NFL Draft Analysis: Tight Ends

Every week up until the 2019 NFL Draft on April 25, The Barber’s Chair will post weekly scouting reports of the top prospects to watch in this year’s selection class. The players are listed in no particular order. The heights and weights of each athlete were gathered from NFL.com’s official Combine results page.


TJ Hockenson
Iowa | 6’5” | 251 lbs.

Strengths: Diverse skill set that allows him to line up everywhere. Anything from being a lead blocker to running deep crossing routes is on the table. Only two career drops to his name. Deep and contested catches were mixed in - not just check-downs. Good awareness in his route-running with enough speed to break away after the catch. Could have produced even more. In his game against Penn State (2018), for example, he had three chances for touchdowns that his QB missed.

Weaknesses: Stiff running style. Inconsistent blocking. Some great blocks but he doesn’t force his assignment of his spot most of the time.

Pro comparison: Dallas Clark


Noah Fant
Iowa | 6’4” | 249 lbs.

Strengths: Might end up being a more reliable blocker than some may realize. Lines up tight to block a lot for someone often compared to a wide receiver. Comfortable running out of the slot. Will produce if you give him a free release up the seam. Creates an amazing amount of separation just from shallow crossing routes. Adjusts and makes awkward catches in the event of poor ball placement. Iowa’s QB also missed him for three potential TDs in one game (vs Iowa St. - 2017).

Weaknesses: Aims to outrun you rather than hand fight you. Defensive backs can sometimes dictate his route if they get their hands on him first.

Pro comparison: David Njoku


Irv Smith Jr.
Alabama | 6’2” | 242 lbs.

Strengths: Capable of being used in every area of the game just like Hockenson. Stocky stature gives him better technique for blocking. Doesn’t miss assignments and is always ready to square-up for a block. Great downfield route-running. Finds the soft spots in zones. Long, athletic stride can create a big play after the catch. Tackling him is a chore.

Weaknesses: Rarely placed in positions where he was asked to come down with a jump ball or box out. A little more short-area quickness is desired.

Pro comparison: Delanie Walker

NEXT: Defensive Tackles

Previous Installments: Quarterbacks | Wide Receivers Pt. 1 | Running Backs Pt. 1