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NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: TE Shaun Beyer

  • The Draft Network
  • January 31, 2021
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PROSPECT SUMMARY – SHAUN BEYER

Iowa tight end Shaun Beyer is one of the more intriguing Day 3 options at the tight end position in the 2021 NFL Draft. Beyer, who was recruited to the University of Iowa as an athlete and transitioned to the tight end position after the 2016 season, was finally able to put the best of his traits together on film in 2020—although that comes in an abbreviated season that will likely impact the overall demand on Beyer as a prospect. Beyer has flashed above-average athleticism and plus ball skills in the Iowa offense, continuing a recent tradition of NFL-caliber tight ends coming out of the Hawkeyes program. Beyer is a developmental prospect who has the potential with his pedigree from Iowa to become a viable starting tight end, but his ability to make an impact in the passing game is largely unproven and any significant investment will require a leap of faith from a team committing to him. But with that in mind, Beyer did make the most of limited targets in the passing game in 2020 with a high percentage of his receptions going for 15-plus yards. Don’t draft him expecting a plug-and-play starter, but if you have a TE3 vacancy and some coaching stability to work with, this is an investment that could pay off notably in the three-year projection window. 

Ideal Role: Developmental tight end (in-line).

Scheme Fit: 12-personnel, high concentration of zone rushing concepts.

FILM EVALUATION

Written by: Kyle Crabbs

Games watched: Northwestern (2020), Nebraska (2020), Penn State (2020)

Best Game Studied: Nebraska (2020)

Worst Game Studied: Northwestern (2020)

Hands: His one-handed catch versus Nebraska (2020) was an eye-opener to his ball skills and ability to catch away from his frame. He’ll enter the league with just 18 receptions to his name and many of those he had to work for, but the targets he’s hauled in indicate he’s a natural athlete. As a testament to his hands, he initially arrived at Iowa as a wide receiver. 

Route Running: He shows the ability to laterally step out of the blocks and avoid reroutes on the second level or in the contact window. He’s a bit of a straight-line athlete and he certainly isn’t one of these new-age hybrid mismatch threats. He’ll struggle to run away from man coverage but can continue to develop his physicality at the top of routes to ensure he’s separated with more consistency. 

Versatility: He’ll be fine as a hand in the dirt player and he was used much more frequently at Iowa as a blocker than he was as a route-runner, but he came on strong in both phases in 2020 despite lack of receiving production in high numbers. He’s got the potential to be an every-down tight end, but his athleticism is unlikely to place him into a featured role in a passing offense. 

Competitive Toughness: The stereotype about the toughness of Iowa linemen and tight ends doesn’t come from nowhere. Beyer’s got the right complexion here and showcases tenacity to stay sticky on blocks along the A-level. He’s got a good punch and desirable stickiness with his hands to ride out blocks and avoid defenders shucking him off at the point of attack. Beyer shows good foot activity to sustain his push after first contact. 

Ball Skills: Beyer has a nice catch radius to work with and has illustrated awareness at the catch point to adjust to the football and give himself a shot on inaccurate throws that come in off the numbers. He’s flashed the ability to go high and elevate without fear up the seam on throws over the rim, too—but in all the sample size is too small here to go all-in on. The flashes are promising and worth a closer look, however. 

Football IQ: Beyer is still coming into his own from an experience perspective as part of a collection of tight ends to rotate snaps, but the arrow is pointed in the right direction—and when you factor in his late commitment to the position, you do get the sense he’s got a ceiling to grow into. Beyer shows a good wherewithal within the box and navigates blocking assignments quite well. 

RAC Ability: Beyer isn’t a poor athlete but he also doesn’t jump off the screen at you with the ball in his hands. He’s made a couple nifty moves against smaller would-be tacklers and uses his size to his advantage to stress and pressure DBs into reckless challenges (Penn State 2020), but Beyer isn’t going to blow out foot races in the secondary and chunk gains after the catch will be modest at the pro level. 

Big-Play Ability: There are contested-catch abilities present and some really nice ball adjustments on his resume but he’s not going to shred you after the catch and he’s not going to persistently pressure your B-level defenders who try to drop and carry him in zone to prevent quick-hitting chunk gains. 

Prospect Comparison: Tommy Sweeney (2019 NFL Draft, Buffalo Bills) 

SCOUT GRADES

TDN Consensus: To Be Determined

Kyle Crabbs: 69.5/100

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