NAME: Isaac Nauta
POSITION: Tight End
JERSEY: No. 18
RECRUITMENT RATING: 5-star
WT: 246 lbs
PROS: Size, strength, length and speed are very good. Can get vertical down the seam and will run away from linebackers. Physical and aggressive post-catch. Can break tackles and won’t go down without a fight.
Strong hands to snag the ball outside his frame. Understands spacing as a route runner vs zone and consistently maximized throwing windows for his quarterback. Flashes of suddenness as a route runner, varying speeds to create separation. Threatens vertically out of his release, forcing defenders to open the gate early.
Brings the fight as a blocker. Doesn’t settle for stalemates, works to gain ideal positioning and physically dominate his opponent. Works hard as a stalk blocker with more good than bad results. Held his own in pass protection, even against defensive ends. Had some great log blocks as a split zone wing, identifying the force defender and sealing him inside.
CONS: Fast, but multi-directional athleticism is a question. Not really elusive in the open field. Can he drop his hips and separate from man coverage as a flex receiver? There were glimpses on tape, but nothing more. Also, when we say fast, we are probably still talking 4.6/4.7s fast. Not Vernon Davis fast.
Just nine catches last year after 29 the year before. Vast majority of his receptions were vs zone coverage and uncontested, even as a freshman. Contested catch ability and ability to adjust to off-target throws in the air are relatively unknown at this time. Profile as a receiver needs to expand this season.
The promise is clearly there as a blocker, but technique is still inconsistent. Will get over-extended and fall off contact at times. Base gets too narrow and pad level will rise, causing him to be knocked off balance. Can get overaggressive as a move blocker and will overshoot his target on occasion.