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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Ja’Tavion Sanders (TE – Texas)

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Ja’Tavion Sanders (TE – Texas)

The college football season is almost over, so FantasyPros will be taking a look at early NFL draft scouting reports before the combine in March. Here’s a look at Ja’Tavion Sanders.

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Ja’Tavion Sanders

Ja’Tavion Sanders (TE – Texas)

6’4” – 243 lbs.

Background:

Five-star recruit who also played basketball in high school. Played very sparingly as a freshman, then stepped into the starting lineup the following year, replaced the suspended Jahleel Billingsley and never relinquished the starting job. Posted 54-613-5 (11.4) that year, but wasn’t quite able to replicate that production this year (31-502-1 going into the playoffs as of the time of writing).

Positives:

Two-year starter for a major program. Flexible player with a relatively thick-looking build. Usage in college was as a chess piece; H-Back, motion, slot, split out wide, etc. Has done it all as a blocker at the college level, and clearly takes his responsibilities seriously. Blocks with good balance, extension, and leg drive, working hard through the whistle. Shows a very good understanding of positioning to seal defenders away from the ballcarrier. Lines up opponents well when in the slot, stalk blocking for screens. Was asked to execute a lot of crack blocks and blocks from pre-snap motion across the formation, and you can hear the pads clicking on contact. Retained in pass protection relatively more often than many college tight ends (delayed release at times), and appears to have good awareness. Runs pretty smooth routes and shows some relatively detailed footwork as a receiver; doesn’t glide at the stem, keeps things flat. Not bothered by contact while he’s running routes. Has solid body control and a very reliable pair of hands (no drops in 2023 as of the time of writing.)

Negatives:

Size-wise, is closer to a flex tight end than an inline option. Didn’t manage to improve on our replicate his 2022 success this year. An above-average blocker, but is not the nastiest or most physically dominant; has a more workmanlike temperament. Lacks explosive traits; smoother than fast, and doesn’t have a ton of burst at the route stem. Didn’t catch an especially high rate of contested catches. Was somewhat penalty-prone in 2022 (seven flags.)

Summary:

A smooth, versatile tight end who seemed underutilized in the passing game this past year, often being used as a decoy or retained in pass protection, but who has some natural receiving skills. His ability to line up all over the formation, execute a wide variety of different blocks, and provide quarterbacks with clean route running and a reliable pair of hands could make him a pretty well-rounded starter at the next level. Looks like a second-day selection.

Projection: Round 2-3

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