Any opinions expressed in this article do not reflect those of the team.
In just a few days, college football's top prospects will be at Lucas Oil Stadium for the 2022 Scouting Combine.
The event, which was canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will be one of the best opportunities for players to get noticed by scouts and improve their stock, and with more than 300 athletes getting ready to converge on Indianapolis, it's time to get more acquainted with them.
Over the next week, Commanders.com will take a dive into each position to see what they have to offer. Here are the positions we've looked at so far:
Next up are the tight ends.
The top prospect (according to ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.): Trey McBride, Colorado State
Tight end isn't a popular position in this year's mock draft (there is no one of Kyle Pitts' caliber in the bunch), but there seems to be some consensus that Tre McBride is the best the position has to offer.
McBride, a 6-foot-4, 260-pound prospect from Fort Morgan, Colorado, had plenty of high points in his career. Last season was certainly his best; he grabbed 90 receptions for 1,121 yards, which earned him All-American honors. He's an all-around player who knows how to block and make efficient catches in the passing game.
McBride had 10 touchdowns in his career, but only one came in 2021. There will likely be some questions about that among scouts, but it's hard to acknowledge that McBride is productive.
"McBride has room for improvement at the point of attack, but possesses the thickness and determination of a true, in-line blocker," NFL.com's Lance Zierlein wrote. "He'll need to improve his angles and play strength to even out the wins and losses against NFL competition.
Looking to improve their stock: Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina
Speaking of scoring, Coastal Carolina's Isaiah Likely did a lot of it in 2021 with 12 touchdowns, which nearly equaled his total in the previous three seasons combined. He didn't receive as many targets as some of the other draft prospects, but he made the most of the ones that did come his way with an average of 15.5 yards per reception.
The biggest highlight for Likely came against Arkansas State in Week 6. Likely got behind the defense two plays into Coastal Carolina's opening drive and took off for the end zone, setting the tone for a 52-20 victory.
Naturally, the play was a school record, but it was also just part of the best statistical performance of his career, as he finished with 232 yards and four touchdowns.
The level of competition Likely faced was much lower than other prospects, but a good showing at the Combine should show he has the tools to compete against tougher competition.
Most intriguing: Cole Turner, Nevada
When the Wolf Pack got past their opponents' 30-yard line, they knew they had a solid weapon in Cole Turner.
Turner, who finished the season with 677 receiving yards on 62 receptions, was second on the team with 10 touchdowns. He had four games with two touchdowns each, and all of them were 30 yards or fewer. Half of them came in the red zone, so he's shown he can be reliable when his team needs to finish drives.
Turner will need to develop his route tree if he wants to succeed at the NFL level. Still, he has a fair amount of athleticism that NFL coaches can work with.
Full list of prospects
- Austin Allen, Nebraska
- Chase Allen, Iowa State
- Daniel Bellinger, San Diego State
- Grant Calcattera, SMU
- Greg Dulcich, UCLA
- Jake Ferguson, Wisconsin
- Jeremiah Hall, Oklahoma
- Peyton Hendershot, Indiana
- Connor Heyward, Michigan State
- Curtis Hodges, Arizona State
- Charlie Kolar, Iowa State
- Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina
- Trey McBride, Colorado State
- James Mitchell, Virginia Tech
- Chig Okonkwo, Maryland
- Cade Otton, Washington
- Teagan Quitoriano, Oregon State
- Jeremy Ruckert, Ohio State
- Cole Turner, Nevada
- Jelani Woods, Virginia
- Jalen Wydermyer, Texas A&M