The teams that routinely “win” the NFL draft are the ones that are able to find the best players, regardless of where they played their college ball. It’s about finding diamonds in the rough and getting the best value across all seven rounds.
If your favorite NFL team is looking to check all those boxes with a tight end prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft, then SMU’s Kylen Granson needs to be on their radar.
Granson recently spoke exclusively with The Draft Network about his experience against top competition at the Senior Bowl, how he handles the “small-school” criticism, what he has in common with Nick Foles, and what kind of impact he’ll make at the next level.
JM: You actually began your career at Rice. You’ve had a couple of years to reflect on your decision to transfer to SMU. How do you look back on that?
KG: It wasn’t an easy decision. I left a lot of great friends behind. I had a great experience at Rice. I look back on my decision and I don’t have any regrets. SMU is a great school. I’ve made a lot of new friends. I finished my degree and got to play a lot of great football. All in all, I miss the people at Rice, but I don’t regret my decision whatsoever.
JM: And why would you? You had two great seasons at SMU. You caught 14 touchdowns in that timeframe. What is it about your game that allows you to find the end zone so often?
KG: I’m somewhat of a hybrid tight end. I have speed that is somewhat unexpected. I also have the size to put linebackers and safeties alike in a mismatch scenario. I played some wide receiver in my younger days. I understand how to catch and run with the football. It makes me a threat within the passing game.
JM: We saw that at the Senior Bowl. What was your experience like down there?
KG: I had a great time out there. I got to practice and play alongside some very talented people. I learned a lot from both coaching staffs. Matt Rhule and the Panthers staff, the Dolphins’ staff, everybody was so great and helpful. I had a great time getting to pick the brains of those coaches. I paid close attention to how they operate. They gave me some great insight into what practice is like at the NFL level. It was a fantastic experience for me.
JM: What do you feel is the overall impression you left on the 32 teams out there?
KG: I really feel like I left a positive impression. A lot of teams told me during my first round of meetings that blocking was the big question mark to my game. I feel like I took that information and did a great job putting some of those concerns to rest. I did some good things as a blocker throughout the week of practice and in the game as well. I impressed the scouts as a blocker.
As far as other impressions go, I feel like I learned the playbook quickly. I pretty much had it down after our first day. I showed that I can adapt to my surroundings and I’m a quick learner. I can pick up an offense on the fly. Those are the things NFL teams are looking for.
JM: You understand the game at a high level. Did you enjoy practicing against any defensive players in particular?
KG: Honestly, I enjoyed practicing against everybody. That thought never crossed my mind. I found the competition to be on a pretty level playing field. Everybody there was good. I never thought to myself that this player was better than this other player. Every rep I received was against a talented player.
JM: What’s your favorite part of playing the tight end position? What do you enjoy about it in general?
KG: Playing tight end is the best. You’re a renaissance man (laughs). You get to do a little bit of everything. You get to do a little bit of blocking, you can run routes and catch the ball. Touchdowns are always fun. You’re like a faster, skinnier, offensive linemen that can catch and score touchdowns (laughs). You get to play a role in every aspect of the offense. It’s a lot of fun.
JM: That’s the truth. Playing at SMU, it’s inevitable that some people are going to call you a “small school prospect.” You’ve probably already heard it. We saw it happen to Courtland Sutton just a few years ago. How do you typically respond to that?
KG: We may be a smaller school, but we play big boy football at SMU. It doesn’t really matter who’s on the schedule. Football is football at the end of the day. For a smaller school, the nation has a pretty good opinion of us. We are always highly ranked and regarded.
JM: Absolutely. If you could catch a pass from any NFL quarterback, who would you choose and why?
KG: That’s tough. Does it have to be a current one?
JM: I’ll open up the floor. You can hit me with any name of your choosing, past or present.
KG: There have been so many great quarterbacks. This is tough. You know what, I would say Nick Foles. I’ve thrown the ball around with him before whenever he visited Westlake High School. We both went to Westlake. I would love to catch a pass from him in the NFL.
JM: Nick Foles? I didn’t expect that.
KG: We went to the same high school. I have a soft spot for Nick Foles (laughs).
JM: That’s fair. I’ve really appreciated your time today, Kylen. In closing, why should an NFL team use one of their draft picks on Kylen Granson?
KG: Kylen Granson is a smart guy that doesn’t really do much off the field. I’m incredibly passionate about the game of football. My life revolves around the game. I can pick up the playbook in a hurry. I’m an adaptable, coachable player. I’m willing to play special teams. Overall, Kylen Granson is going to be a good investment for your football team.
- Jun 28, 2022
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