In what’s considered a weak tight end class, one player’s draft announcement may have flown somewhat under the radar — but he may just be one of the top players at his position.
Virginia Tech junior tight end Dalton Keene “shocked” many when the 6-foot-4, 251-pound junior announced on Jan. 11 that he was entering the 2020 NFL draft.
Apparently, not many in Blacksburg saw the move coming as part of the headline from SB Nation’s Gobbler Country called the news “a shock.”
Notre Dame junior Cole Kmet is widely considered the top tight end in the 2020 class.
By comparison, Keene put up relatively modest numbers, both this season and for his career. Keene had 21 receptions for 240 yards and 5 touchdowns this season, giving up 59 receptions for 748 yards and 8 TDs for his career.
By comparison, three of the five tight ends in The Athletic’s Dane Brugler’s latest top 100 big board either had more receiving yards or more receptions – or both – just this season alone.
Instead, it’s Keene’s versatility that may interest NFL teams. In addition to his receiving duties, Keene also carried the ball 11 times this past season, gaining 33 yards. Again, modest numbers, but the other aforementioned five tight ends have combined for 2 career carries for 5 rushing yards.
“… (Keene) can play the traditional tight end role, line up as a fullback or h-back, or also in the slot,” Gobbler Country reports. “He wore many hats for Justin Fuente and Co. He was a physical presence in the running game, too.”
Keene is currently unranked by Fanspeak but will likely climb draft charts now that he has declared.
— ACC Network (@accnetwork) December 31, 2019