Many have billed the 2019 crop of tight end prospects as extremely deep and talented. While I still believe it's a good class, some of the sizzle has cooled with the on-field portion of the Combine testing now completed. With that said, the story of the group continues to be the two Iowa Hawkeyes who delivered the performances we where hoping for. Let's examine the overall winners, losers and risers from the event.
These guys were top athletes on tape, and simply confirmed that with their Combine performances. Their stock shouldn’t rise unless you haven’t yet seen their tape, but by confirming their top traits, they are clear winners of the Combine.
Noah Fant, Iowa
6'4, 249 lbs, 33.5" arms, 4.50 40-yard dash, 20 bench reps, 39.5" vertical, 127" broad jump, 6.81 3-cone, 4.22 short shuttle
The explosive Fant emphatically checked the boxes we expected him to. Fant was the top performer in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, 3-cone drill and 60-yard shuttle while also finishing among the top-5 in bench press and broad jump. He had an exceptional performance and made a strong case to be the top tight end drafted in April.
TJ Hockenson, Iowa
6'5, 251 lbs, 32.25" arms, 4.70 40-yard dash, 17 bench reps, 37.5" vertical, 123" broad jump, 7.02 3-cone, 4.18 short shuttle
Fant was always known as the more explosive Iowa tight end, but Hockenson could claim having the more complete and balanced skill set. While he isn't the athlete Fant has proven to be, Hockenson was right on his heels in many of the tests. If you believed Hockenson was the top Iowa tight end entering the Combine, nothing should change. Hock's explosive measures (40, vertical, broad jump) were excellent and his agilities were solid.
These guys struggled, while also having concerns on their tape as well.
Isaac Nauta, Georgia
6'3, 244 lbs, 31.78" arms, 4.91 40-yard dash, 19 bench reps, 28" vertical, 7.45 3-cone, 4.43 short shuttle
Nauta may offer good value to an NFL team as a blocker, but his athletic profile translates poorly to him being a productive NFL pass catcher. Clocking an egregious 4.91 40-yard dash which is a "fail" time, Nauta was the worst performer of any tight end in the vertical jump and 3-cone drill. Nauta had some impressive flashes on tape but his performance in Indy doesn't suggest there is much NFL receiving upside based on his physical traits.
Kaden Smith, Stanford
6'5, 255 lbs, 32.25" arms, 4.92 40-yard dash, 15 bench reps, 32" vertical, 108" broad jump, 7.08 3-cone, 4.47 short shuttle
Smith checked in with great size but his speed and jumps were highly disappointing with his 40 time coming at a "fail" number. His agilities were average and his overall athletic profile does not suggest his receiving upside in the NFL will be valuable. To complicate things worse, Smith's tape as a blocker is very poor.
These are prospects that shined at the Combine and force deeper looks into their film to evaluate how the testing shows up.
Kahale Warring, San Diego State
6'5, 252 lbs, 32.75" arms, 4.67 40-yard dash, 19 bench reps, 36.5" vertical, 122" broad jump, 7.21 3-cone, 4.25 short shuttle
First things first, this man is chiseled and has clearly put in the work throughout the years to develop his frame and it showed up with his Combine testing. While he was underutilized as a receiver in college, Warring had some extremely positive flashes where he showcased an exciting athletic profile on tape and he confirmed that in Indy. His blend of size, speed and explosiveness was evident with his testing. Warring gets after it as a blocker on tape and he's generated plenty of buzz. He will be a popular prospect for people to check out his tape and I believe they will like what they see.
Foster Moreau, LSU
6'4, 253 lbs, 33.5" arms, 4.66 40-yard dash, 22 bench reps, 36.5" vertical, 121" broad jump, 7.16 3-cone, 4.11 short shuttle
Moreau's receiving production at LSU doesn't impress, but his performance at the Senior Bowl and now at the Combine has me optimistic about him as a riser. His blend of speed, explosiveness and agility at 253 pounds is exciting. Moreau looks like he could be one of those guys that end up being more productive pros then they were ever college players.