The first practice of the 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl is six days from today. Over the course of this week, Shane P Hallam and I will be breaking down each position group for this year’s game.
Today, we look at the tight ends. As of today, 11 prospects in this group will be in Mobile. I believe this is one of the deepest positions in Mobile.
Let’s break them down.
SENIOR BOWL AMERICAN TEAM
Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina
Connor Heyward, Michigan State
Grant Calcaterra, SMU
Daniel Bellinger, San Diego State
Greg Dulcich, UCLA
Isaiah Likely is a big-play threat at tight end. He has a high gear a lot of TE prospects just don’t have. Against Arkansas State this season, Likely took a catch 99-yards to the endzone. That was one of 12 TDs on the season. Likely should be drafted on day two.
Grant Calcaterra’s biggest question mark isn’t his on-field performance. As a football player, Calcaterra has been tremendous at two schools (Oklahoma and SMU). The injury issues are the biggest red flag for Calcaterra who medically retired after the 2019 season before coming back this year. If teams clear him, his talent could get him drafted as early as day two. However, I am willing to bet that some teams will not have Calcaterra on their draft boards.
Daniel Bellinger is a tremendous blocker and makes himself a valuable pass-catcher. Bellinger isn’t a top athlete. You will not see him stretching the field too often.
Greg Dulcich, however, is a seam stretcher. He averaged nearly 20-yards per catch in 2020 and 17 per catch this season. Dulcich isn’t muck of an inline blocker.
Connor Heyward is going to be a fullback/h-back during Senior Bowl week. Heyward was a running back before this season. His versatility will serve him well when carving out a roster spot. Heyward is the son of the late Craig “Ironhead” Heyward and the brother of Pittsburgh Steelers DL Cameron Heyward.
SENIOR BOWL NATIONAL TEAM
Trey McBride, Colorado State
Charlie Kolar, Iowa State
Cole Turner, Nevada
Jeremy Ruckert, Ohio State
Jake Ferguson, Wisconsin
Jeremiah Hall, Oklahoma
Trey McBride is a phenomenal player. He has everything you look for in a tight end. McBride has size, great hands, he can block, and he is a good athlete. It would not shock me if he is the first tight end off the board in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Charlie Kolar has been one of the most consistent tight ends in the country over the last three seasons. He is a well-rounded player but is not as athletic as the top players at the position in this class.
Cole Turner has been one of the best tight ends the last two years. He is currently my #3 TE in this class. Turner is dynamic in the red zone. He has 19 receiving touchdowns over the last two seasons.
When you have all of the WRs that have rolled through the Ohio State program over the last few seasons, it is easy to forget that you have a tight end as talented as Jeremy Ruckert. In 2021, Ruckert had as many catches as he did the previous two years combined. He is a solid blocker and a good receiver. I expect he will have a better pro career than his collegiate career.
Jake Ferguson is a solid all-around prospect at TE but isn’t spectacular at anything. He caught 46 passes in 2021 but only averaged 9.8 yards per catch. Ferguson is one I will keep an eye on in Mobile to see what I may be missing.
Jeremiah Hall is another fullback/h-back in this group. He is bigger than Heyward and may be a better athlete. Hall is also more experienced as a pure fullback.