Jeff Dean/Associated Press
106. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Cade Otton, TE, Washington
Strengths: Legitimate in-line blocker, good feel for route running, constantly competing on every single play
Weaknesses: Not an overly dynamic receiving threat, can be bothered when rerouted
The Washington Huskies have developed a type at the tight end position.
Cade Otton is following Drew Sample and Will Dissly into the NFL. All three of them are strong Y-tight ends who contribute as in-line blockers yet leave something to be desired in the passing game.
So much emphasis is now placed on a tight end’s ability to affect the passing game that traditional options aren’t as plentiful as they once were. T.J. Hockenson got selected in the top 10 of the 2019 draft because he was a legitimate “two-way” tight end as a blocker and receiving threat.
Otton is a capable receiver with 46 catches for 508 yards in 12 games across the last two seasons. He suffered a season-ending ankle injury and played in only eight contests this past season or his numbers could have been even better.
Compared to Sample and Dissley, Otton is the most natural route-runner and pass-catcher of the three, but he’s still lacking compared to other recent tight end prospects.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers add tight end depth just in case Rob Gronkowski doesn’t return to the team. Even if he does, Otton provides long-term upside to eventually become a starter once Gronkowski finally does step away and Cameron Brate’s contract ends after the 2023 campaign.
107. Houston Texans
Dameon Pierce, RB, Florida
Strengths: Powerful runner with exemplary contact balance, physical and attacking blocker in pass protection, comfortable as a receiver
Weaknesses: Lacks breakaway speed, never took on a heavy workload, rounds off cuts
There are often concerns about a running back’s workload before they ever step on an NFL field. But wear and tear won’t be an issue with Florida’s Dameon Pierce after he received only 242 touches over the last two seasons.
For comparison, Iowa State’s Breece Hall and Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker III had more carries last year. Pierce’s draft stock was stunted because he never got to fully showcase his impressive skill set.
He is a 218-pound bowling ball who explodes through contact. He has the power to consistently break attempted tackles plus the versatility to contribute in the passing game. As FantasyPros’ Derek Brown noted, 23.7 percent of Pierce’s snaps came when he lined up out wide or in the slot. Pierce also has a highlight reel of blitz pickups as a pass protector.
The best is yet to come from Pierce once his traits are fully utilized by a professional coaching staff. He can immediately step into the Houston Texans backfield and win the starting job with Rex Burkhead, Marlon Mack and Royce Freeman on the roster.
108. Cleveland Browns
Perrion Winfrey, DL, Oklahoma
Strengths: Explosive upfield defender, extremely long arms (35¼”), powerful when he shoots hands
Weaknesses: Inconsistent get-off, struggles to maintain point of attack when engaged, insufficient hand usage in pass rush
Perrion Winfrey’s future contributions in the NFL depend on which version of him shows up.
The defensive lineman can be a disruptive force capable of shooting gaps and giving offensive linemen fits, as he showed at this year’s Senior Bowl. But he’s also a highly inconsistent performer with a questionable motor, as seen throughout his Oklahoma career.
Winfrey can be a serious problem when he’s on his game. His 56 pressures since the start of the 2020 campaign were the most by any Big 12 interior defender, per Pro Football Focus. The two-time first-team All Big-12 selection has the necessary traits to be an effective three-down defensive tackle who can create havoc in opposing backfields.
The 6’4″, 290-pounder has the explosiveness, as evidenced by his 4.89-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, to consistently reestablish the line of scrimmage. He just needs to fire off the ball with the same intensity at all times.
If he does so, he’ll be a handful. But he didn’t do it consistently during his time with the Sooners.
The Cleveland Browns simply needed quality big men in the trenches on the defensive side of the ball. The team already invested in defensive end Alex Wright during the third round. Winfrey gives the Browns depth along the interior behind Taven Bryan and Tommy Togiai.
109. Seattle Seahawks
Coby Bryant, CB, Cincinnati
Strengths: Competes in coverage, good route recognition and ball tracking, consistently makes plays on the ball
Weaknesses: Tight-hipped, lacks top-end speed, not overly physical, suspect tackler
Imagine being named the best defensive back in the country yet not considered the best cornerback on your own team.
The scenario is exactly what Cincinnati’s Coby Bryant endured during his final season with the Bearcats. Bryant won the Jim Thorpe Award as college football’s best defensive back. Meanwhile, most considered teammate Ahmad Gardner the better defender and NFL prospect.
The reasons are threefold. Gardner is bigger, more athletic and a year-and-a-half younger than Bryant. Yes, Gardner has an edge in pro projection. Even so, Bryant is a quality prospect, and he’s not intimidated by playing alongside other athletes who may be considered more gifted or receive more attention.
“I’ve always carried myself as an alpha,” Bryant told reporters at the NFL combine. “… You have to have that mentality no matter what. No matter if things are going good or going bad, you just have to have that mentality and be that alpha so others can follow suit.”
A certain type of cornerback comes to mind when someone thinks of the Seattle Seahawks. Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner aren’t walking through that door. Instead, the Seahawks land the award-winning Bryant, who thrives when asked to play in press.
110. Baltimore Ravens
Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota
Strengths: Enormous blocker, light on his feet for a near 400-pound man, powerful run-blocker in varied ground-based scheme
Weaknesses: Tendency to overset, which negates his length, height causes a tendency to rise through blocks, not a sudden athlete
Minnesota’s Daniel Faalele is a mountain of a man.
The native of Australia, who originally played rugby and basketball before moving to the United States and participating in one year of high school football, told reporters at the NFL combine that he entered the Gophers program at 426 pounds. The 6’8″ blocker now weighs 384 pounds.
Amazingly, he doesn’t look like a heavy athlete. His frame carries his girth very well, and it shows up on the field.
Anytime an offensive lineman is significantly taller and heavier than is typical, concerns about technique and movement skills arise. The same applies to Faalele. The first-team All-Big Ten performer moves well for his size, but his lateral agility remains suspect. Still, a defender’s pass-rush path is akin to when Ferdinand Magellan traversed the globe.
Faalele is still developing and learning how to use his size and length to his full advantage. Once he does, he could become a dominant blocker.
The Baltimore Ravens are built around their rough-and-tumble rushing attack. Faalele is a natural fit in the heavy gap scheme. His size and physicality screams Ravens football and gives the team a potential long-term right tackle option behind Morgan Moses.
111. New York Jets
Max Mitchell, OT, Louisiana
New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas believes in investments along the offensive line. Louisiana’s Max Mitchell provides the team with a swing tackle and insurance if the franchise remains unhappy with Mekhi Becton. Mitchell is primarily a right tackle, but he can play multiple positions.
112. New York Giants
Daniel Bellinger, TE, San Diego State
Strengths: Immediately adds in-line help, strong hands, runs well and is tough after the catch
Weaknesses: Little route nuance, pad level comes into question at times
Well-rounded tight end prospects are regaining popularity after years of teams looking for consistent mismatches in the passing game. But the prevalence of 11 and even 12 personnel in today’s game makes in-line performance a necessity. Teams used those two offensive packages a whopping 82 percent of the time last season, according to Sharp Football’s Warren Sharp.
San Diego State’s Daniel Bellinger is a ready-made Y-tight end. He’s a strong 6’5″, 253-pound tight end who plays with a good base in the run game and protection in the pass game.
As part of the Aztecs’ run-first approach, Bellinger didn’t catch a large number of passes. However, he proved more than capable as a receiving threat. Over the last two seasons, he caught 52 passes for 560 yards.
Bellinger can improve as a route-runner if he’s afforded more opportunities to be a bigger part of an aerial attack. At this point, he’s a little stiff in his route running despite excellent athletic numbers, which portend rapid improvement in this particular area.
The incoming rookie could start from the onset of his career since the New York Giants’ tight end room is led by Ricky Seals-Jones and Jordan Akins.
113. Washington Commanders
Percy Butler, S, Louisiana
The Washington Commanders passed on an opportunity to draft Notre Dame’s Kyle Hamilton in the first round when the organization chose to trade down. Three rounds later, the team gets its safety prospect in Louisiana’s Percy Butler. Kamren Curl and Bobby McCain are set at safety, but Butler gives the team a third option in big nickel looks.
114. New York Giants
Dane Belton, S, Iowa
The New York Giants are filling holes at this juncture, taking tight end Daniel Bellinger to start their fourth round and then Dane Belton two picks later. Belton provides much-needed depth at safety in the Giants secondary. An Iowa product, Belton was well-coached and knows how to play both safety spots.
115. Denver Broncos
Damarri Mathis, CB, Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh’s Damarri Mathis tested extremely well during the predraft process. In fact, his relative athletic score ranked among the top-60 cornerback prospects over the last 35 years, according to Pro Football Network’s Kent Lee Platte. Mathis is a physical corner with some position flexibility and will join an already talented Denver Broncos secondary.
116. Denver Broncos
Eyioma Uwazurike, DL, Iowa State
System fits are important. Iowa State’s Eyioma Uwazurike played in Iowa State’s 3-3-5 base defense during his collegiate career. He’ll transition to Ejiro Evero’s base 3-4 scheme he brings from the Los Angeles Rams. Uwazurike is a 6’6”, 316-pound plugger.
117. New York Jets
Micheal Clemons, Edge, Texas A&M
Strengths: Long, powerful edge who can play through an offensive tackle, varied pass-rushing plan, consistent effort, separates and sheds blocks
Weaknesses: Tightly wound lower body limits flexibility and lateral movement, tendency to play highest, injury history
Texas A&M’s Micheal Clemons is a talented-but-limited pass-rusher who might have given teams pause because of his injury history and an arrest last August.
The 6’5″, 263-pound defensive end posted career highs last season with seven sacks, 11 tackles for loss and 46 pressures, per Ryan Fowler of The Draft Network. Clemons also led the Aggies with 13 quarterback hits. The former JUCO transfer is improving each year, though he’s a straight-line pass-rusher.
Clemons plays with a tight lower body. He’s at his best when he can immediately work upfield and then make a move under the offensive tackle. He’s a power-rusher who plays with a consistent motor.
The defensive lineman also has a significant injury history. A foot cost him the entire 2018 campaign, while a balky ankle required surgery two years later.
University police also arrested Clemons just prior to the 2021 campaign for unlawful carrying of a weapon, failure to identify/giving false information, less than two ounces of marijuana possession and driving with an invalid license. After initially being indefinitely suspended, Clemons returned to the team a week later.
Interestingly, the Jets aren’t valuing traditional, flexible edges. Instead they sank a first-round pick into Jermaine Johnson II, who’s a better run-stopper at this point in his career and has the potential to become a top-shelf edge-rusher. Clemons won’t be much different, though head coach Robert Saleh clearly wanted more depth along the defensive line to attack opposing quarterbacks.
118. Minnesota Vikings
Akayleb Evans, CB, Missouri
The Minnesota Vikings are investing in cornerbacks because general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah knew the position didn’t have any long-term stability entering the draft. The organization added Andrew Booth Jr. in the second round to play opposite Patrick Peterson. Booth, Missouri’s Akayleb Evans and Cam Dantzler form a solid trio to play the position once Peterson eventually leaves or retires.
119. Baltimore Ravens
Jalyn Armour-Davis, CB, Alabama
Alabama’s Jalyn Armour-Davis fits the profile of a Baltimore Ravens cornerback. He’s a 6’1”, 197-pound defender out of a program known for developing well-coached, physical defensive backs. Armour-Davis provides a safety net after Baltimore experienced myriad injuries to the secondary in recent years.
120. Carolina Panthers
Brandon Smith, LB, Penn State
The Carolina Panthers don’t have a long-term solution at any of the linebacker spots. Damien Wilson and Cory Littleton are on short-term deals. Shaq Thompson’s pact ends after the 2023 campaign. Penn State’s Brandon Smith (6’3″, 250 lbs) adds size and a comfort level working into space.
121. New England Patriots
Jack Jones, CB, Arizona State
The New England Patriots’ draft picks at cornerback are utterly fascinating. Both Marcus Jones and Jack Jones are slender-framed options. In Jack Jones’ case, he’s dealt with injuries throughout his career. He is a smooth cover corner, but significant questions about how he holds up at the next level exist.
122. Las Vegas Raiders
Zamir White, RB, Georgia
On Friday, the Las Vegas Raiders announced they’re not picking up Josh Jacobs’ fifth-year option. A day later, the organization drafted Georgia running back Zamir White. The two moves aren’t necessarily correlated, because Jacobs can be a quality lead back if healthy. But head coach Josh McDaniels comes from a system where running back depth and versatility are extremely important. Maybe White eventually replaces Jacobs after the 2022 campaign.
123. Los Angeles Chargers
Isaiah Spiller, RB, Texas A&M
The predraft process wasn’t kind to Texas A&M running back Isaiah Spiller. He didn’t show the explosive traits some expected while watching him with the Aggies. For the Los Angeles Chargers, Spiller provides a bigger (217 lbs) and more physical back to play alongside Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley.
124. Cleveland Browns
Cade York, K, LSU
The Cleveland Browns haven’t had a good kicker since Phil Dawson left after the 2012 season. Yet, the same franchise that selected Zane Gonzalez and Austin Seibert only to see them both fail at their first stop drafted yet another kicker in LSU’s Cade York.
125. Miami Dolphins
Erik Ezukanma, WR, Texas Tech
The Miami Dolphins had only four picks entering this year’s draft. Every one is precious. An investment in Erik Ezukanma gives new head coach Mike McDaniel an offensive playmaker he can use at wide receiver and who can even take the occasional handoff.
126. Las Vegas Raiders
Neil Farrell Jr., DL, LSU
Strengths: Powerhouse at point of attack, ideal nose tackle frame, easily fills one or two gaps
Weaknesses: Little to no pass-rushing potential, slow off the snap, small-space defender
What you see is exactly what you get with LSU defensive tackle Neil Farrell Jr. The 6’4″ 338-pound defender is a space-filler as a plug-and-play 0- or 1-technique.
While nose tackles don’t hold the same value in the NFL that they once did, teams still need competent play at the point of attack. The guys doing the dirty work inside don’t get enough credit, but they are necessary. The Los Angeles Rams have Greg Gaines playing alongside Aaron Donald, while D.J. Reader serves as a tone-setter for the Cincinnati Bengals defense.
Farrell, who turns 24 in September, is tailor-made to hold the point of attack. According to Pro Football Focus’ Jon Macri, the second-team All-SEC selection ranked third in overall grade and run-defense grade among this year’s defensive interior class.
Farrell doesn’t have the same type of athleticism as Georgia’s Jordan Davis to potentially provide more as a pass-rusher, although he finished last season with 24 pressures. He will enter the NFL with a defined role and has the potential to thrive if he’s asked to do what he does best.
The Las Vegas Raiders get a big, physical nose tackle to plop in the middle of coordinator Patrick Graham’s defensive front.
127. New England Patriots
Pierre Strong Jr., RB, South Dakota State
South Dakota State’s Pierre Strong Jr. is one of the fastest running backs in this year’s draft class (4.37 40-yard dash). More importantly, he’s a patient runner with good vision who explodes when the hole opens. The New England Patriots are known for using a deep backfield rotation. Strong will complement Damien Harris well.
128. Baltimore Ravens
Charlie Kolar, TE, Iowa State
Strengths: Studious athlete, big frame and catch radius, uses body well to shield defenders, more fluid than expected for his size
Weaknesses: Not a physical in-line blocker, provides little after the catch
Iowa State’s Charlie Kolar is a coach’s dream. He’s a mature and reliable player who’s also the smartest guy in the room.
Kolar is the reigning winner of the William V. Campbell Trophy, aka the Academic Heisman. The tight end is also a three-time first-team All-Big 12 selection.
“Charlie is as high-end of a competitor I have ever been around,” Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell said, per the Cyclones official site. “Whatever Charlie has put his mind to, he’s been successful. He wants to be the best. If it’s school, he wants to be the best. If it’s on the football field, he wants to be the best.”
Kolar is a 6’6½”, 252-pound target who tied for the most receptions by a tight end over the last three seasons, per PFF. The biggest question about him was whether he’s fluid enough to be a receiving threat at the next level, but his 4.67-second 40-yard dash and 6.98-second three-cone effort at Iowa State’s pro day quelled those concerns.
The tight end’s size and reliability over the middle of the field make him an ideal addition to the Baltimore Ravens. Granted, Kolar needs to shore up his run blocking. But he brings different qualities to the position than Mark Andrews.
129. Dallas Cowboys
Jake Ferguson, TE, Wisconsin
Cue the pointing Spider-Man meme. The Dallas Cowboys previously drafted a marginal athlete at tight end in the fourth round. Dalton Schultz developed into the team’s franchise player, at least from a tag perspective. Schultz may not be with the team next year if he tests free agency. Ferguson will get a year to play behind and possibly replace Schultz.
130. Baltimore Ravens
Jordan Stout, P, Penn State
The Baltimore Ravens bring in a booming leg with Penn State’s Jordan Stout. A fourth-round punter isn’t going to sit. Baltimore can release Sam Koch and save $2.1 million, per Spotrac.
131. Tennessee Titans
Hassan Haskins, RB, Michigan
Michigan’s Hassan Haskins joins the Tennessee Titans and will take on a very specific role as a third-down running back. Obviously, Derrick Henry remains the workhorse, but Haskins can come onto the field to provide a receiver threat or when solid protection is necessary.
132. Green Bay Packers
Romeo Doubs, WR, Nevada
Strengths: Vertical threat, outstanding ball tracking, strong hands to pluck passes, acceleration to run past defensive backs and sink to effectively work comeback routes
Weaknesses: Comes out of a Run ‘n Shoot variant with limited route tree, straight-line athlete, concentration drops
Romeo Doubs is an excellent example of letting the film talk for the prospect.
The two-time first-team All-Mountain West honoree couldn’t complete the entire predraft process because a knee injury limited him. However, he can be seen on film regularly running past defenders as one of the draft’s better vertical threats.
Over the last two seasons, Doubs caught 138 passes for 2,111 yards and 20 touchdowns. He led the Group of Five wide receivers with eight touchdown receptions on throws of 20 or more yards this past season, per Pro Football Focus.
Doubs’ speed shouldn’t be in question. He reached the top max speed among wide receivers on the National squad at the Senior Bowl, according to the event’s executive director, Jim Nagy.
“Romeo is just a freak of nature,” former Wolf Pack teammate Cole Turner told reporters at the Senior Bowl. “He’s 6’2″ and moves like a guy who’s 5’9″. He can run by you. He stops on a dime.”
The Green Bay Packers may have passed on wide receivers with their two first-round picks, but they’ve doubled down by adding North Dakota State’s Christian Watson and Doubs later in the process.
133. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jake Camarda, P, Georgia
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers ranked dead last in average yards per punt last season, hence the need to add Georgia’s Jake Camarda.
134. San Francisco 49ers
Spencer Burford, OT, UTSA
Strengths: Easy mover with strong punch and long levers, starting experience at both tackle spots and guard, very good when asked to block on the move
Weaknesses: Functional playing strength, tendency to open early in pass set, falls off run blocks at times
NFL evaluators typically like their offensive tackles to be 6’5″-6’7″ with extremely long arms to make them far more difficult to circumnavigate. But the likes of Kelvin Beachum Jr. and Rashawn Slater proved a tackle can be 6’3″ or 6’4″ and still thrive.
UTSA’s Spencer Burford measures just over 6’4″ and weighs 304 pounds. He doesn’t quite stack up physically compared to the top tackles in this year’s draft class. However, his 34¾-inch arm length is longer than Alabama’s Evan Neal, North Carolina State’s Ikem Ekwonu, Mississippi State’s Charles Cross, Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning, Central Michigan’s Bernhard Raimann and Tulsa’s Tyler Smith.
One measurement shouldn’t define a prospect. In Burford’s case, arm length is an indication that he can stay at left tackle after spending the majority of his career on the blind side.
If he can’t hang at left tackle against NFL pass-rushers, he has experience at right tackle and guard. But he should get a chance to prove what he can do first.
Burford can learn behind left tackle Trent Williams or move inside and potentially compete with Colton McKivitz and Daniel Brunskill to start at guard.
135. Kansas City Chiefs
Joshua Williams, CB, Fayetteville State
Strengths: Ideal size and length, explosive athlete, fluid in backpedal, quick feet, out-physicals receivers in press and really tackles
Weaknesses: Overall level of competition, strictly outside corner, can get stuck on blocks
Joshua Williams is prepared to follow in the footsteps of small-school prospects who preceded him, particularly former Lenoir-Rhyne and current New England Patriots safety Kyle Dugger.
“He went to the Senior Bowl like me, he went to the combine like me, and I’m hoping maybe I can follow in his footsteps and showcase my talents the same way he did,” Williams told reporters at the NFL combine.
The Patriots selected Dugger with a second-round pick because of the potential he showed in college. Although Williams is a corner and not a safety, his physical tools give him exciting potential.
The 6’3″, 195-pound defensive back clocked a 4.47-second 40-yard dash at North Carolina State’s pro day, per the Senior Bowl’s Jim Nagy. The corner also had a 37-inch vertical with 4.39-second short shuttle and 7.02-second three-cone times at his pro day, per Nagy.
Football is about more than athletic testing, but these things get Division II prospects noticed. And just like Dugger, Williams never looked out of place during any of the predraft process.
The Kansas City Chiefs already invested a first-round pick at cornerback in Washington’s Trent McDuffie. General manager Brett Veach knows his team must face Russell Wilson, Courtland Sutton, Derek Carr, Davante Adams, Justin Herbert and Keenan Allen/Mike Williams twice each this season. The Chiefs can’t draft enough cornerbacks.
136. Cincinnati Bengals
Cordell Volson, IOL, North Dakota State
The Cincinnati Bengals addressed their offensive line in free agency with the additions of La’el Collins, Alex Cappa and Ted Karras. Carman Jackson will have an opportunity to prove himself at left guard in his second season. North Dakota State’s Cordell Volson provides somewhat of a safety net. Volson has starting experience at guard and tackle, but he excelled working along the interior at the Shrine Bowl.
137. New England Patriots
Bailey Zappe, QB, Western Kentucky
Strengths: Huge production, excellent vision and timing, subtle pocket movement, calm presence
Weaknesses: Struggles to drive the ball with velocity, short stature and marginal athlete
Western Kentucky’s Bailey Zappe is one of the most prolific passers in college football history. He broke the single-season FBS records in 2021 with 5,967 passing yards and 62 touchdowns. If the Houston Baptist transfer’s FCS stats counted toward the highest level, he’d rank fourth all-time with 15,871 career passing yards.
His evaluation is reminiscent of all the quarterbacks coming out of Mike Leach’s Air Raid scheme. The production can’t be denied, but system and natural ability must be taken into consideration.
Clearly, Zappe is comfortable dropping back to pass since he averaged 49 attempts per game in 2021. He’s quite natural and cozy working the pocket and finding open receivers.
“We did a lot of pure progression stuff, lot of opportunities to check in and out of plays, read defenses’ pure progressions,” Zappe told reporters at the NFL combine.
Issues stem from marginal arm talent, average build and underwhelming movement skills.
There’s more to playing the position than raw physical talent, of course. Zappe excels in many of those areas. But those who fit his mold are often viewed as limited options better reserved for backup roles.
Mac Jones is set as the New England Patriots’ franchise quarterback after the organization selected him 15th last year. Zappe can be Jones’ long-term backup since the Patriots have Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham listed as their second and third signal-callers.
138. Pittsburgh Steelers
Calvin Austin III, WR, Memphis
Strengths: Speed to burn, can beat press with quickness off line, effective working over the middle
Weaknesses: Short, thin-framed target, easily brought down by tacklers, lack of contested catches
Memphis’ Calvin Austin III is the Yoda of this year’s class: Judge him by his size, you should not. Defensive backs feel gale-force winds when Austin runs right by them.
The diminutive (5’8″) wide receiver weighs a scant 170 pounds. But Austin ran a blazing 4.32-second 40-yard dash at the combine, and his 39-inch vertical and 11’3″ broad jumps are both elite numbers.
The two-time, first-team All-AAC wide receiver can play and has a distinct skill set. He’s just smaller than ideal for an NFL wideout.
“Obviously, since I’ve been that size my whole life, it’s allowed me to learn new techniques, new ways to use that to my advantage,” Austin told Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot. “One of the coaches had told me that this is my superpower, this is my advantage.”
While Austin is somewhat of an outlier, there have been other receivers with his body type. DeSean Jackson came into the league at 169 pounds. Tutu Atwell was a second-round pick last year despite weighing in at 155 pounds.
A place can be found for Austin, as long as he’s used properly to take advantage of his speed and explosiveness.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are making sure their newly minted first-round quarterback, Kenny Pickett, will have enough offensive weapons at his disposal. George Pickens will work outside the numbers. Austin can be a gadget player who excels when offensive coordinator Matt Canada manufactures touches for the speedster.
139. Baltimore Ravens
Isaiah Likely, TE, Coastal Carolina
Strengths: Excellent working in space and creating after the catch, strong hands, threatens the seam
Weaknesses: Adds little as a blocker, not an in-line option, needs to expand route tree, polished
Isaiah Likely is the epitome of a specific system fit. He’s a pure F-tight end who can’t be much of an in-line option.
Likely is at his best when he’s working the slot or off a wing. The two-time first-team All-Sun Belt Conference selection is an impressive receiving threat with 89 receptions for 1,513 yards and 17 touchdowns over the last two seasons.
In Coastal Carolina’s system, play designs allowed Likely to get open and create after the catch, which isn’t always a strength among tight ends. The 6’4½”, 245-pound target can be dangerous working in the open field.
However, Likely’s blocking acumen is below par. He doesn’t have the build or technique to win in this phase of the game, though he can be a lead blocker out in space against smaller defenders.
Likely’s skill set is obvious. He can be a real threat in the passing game as a move tight end, which can hold real value in a pass-first league. Just don’t ask him to do much more.
The Baltimore Ravens drafted two tight ends in the fourth round with completely different skill sets. Charlie Kolar is a big, in-line option who lumbers about the field. Likely provides another threat in the passing game as a move tight end capable of creating big plays in the passing game. They might not be wide receivers, but both will help the passing game.
140. Green Bay Packers
Zach Tom, IOL, Wake Forest
The Green Bay Packers continue down their path of drafting collegiate left tackles only to move them to other positions. Wake Forest’s Zach Tom is highly athletic but lacks the anchor to hold up on an island in pass protection. He can thrive along the interior when asked to make blocks on the move or on the second level.
141. Baltimore Ravens
Damarion Williams, CB, Houston
The Baltimore Ravens owned a plethora of fourth-round picks, and general manager Eric DeCosta used them to double down on certain positions. As mentioned with the Isaiah Likely selection, the Ravens landed two tight ends with differing skill sets. The same applies at cornerback after they selected Alabama’s Jalyn Armour-Davis and then took Houston’s Damarion Williams. Williams isn’t as big or as highly regarded as Armour-Davis. But the Ravens aren’t going to get caught lacking secondary depth again.
142. Los Angeles Rams
Decobie Durant, CB, South Carolina State
The Los Angeles Rams work wonders while forsaking early-round picks year after year. South Carolina State’s Decobie Durant is a quick, fluid cover corner coming out of a lower level of play. A smaller stature at 5’10”, 180 pounds gives him trouble against bigger, more physical wide receivers. Durant may eventually become the Rams’ full-time nickel corner.
143. Tennessee Titans
Chigoziem Okonkwo, TE, Maryland
Strengths: Vertical threat with ability to create after the catch, powerful body despite small frame
Weaknesses: Doesn’t have the length or girth to provide much as an in-line option, one-gear route-runner, suspect hands
While true H-backs aren’t as popular in today’s game as they once were, there’s still a home for those who are a bit of a tweener between being a tight end and a true fullback.
Maryland’s Chigoziem Okonkwo is a 6’2½”, 238-pound tight end. If anything, he fits the mold of a Delanie Walker or Anthony Firkser-type detached weapon in the passing game.
Okonkwo is a fluid athlete who can more than threaten the seam with his 4.52-second 40-yard-dash speed. However, he shouldn’t be expected to contribute much, if anything, as an in-line option.
The Maryland product didn’t flourish until his final season on campus with 52 receptions for 447 yards. However, he missed all of the 2020 campaign after doctors diagnosed him with myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart muscle.
Once cleared, Okonkwo played better than ever and turned himself into a legitimate NFL prospect.
That the Tennessee Titans selected Okonkwo shouldn’t come as any surprise after they leaned on the likes of Walker and Anthony Firkser, who’ve been productive tight ends in the system.