*Our TE grades can and will change as more information comes in from Pro Day workouts, leaked Wonderlic test results, etc. We will update ratings as new info becomes available.

**Our TE formulas had some slight changes in the offseason—an adjustment to better identify and value TE prospects that are smaller physically and are primed for the era ahead...the era of Jordan Reed and Delanie Walker-type TEs. Our historical grades will have changed some on various prospects as well, to show their grades by comparison. 

It’s not easy to scout Adam Trautman properly by just flipping on the tape and reacting to what you see – because he gets to work against FCS level talent, FCS-sized bodies. It makes him look taller and faster than he really is…as opposed to watching him work at the D1/SEC level.

Examples of what I’m trying to get at, and it’s not a mind-blowing take -- but it’s important for context as I set the table…

If Purdue TE prospect Brycen Hopkins had gone to Dayton, he probably would have done the same or even more than Trautman did in his career. Hopkins would look like an Olympic sprinter with his 4.66 40-time speed compared to 4.80 running Trautman. We might think Hopkins looked like the fastest TE prospect in the draft when all we did was watch highlight reels of his work against FCS talent.

If Adam Trautman worked against a Big Ten or SEC schedule…we might not know he exists, not on a highly lauded prospect scale. We’d see an NFL body and decent movement, he would be an NFL prospect…but we might not think of him as a top 150 draft prospect.

BUT… Because Trautman went to Dayton, has all his tape against humans who won’t sniff the NFL, he looks better at a glance than he is. There’s the allure of ‘what might be’ with the hidden gem FCS talent – we all fall in love with finding something no one else knows about or is valuing as highly. There’s YouTube highlight video of Trautman that has the title/label ‘next Gronk’ (and that label is used on 2-3-4+ TE prospects a year in order to get you to click an article or video). If Trautman went to Vanderbilt and had a Jared Pickney (Vandy TE prospect) career -- the analysts could have not cared less today. But because the mystery of the FCS talent cloud looms…some analysts/rating services have Trautman as their #1 or #2 TE prospect in this draft.

Could Trautman have flourished at the D1 level? We’ll never know. We can only speculate. That’s my job now…to figure out how to value Trautman.

The best way I could explain my scouting thoughts on Trautman is through similar top tight ends I just studied right before Trautman – Cole Kmet, Brycen Hopkins, Colby Parkinson. Watching tape of these four guys in the span of a couple of days and digging deeper on them, with them fresh in my mind to compare, I would offer the following…

Trautman could be as good/in the range of Kmet and Hopkins…but I wasn’t blown away by either of these top guy tight ends.

As a receiving talent, Trautman was maybe better than Kmet…Trautman a little quicker and more comfortable as a receiver. Hopkins a better receiver than Trautman or equal-ish. Parkinson blowing them all out of the water as a receiving talent. Trautman could be every solid Hunter Henry-type TE prospect in this day and age (Henry was more unique years ago, now he’s a dime a dozen ‘good’ among TEs).

As a blocker, again…hard to say with Trautman blocking tiny FCS defenders most of his time. I’d say he’s with Kmet and Hopkins as a blocker -- as having the size but ‘needing work’. Parkinson a better blocker than all of them, in my book. But all of them having the capability to learn and the physical tools to be fine.   

In the end, I have a prospect (Trautman) that might be as good as Kmet-Hopkins, but that you have to be skeptical of. He ran a slower 40-time than all of them but bested the entire TE prospect class with a terrific 6.78 three-cone.

If not for the ‘wow’ three cone, Trautman would be a 5th-7th-round draft pick prospect at best in the universe. The three-cone time makes scouts stop and wonder – because it’s hard to judge his movements against FCS defenders. To my naked eye, I didn’t see a 6.78 three-cone guy daring and cutting around the field. I saw a guy moving like the rest of the ‘good’ TE prospects (Kmet, Hopkins, etc.) – very average, not exciting in movement skills. Parkinson tested slower in three-cone than Trautman, but Parkinson’s quick feet jump off the tape – not so, for me, with Trautman.

Here’s the thing that is weird about Trautman’s three-cone…

If I run my database looking for sub-6.85 three-cone times among TE prospects, and looking at 6’3”+/240+ prospects (to weed out the athletes converted from WR-to-TE or smaller/faster in general)…there are 14 names, and most went on to play some role in the NFL…some hangers-on and some really good (Winslow, Pitta, Scheffler, O.J. Howard, among the names). This is a good sign for Trautman…


If I look at those 14 three-cone star TE prospects to see which ones ran 4.7+ 40-times (which is not good, and Trautman was even slower at 4.80) – then there are two names…Trautman and running/physical big/failed college QB convert to decent tight end Blake Bell, who has been a hanger-on backup TE for years in the NFL.

Trautman is a rare bird TE prospect with such sweet three-cone and such weak 40-time…on paper. On the field, I don’t see a ‘wow’ movement…just ‘OK, good’.

To wrap up my Trautman assessment for this section, I’d end with the following equivocation…

When I watched FCS tight end Dallas Goedert’s tape…I was blown away. When I watched Adam Trautman’s tape…I was like ‘meh, OK’.


Adam Trautman, Through the Lens of Our TE Scouting Algorithm:

14 TDs in 2019 season…which is really great for a tight end in college, and at the FCS level. You want to see dominance for prospects such as this. However, note – Trautman had 7 TDs (half of his 2019) in two games against two of the worst teams on his schedule…against 3-win Jacksonville, and 1-win Valparaiso. 

To further the schedule point… Dayton played a garbage schedule. They only faced one team with 8 or more wins on the season – San Diego…and it was Trautman’s worst catch and yardage tally of the season (3-35-1). I’m just saying…

*Note – Trautman was an academic honor roll in his conference for all five years he was at Dayton (redshirted).

2020 NFL Draft Measurables…

6’5”/255, 9.5” hands, 32 5/8” arms

4.80 40-time (13th-best of 17 TE prospects running at the Combine), 2.76 20-yard, 1.65 yard 

4.27 shuttle, 6.78 three-cone (#1 best among TEs at the Combine)

18 bench press, 34.5” vertical, 9’6” broad jump

The Historical TE Prospects to Whom Adam Trautman Most Compares Within Our System:

It has to be Blake Bell – they are the only two tight ends with high-end/elite three-cone numbers but way below average 40-times at the legit/bigger TE size. That’s not a great sample size to try to compare or predict Trautman’s future, but from a system comparison match…it’s Bell. And I thought Bell was a better prospect at TE coming out of college. 

TE Grade









Spd-Agil Metric

Strgth Blxing Metric

Hands Metric






























N. Dame




































W. Oregon







*A score of 7.0+ is where we start to take a TE prospect more seriously. A score of 8.50+ is where we see a stronger correlation of TEs going on to become NFL good/great/elite. A score of 10.00+ is more rarefied air in our system and indicates a greater probability of becoming an elite NFL TE.

All of the TE ratings are based on a 0–10 scale, but a player can score negative, or above a 10.0 in certain instances.

**The ‘TE-Reed’ score is in honor of Jordan Reed’s 2015 season…looking at TEs in a different manner—the smaller, speedy receiving threats.

“Speed-Agility Metric” = A combination of unique metrics surrounding speed, agility, physical size, mixed with some on-field performance metrics. High scorers here project to have a better YAC and show characteristics to be used as deep threats/create separation.

“Power-Strength Metric” = A combination of unique metrics surrounding physical size profiling, bench press strength, etc.  High scorers here project to be more physical, better blockers, and less injury-prone.

“Hands Metric” = A combination of unique metrics surrounding on-field performance in college, considering the strength of opponents played. Furthermore, this data considers some physical profiling for hand size, etc. High scorers here have a better track record of college statistical performance, and project the combination of data for receiving success at the next level.

2020 NFL Draft Outlook:

I see Trautman more in consensus top 3 than anything else, and with that comes a 3rd-round grade/mock in drafts. I think there’s too much media interest in him, in the mystery to not go 3rd-round. 4th-round at the latest.

If I were an NFL GM, I’d have zero interest in him as a top 100 pick, or top 150 quite frankly. I think he’s a legit NFL TE…can be on a roster and maybe develop into a competent starter but the spend of draft capital for what he brings to the table is not ringing any bells for me. 

NFL Outlook:   

Should get drafted top 100, and thus have a chance to develop over 2-3 seasons to see if he becomes a capable/solid NFL starter. I’m on the fence with whether I think he will break good or bad in the end. I’m going to lean that he’ll be a backup level NFL TE we all kinda forget about in a year or two. But I don’t rule out he becomes a solid starter either.