roster without a 2nd round pick (traded to Indianapolis). Finding mid to late round draft gems has been a forte of Smith with marquee selections such as Matt Ioannidis, Chase Roullier, Montae Nicholson and former receiver Jamison Crowder.
Taumoepeau was a recent invite to the 2020 Reese’s Senior Bowl and looks to showcase his ability in Mobile, AL, in front of scouts and coaches, as a versatile tight end on the next level. The process of evaluating talent has just begun, but the hybrid weapon from Portland State looks to make his case to be the next late round gem for the Redskins.
By Adam Aniba
Follow on Twitter @TheBandGreport
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