As the NFL season winds down, FantasyPros will be taking a look at early NFL draft scouting reports before the combine in March. Here’s a look at Tucker Kraft.
2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Tucker Kraft (TE – South Dakota St.)
6’5″ – 255 lbs.
Redshirted, then caught 7-90 the following year in the shortened season. Had an outstanding redshirt sophomore campaign of 65-773-6 (11.9) but sustained a right ankle injury on the first drive of the 2022 season and ended up missing several games, finishing with a line of 27-348-3 (12.9) over nine appearances.
Well-built tight end who looks the part and who showed what he could do as a sophomore. Lines up both inline and as an H-Back, with occasional snaps split out wide or standing up tight to the formation. Approaches blocking with aggression and physicality, working hard to sustain through the whistle. Overall functional strength is above average for the position. Pretty good short-area quickness to stay in front of gap shooters in the run game. Flashes the hand strength to turn smaller defenders out of the hole. Keeps his feet moving after contact. Runs a variety of routes to different levels of the field. Smooth accelerator who can put pressure on opposing defenses down the seams. Uses his big frame to shield defenders from the ball. Shows the ability to snatch throws away from his frame. Can be a punishing runner after making the catch; doesn’t break many tackles but sets a physical tone and can be a handful to bring down.
An ankle injury prevented him from having the type of junior season he was hoping for. Needs to play within his frame more consistently as a blocker; can be caught lunging or lowering his head into contact, leading to whiffs. Overall grip strength is adequate at best; more of a repeated shover than someone who locks onto opponents. Balance is average or maybe slightly below average. Can get knocked off of his routes a little bit too easily. Sort of a glider who doesn’t sink his hips or do much to create separation at the route stem. Dropped seven passes as a sophomore.
A big tight end who has the motor and functional strength to help set a physical tone in the run game and who also has some pretty smooth receiving skills. Despite having a big sophomore campaign, should be considered something of a project at this point because his overall balance and technique as a blocker are still on the sloppier side and because he will have to run routes with more attention to detail at the next level in order to separate.
Projection: Round 5