NFL Draft Preview 2015: TE Tyler Kroft
The Sports Quotient's annual NFL Draft Preview series continues this week with the nation's top tight end prospects. Today, we'll take a closer look at Tyler Kroft from Rutgers.
Kroft will forego his senior season at Rutgers after declaring for the 2015 NFL Draft as a redshirt junior. He had a breakout season in 2013 with 43 receptions, 573 yards, and four touchdowns; but regressed in 2014 with just 269 yards on 24 catches and no scores.
Tyler was utilized off-the-line significantly more in 2013, which is likely correlated with his inflated offensive production that season.
Kroft is impressively athletic for the tight end position. He gets a good break off the line of scrimmage, gets into his routes quickly, and possesses the ability to rack up yards after contact. Tyler's pace makes him a deep threat down the middle.
His blocking is the strongest part of his game, as he is relentless and determined to push the opponent back at the point of initial contact. Kroft has good blocking technique, with a strong base and hands to combat the defender.
At 6'5'', Tyler also has intriguing height and will continue to add to his 246-pound frame.
Tyler needs to become more adept in the passing game. He didn't show the same route-running ability in 2014 that he did in 2013. Kroft likes to catch the ball against his body, and unsurprisingly struggled last season to catch passes in traffic.
Aside from his necessary pass-catching developments, Tyler will need to take better angles to the second-level when run-blocking.
Kroft is projected to go very late in the fourth round. With a shallow 2015 tight-end class, there is a chance that Kroft could go earlier, but I expect him to go very late in the fourth round or early in the fifth.
Despite his ability as a blocker, the speed with which he plays, the potential for him to become even bigger, and his eye-catching athleticism, I'm generally unimpressed with Tyler Kroft. He needs to progress as a receiver and become more than just an efficient blocker for me to value him more.
Because his biggest strengths are his athleticism and blocking, Kroft will fit in well on most NFL teams, but I see him fitting in best on a team like the Atlanta Falcons, where he can be utilized as a blocker without being relied on to catch passes.