NAME: C.J. Conrad
POSITION: Tight End
JERSEY: No. 87
RECRUITMENT RATING: 4-star
WT: 245 lbs
Route-Running – Good attention to detail on short-intermediate routes. Presses vertically and sinks his hips to break routes off and sit down against zone, work back to the ball against man. Understands how to operate and find space against coverages. Lack of athletic tools makes him a limited route runner.
Ball Skills – Strong hands to snag the ball outside his frame. Doesn’t drop many passes and is a reliable option underneath. Not going to see many high-degree of difficulty catches or high-point grabs. Catch radius is fine, but not flexible or explosive enough in his hips to contort significantly for off-target balls.
Speed – A 4.7 40 would be a win for him. Not going to challenge defenses vertically on his own. Best utilized as an underneath target, as his lack of athletic gifts eliminate his impact down the field.
Run Blocking – Solid in-line blocker with good attention to detail. Sinks hips and wins leverage at the point of attack. At his best on a vertical path to his target. Good job turning his hips to seal off rush lanes when engaged. Reaches second level targets with good angles and technique. Hit-or-miss as a move blocker. Not sudden or explosive enough to do much damage on split zone cuts or kick-outs.
Contested Catch – Uses his body well at the catch point, usually on underneath passes with a defender closing over his back. Has not been put in many spots to make contested grabs, typically working shorter routes against zone coverage.
YAC – Big ole’ nope. Needs a compass to find space, lacks any moves or elusive traits to make defenders miss and isn’t particularly violent after the catch. Easily brought down by low contact and doesn’t have the burst or long speed to be much of a threat with the ball in his hands.
Separation Quickness – Not explosive out of his cuts, but does do a good job of creating separation at the top of his routes by pressing a defender’s space and getting them off balance. The longer the route exists, the less chance Conrad has of separating. Doesn’t stand a chance against defensive backs in coverage.
Pass Protection – Capable of providing help to tackles and has the physical traits to matchup against some edge defenders. Mentally knows what he is doing, but isn’t overly aggressive or technical in his approach. Not often used in this role, but could see the NFL asking him to contribute in pass protection at times.
Competitive Toughness – Strong work ethic and leadership carries over onto the field. Isn’t overly violent or nasty in his demeanor, but welcomes the physical elements of the game as a blocker and receiver.
Athleticism/Size – Good size, but doesn’t possess overly impressive physical traits. Average-below average athlete with very little upside to grow as a player.
BEST TRAIT – Hands
WORST TRAIT – YAC
RED FLAGS – Ruled out for the season in late November of his junior year due to a lisfranc injury in his left foot.
Conrad is an old-school tight end without the athletic traits to project to much more than a depth pass catcher in the NFL. He’s a solid run blocker who is capable enough of making a roster, but his inability to provide anything out of the ordinary in the passing game could keep him from being drafted. What does he do better than an average college football tight end? Not much. Conrad is a respected leader at Kentucky which will go over well with NFL coaches, but at the end of the day, basically everything he offers is replaceable.