Even with Jason Witten's return to football, the Dallas Cowboys should be in the market for a tight end in this year's NFL Draft. And, of course, the best place to get an up close and personal look at the upcoming crop of tight ends, was at the 2019 NFL Combine.
The Cowboys kept a keen eye on a few of these tight end prospects, as they looked to separate certain players from the pack. Some smaller school guys shined, like San Jose State's Josh Oliver, while some other high profile names faltered a bit.
Here are my notes on the tight ends from the 2019 NFL Combine.
- It was a rough day for Isaac Nauta (Georgia) and his believers. The 6'3″ 244 pound tight end started strong on the bench press with 19 reps, but was disappointing on the field. Nauta ran a 4.91 40 yard dash and 7.45 three cone, showing he may not have the receiving upside many hoped he would. This is not the end-all be-all for Nauta's draft stock, but it certainly took a hit. He'll likely need a strong Pro Day to get back into second round conversation.
- Kaden Smith (Stanford) was slow on film and his testing confirmed that. His 4.92 40 yard dash was from impressive, but his film at Stanford should not have made you expect much different. His 7.08 three cone was solid, though. Still, his testing confirmed why there are legit questions about his upside in the NFL.
- On the other hand, there shouldn't really be any questions about Noah Fant (Iowa). Fant is a certified stud, and was the absolute star of the combine in terms of tight ends. He's a first round talent, and will likely find himself selected within that first night of the draft.
- Some expected Irv Smith (Alabama) to test better athletically than he did, but he still performed well enough to cement himself as TE3 in this class once again. His 7.32 three cone was far from ideal, but a 40 yard dash in the 4.6's combined with how good he looked in the actual on field drills made this a solid combine performance for Irv Smith. He's got a second round grade on my board, and nothing from the combine changed that.
- Foster Moreau (LSU) might have a higher ceiling as a receiver than anyone thought. Moreau was primarily used as a blocker in college, but he looked comfortable as a receiver in the on field drills at the combine. Moreau also ran a 4.66 40 yard dash and put up 22 reps on the bench, two numbers which should hit just about every team's thresholds for drafting tight ends. Moreau was rather impressive, especially for what the hype (or lack thereof) was around him heading into the weekend.