Skip to main content

News | Washington Commanders -

Combine notebook | Brock Bowers is a 'do-it-all' guy; Kool-Aid McKinstry wants to dominate man coverage

Georgia tight end Brock Bowers speaks during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Georgia tight end Brock Bowers speaks during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

We're back to provide some more coverage on all the action going on at Indianapolis for the 2024 NFL scouting combine. Day 1 of media availability focused on linebackers and defensive linemen, and Day 2 featured defensive backs and tight ends. Let's look at some notes and quotes from this morning.

-- Of all the tight ends available in this year's draft class, none are more touted than Georgia's Brock Bowers, who is considered the best at his position by far. Bowers has been a critical piece of the Bulldogs' offense for years, getting at least 700 years in each of his three seasons. He was a unanimous All-American in 2023, and he believes he can bring "a lot" to an NFL offense.

"Just being a do-it-all kind of guy," Bowers said. "That's how I hope to be used like I was in Georgia ... I already feel like I can more or less out-physical certain and also out-run more physical linebackers."

-- Texas tight end Ja'Tavion Sanders is known more for his abilities as a receiver than as a blocker, but the All-Big-12 standout believes that people are overlooking that part of his skill set.

"For me to be a true tight end at the next level, I don't have any choice but to take pride in that, so that's been one of my main focuses going on to the next level, is working on my run-blocking," Sanders said. "Going out there to manhandle somebody makes you feel good about yourself."

-- TCU's Jared Wiley isn't as highly regarded as Bowers or Sanders, but he's on a mission to change that narrative. He doesn't have the eye-popping stats, although he did have a coming out party in his final season with the Horned Frogs with 520 yards and eight touchdowns. Run-blocking is also an area he needs to improve upon, but with his 6-foot-6 frame and 260 pounds, he has the physical traits to learn.

"Number one goal for me is proving I'm a No.1 tight end and prove I can be a team's trusted tight end. Improving my run blocking technique with my hands and width of my feet."

-- Arizona's Tanner McLachlan is set to join the long list of NFL tight ends that started out as basketball players. He originally committed to playing basketball in high school before ultimately deciding that football was the better path for him. Based on his career at Arizona -- 94 receptions for 682 yards and eight touchdowns -- that decision turned out to be the right one.

-- There isn't an obvious top option when looking at the cornerback class, but Iowa's Cooper DeJean is the closest thing to it. A unanimous All-American for the Hawkeyes, DeJean set a single-season school record with three interceptions returned for touchdowns in 2022. He has seven for his career to go with 120 tackles, and he says his work ethic is what sets him apart.

"I feel like I'm a hard worker. I want to outwork everybody, and I feel like if I'm working hard, it'll bring my teammates alongside with me. Going to an NFL team, I just want to earn the respect of my teammates, first and foremost."

-- Kool-Aid McKinstry might have one of the most unique names in the draft this year, but that isn't the only thing that sets him apart. He's also a solid cornerback with 23 pass breakups and 93 tackles. You could say there are his skill set, but he talked a lot about his ability in man coverage at the combine.

"[I'm] able to play man and not be afraid to get in anyone's face and to challenge them at the line of scrimmage."

-- There's a lot to like about Toledo's Quinyon Mitchell, whether it's his burst, tackling or quick feet. All of those helped him become Toledo's all-time leader in pass breakups, but he says his biggest trait is his ball skills.

"At the Senior Bowl, I learned every ball thrown in the air is worth $2.5 million. Just trying to get that money."

-- Let's talk about a local prospect for a bit. Maryland's Beau Brade was a cornerstone of Mike Locksley's efforts to turn around the program, recording 75 tackles, a forced fumble and an interception with six pass breakups in his senior year. He's currently viewed as a Day 2 player, but all he really wants to do is be the best player possible.

"It's a job now," Brade said of being in the NFL. "You gotta come in every day ready to work. In college, some days you might not be feeling good in practice, but every day now, you gotta work. You got a job, so you gotta be the best you can possibly be, and your body's gotta be the best."

Related Content