Scouting Profile: Wide Receiver Auden Tate
Auden Tate, Florida State
Weight: 228 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.68 seconds
Vertical: 31 inches
Broad Jump: 9’4″
Here’s an interesting prospect, as Tate has a lot of people torn in the draft community. His body is the perfect size, but he’s slow as molasses (as evidenced by his 40 time). He can make contested catches, but cannot gain separation. He’s one of the players that will take some extra time to dissect as we try to figure out what will and what won’t translate to the NFL.
Tate was at Florida State for three years but has essentially two years of playing time. Despite playing through a separated shoulder in 2017, Tate managed to play 12 games, hauling in 40 receptions for 548 yards and 10 touchdowns. In fact, 16 of his 65 receptions in college were for touchdowns, so he’s got a knack for the end zone.
Size/Versatility: 3.5 out of 5 stars
It’s hard to hate on a guy who is 6-foot-5 and 228 pounds, as that’s ideal for a perimeter wide receiver. While some will say it’s bigger than needed, Tate uses every single inch of his frame. He presents a massive target to a quarterback, as his arms measured in at nearly 34 inches, the longest among wide receivers at the Combine. The reason his grade gets a knock here is because he’s going to be limited to strictly perimeter work in the NFL, making him a bit less appealing for teams who move their receivers around the formation.
Route Running/Ability to Separate: 2.0 out of 5 stars
I almost put him down for one star in this category, but it’s not that his route-running is horrible. His inability to separate has more to do with his lack of speed more than anything, but he also fails to get low into his breaks. He’s a long strider, which means he won’t be able to make quick sudden breaks in his route, and knowing he can’t get low, it’s a problem when trying to create space. With all those negatives, Tate does a really good job as the ball approaches, using his body and arms to separate from the defender in a way that won’t draw many pass interference calls.
Speed: 1.5 out of 5 stars
The part of his game that you wish you didn’t have to acknowledge, because it’s just so bad. Coming out of the hole, Tate offers little-to-nothing, though he does start to gain a little momentum 10 yards into his route. There is literally nothing that shocked me about his 40 time, as it shows up on tape as well. Tate was never a player who was going to beat a defensive back with speed, but rather with rock-solid hands and body control.
Hands: 4.0 out of 5 stars
He’s a natural hands catcher, snagging the ball out of thin air like it’s no big deal. If he lets the ball come into his body, it’s because there’s no defender in sight, which is a rare occasion for him. His concentration on balls thrown over his shoulder and along the sideline is a thing of beauty, as he worries more about his body than he does his hands because of the confidence he has in them. If there’s one knock to him with his hands, it’s that you don’t often see him lay-out for a ball that is just off his fingertips. I mean, it’s hard to miss him as a gigantic target, but it’d be nice if he could help out his quarterback from time-to-time.
Awareness: 5.0 out of 5 stars
The reason Tate is so polarizing is due to the fact that he might very well have the best body control of any wide receiver in this class, which is rare for a guy who is 6-foot-5. He uses his big body to shield defenders and create a few yards of separation between him and the sideline, only to spin at the very last moment and snag the ball while tapping his feet inbounds. One of my absolute favorite parts of his game is that when a ball is approaching, he doesn’t tip-off the defender, but rather waits until right before the ball arrives to put his hands up. Too many receivers give away ball positioning to a cornerback who has his back turned. This is not a problem with Tate. He also knows where to sit in a zone, as well as when to come back to his quarterback in a route to help him out. His awareness is off the charts.
After the Catch: 2.0 out of 5 stars
When watching someone as big as Tate, you’d expect him to be a bit stronger after the catch. But the truth of the matter is that he rarely catches the ball with space to operate anyway. When he does, he’ll attempt to lower his head at times, but it truly seems out of character. He’s not someone a team will toss a five-yard slant to and hope he takes it to the house, it’s simply not his game.
Potential Landing Spot
With Kelvin Benjamin being traded away to the Bills last year, the Panthers have a void at wide receiver. Sure, they signed Torrey Smith, but that’s just a stop-gap solution, at best. Once you look at my comparison below, you’ll understand why he would fit with the Panthers. They have other needs to fill early in the draft, so it’s unlikely they take a wide receiver in the top three rounds. Tate is someone who’ll likely be there on Day 3 that can make a difference in the red zone.
Do you remember how big and fast Dorial Green-Beckham was? Why didn’t that work out again? Tate isn’t that player who will amaze you with quick cuts, blazing speed, or crazy athleticism, but will beat you with his technique as the ball approaches. He reminds me of Kelvin Benjamin, who is constantly regarded as one of the slowest receivers in the league. While that may be the case, he’s excellent at high-pointing the ball and using his body to his advantage. Tate moves smoother than Benjamin, whose knees may have taken their toll. Fortunately, Tate doesn’t have a weight problem and could be a massive target for the wildly inaccurate Cam Newton. Despite both Newton’s and Benjamin’s limitations, they did combine for 1,949 yards and 16 touchdowns in two full seasons together. At the very least, Tate will be a red zone option for some team.
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Saquon Barkley (RB – Penn State)
Derrius Guice (RB – LSU)
Ronald Jones (RB – USC)
Sony Michel (RB – Georgia)
Nick Chubb (RB – Georgia)
Royce Freeman (RB – Oregon)
Rashaad Penny (RB – San Diego State)
Kerryon Johnson (RB – Auburn)
John Kelly (RB – Tennessee)
Kalen Ballage (RB – Arizona State)
Calvin Ridley (WR – Alabama)
James Washington (WR – Oklahoma State)
Courtland Sutton (WR – Southern Methodist)
Michael Gallup (WR – Colorado State)
D.J. Moore (WR – Maryland)
Christian Kirk (WR – Texas A&M)
Anthony Miller (WR – Memphis)
Equanimeous St. Brown (WR – Notre Dame)
Daesean Hamilton (WR – Penn State)
Dante Pettis (WR – Washington)
Keke Coutee (WR – Texas Tech)