TE Dalton Keene, Virginia Tech*

6’4” – 253 lbs. – 4.71

Has been starting for the Hokies since his true freshman season, a year in which he caught ten passes. Followed that up with a 28-341-3 line as a sophomore, then went 21-240-5 as a junior with eleven carries on the ground before declaring for the draft. Most impressive aspect of his game is how many different ways he was lined up in the offense; takes snaps as an H-Back, as an inline tight end, out of the backfield as more of a fullback, and sometimes in the slot or coming in motion as the ball is snapped.

Gives good effort as a blocker, and was predominantly used in that capacity in Virginia Tech’s offense. Has impressive short-area quickness to reach second-level defenders or come in motion and deliver crack blocks on backside pursuers. Works hard to sustain through the whistle and keeps his legs churning after contact. Flashes the ability to generate push when he’s able to engage an opponent’s shoulder. However, has some technical issues which limit his effectiveness. Has a tendency to play outside of his frame, bending at the waist and lowering his head into contact. Consequently, tends to fall off of too many blocks, and can be discarded by more active defenders. Overall functional strength and grip appear average at best. When working in pass protection, is active with his feet and aggressively seeks out opponents but can set up shop too far on the outside and open himself up to inside moves/counters.

Value in the passing game is more limited, with speed and explosiveness which appear average relative to other tight end prospects; did test somewhat better than anticipated, though. Doesn’t look like much of a threat to challenge defenses down the seams or create separation against man coverage. Instead, value will be predominantly as a safety blanket underneath zone coverage, chipping defenders before making delayed releases into the flats or running banana routes out of fullback/H-Back alignments. However, does appear to offer a reasonable catch radius and some competitiveness after the catch to exact a price from tacklers.

An aggressive, high-effort blocker who lined up all over the formation for the Hokies and who offers adequate physical and athletic tools, but who is a bit of a mess from a technical perspective in the run game, and who lacks dynamism as a receiving option. Looks like more of a late-round option as a complementary tight end who might be able to work his way onto the field eventually in jumbo sets.

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