T.J. Hockenson went from being the guy next to Noah Fant to being the primary target for Iowa in 2018. Now he finds himself skyrocketing up draft boards and is now considered one of the sure bets in this draft. He is a do-it-all tight end showing apparent ability as a receiver while also showing a tremendous ability to run block. He is a great option to replace Jared Cook is he goes elsewhere in free agency, but who knows if he’ll fall to the late first at this point.
Now even though it seems Hockenson has passed him as the leader of the tight end class, Noah Fant is in no way a bad prospect. Much like Zach Ertz of the Philadelphia Eagles, Fant is a wide receiver in the body of a tight end. He is an instant mismatch the second he steps on the field and can give Oakland much-needed advantages in the middle of the field. He is perfect for the way the league is trending, and Oakland should strongly consider him at the end of the first round.
Stanford has been putting out plenty of good tight ends over the years, and Kaden Smith could be the next one. He’s 6’5 255lbs and is another guy who can control the middle of the field with his leaping and contested catch ability. He not as crisp of a route runner or athlete as Fant, but can definitely be a solid starter.
With so many mouths to feed at Georgia, Issac Nauta did not get to have the production he would have liked in his college career. However, he has all the traits to be a starting level tight end on Sunday. He’s big, fast and physical with strong hands and shows the willingness to compete as a blocker. Nauta could be a guy who falls into the Raiders’ lap in the middle to late rounds and becomes a gem
Just like Nauta, Dawson Knox fell victim to a loaded receiving core at Ole Miss that featured high-level prospects like D.K. Metcalf and A.J. Brown. Because of that, Knox does not have the production to attract teams. One thing he does have is incredible athleticism, and it should be on full display during the combine. Knox could be one the real winners of the weekend if he tests how many draft analysts think he will. And Ole Miss might be kicking themselves they did not use him more Knox ends up shining on Sundays. If the Raiders want more size and speed, he’s easily worth the risk in the later rounds.