Shawn Childs’ Top 5 Prospects
Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers | Tight Ends
T.J. Hockenson, Iowa
Many teams in the NFL need an elite option at TE heading into the 2019 NFL draft. Hockenson will try to follow the footsteps of George Kittle who turned his minimal stats (42/604/10) over his junior and senior seasons at Iowa to produce an exciting start to his NFL career. T.J. flashed more upside in his freshman (24/320/3) and sophomore (49/760/6) at the same school. He’ll bring speed (4.7 40 yards dash at the NFL combine) to the TE position. Hockenson needs to get stronger to help become a better all-around blocker. His route running grades well, which will allow him a winning able window over the short areas over the field plus have the wheels to text a defense deep. T.J. looks explosive if given space with the ball in the open field plus his hands will be assets. At the very least, a two-down pass catcher early in his career with more playing time available if he can handle his responsibilities run blocking. Hockenson would be a great addition to a team that already has dynamic firepower in the passing game (Atlanta, Green Bay, Dallas, or Houston).
Irv Smith, Alabama
Based on explosiveness, Smith is a significant drop down for me compared to T.J. Hockenson. He comes to the NFL as an undersized TE (6’2” and 242 lbs.) while offering the speed (4.63 40 yards dash at the NFL combine) to test defenses over the long field. His movements in the 3-cone drill (7.32), 20-yards shuttle (4.33), and 60-yard shuttle appeared to be labored forcing Irv to make his plays with his legs in the open field or the deep passing game. In his junior season at Alabama, he caught 44 passes for 710 yards and seven TDs. Smith needs to improve on his route running and blocking to earn more value in the passing game at the next level. His talent screams upside if he works on his subtle parts of his game that are needed to own the first ten yards past the line of scrimmage. Either way, his speed alone will help draw attention from defenses over the deep middle of the field and in the end zone.
Fant is also an Iowa alumnus. In his sophomore season, he outplayed T.J. Hockenson when he caught 30 passes for 494 yards and 11 TDs. The next season Noah improved his value in catches (39) and yards (519), but he saw his TD total (7) slide. Even with minimal growth, his talent can’t be overlooked due to too much talent at the TE position at his school in college. Fant has plenty of speed (4.5 40 yard dash at the NFL combine) with an edge in strength and short area quickness. Overall, he does lack some fight when tested with physical play at the line of scrimmage, and his movements in the open field rely more on his legs than shake and back to create after the catch. Noah has the foundation skill set to be a productive volume TE in the NFL. His hands will be an asset along with his value at the goal line.
Raw is the word to describe Warring coming into the 2019 NFL Draft. Over his last two seasons at San Diego State, he caught 49 passes for 620 yards and six TDs. Kahale is a hand’s catcher that did most of his damage over the short areas of the field. His athletic resume comes from many sports, which is why his football development is behind his expected skill set. Warring has the potential to be a physical TE once he adds on more bulk. His route running still needs fine tuning while showing a feel for finding open space after the first play route breaks down. Overall, he needs to improve his blocking skills and get more reps to help create a window in his pass routes.
His stats in 2017 (24/321) and 2018 (15/284) at Ole Miss won’t get Fantasy owners or even NFL teams excited, but he did play with two of the top five WRs in the 2019 draft class. His size (6’4” and 250 lbs.) falls in line with most of the TE inventory this season. Dawson is a hard worker with some explosiveness to his game. He’ll catch the ball well with his hands with some giddy-up in the open field. His next step is improving his route running and adding more strength to help in the blocking game. More of a project than an impact player at the next level.