Dallas Goedert has enjoyed moderate success, playing the role of Robin to Zach Ertz’s Batman in Philadelphia.
Adam Shaheen, meanwhile, could be on his way out in Chicago after three injury-plagued seasons.
Now it’s Adam Trautman’s turn.
The 6-foot-5, 255-pound senior from Dayton is the latest small school tight end who rocketed up draft boards. With the draft just days away, Trautman is generally considered a second- to fourth-round pick by most analysts.
The two small school tight ends he’s most often compared to, South Dakota State’s Goedert and Ashland’s Shaheen, were taken in the second round of their respective drafts.
Goedert was drafted by Philadelphia with the 49th-overall pick in 2018, while Shaheen was drafted by Chicago with the 45th-overall pick in 2017. Another small-school TE, Gerald Everett of South Alabama, was taken one pick ahead of Shaheen by the Los Angeles Rams.
While Ertz caught 88 passes last season – third-best among all TEs – Goedert had his best season, as his production increased from 33 receptions and 334 yards as a rookie to 58 receptions and 607 yards receiving last season. His touchdown totals improved, too, rising from 4 as a rookie to 5 last season.
Shaheen, on the other hand, has struggled in Chicago, with only 13 career starts – two last season – and 26 career receptions for 249 yards. His best year came as a rookie, when he caught 12 passes for 127 yards and 3 TDs while starting 7 out of 13 games. Now, the injury-plagued Shaheen’s future in Chicago is in doubt.
Everett, meanwhile, has 86 receptions for 972 yards and 7 TDs in his three seasons with the Rams.
Kids in Elk Rapids High School hallways used to get a whiff something odd every now and then five or six years ago.
Same with Mr. Potter’s health class. And Mr. Bauer’s computer room.
The culprit? Adam Trautman, eating his way toward an NFL future. https://t.co/ofQzEy39HG
— Traverse City Record-Eagle Sports (@TCREsports) April 18, 2020
The small-school label isn’t the only reason why Trautman is often compared to Goedert and Shaheen. All three are almost identical in size, with the slightest of edges going to the 6-foot-6, 257-pound Shaheen. Goedert is 6-foot-5, 256 pounds.
However, all this adds little clarity as to where Trautman may land or how much success he might have at the next level. Combine that with a lack of one-on-one contact with teams, and Trautman could fall to the third round or later in what is generally seen as a down-year for tight ends.
“From his college tape, there’s only so much to glean from beating (small school) opponents, especially as a blocker,” said Eric Edholm, NFL draft analyst for Yahoo Sports, in an interview with Fanspeak.
“But once I saw him perform at the Senior Bowl, I knew he belonged closer to the top of my positional rankings, even if this admittedly is a tough year to need a tight end.”
For what it’s worth, two tight ends from the 2017 and 2018 drafts have already been selected to at least one Pro Bowl, and both were drafted after Goedert and Shaheen: Oklahoma’s Mark Andrews, who was drafted in the third round with pick No. 86 by Baltimore, and Iowa’s George Kittle, who was drafted in the fifth round with pick No. 146 by San Francisco.
Jake Rigdon (firstname.lastname@example.org) covers the NFL draft for Fanspeak and the On The Clock, which is the only NFL draft simulator that allows you to customize and use your own big board while giving you control over trades.