From now until the 2023 NFL Draft, we will scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top-10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today, I’ll be profiling Nebraska TE Travis Vokolek.
#83 Travis Vokolek/TE Nebraska – 6060, 259 (Senior)
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Travis Vokolek||6060, 259||9 1/2||32 7/8||N/A|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
— NFL frame, checks height/weight boxes with good length
— Shows soft hands and ability to track and adjust to the football
— Able to generate movement on down blocks
— Size allows him to get in the way and stalemate blocks in run game, also used in chips and full blocks in pass protection
— Frame makes him effective red zone threat, also creates minor YAC value being able to break tackles and fall forward when smaller defenders try to tackle him
— Has experience working out of a three-point stance
— Willing to do dirty work
— Comes from football family
— Stiff, linear player who struggles to change direction
— Upright out of his stance and plays tall, too easily rerouted by zone droppers
— Has to gather to change directions and doesn’t create space
— Will break route off at wrong depth against zone coverage
— Falls off blocks too easily and misses target in space, not as effective in the run game you’d hope as a base blocker
— Improved throughout 2022 but too late out of his stance and takes too long to get first step upfield
— Limited collegiate production
— Old prospect whose game seems close to maxed out
— Turns 25 in June
— 16 career starts for the Cornhuskers, spent 2018 and 2019 with Rutgers before transferring
— Career: 57 receptions for 656 yards (11.5 YPC) and four touchdowns
— 2022: 20 receptions for 240 yards and two TDs
— Three-time Academic All Big-Ten
— Volunteered at local hospitals and local community
— Dad is quality control coach at Nebraska, uncle was head coach at several schools in in 90s through 2010s
— Two-star recruit from Springfield, Missouri, chose Rutgers over Minnesota, Army, and Buffalo among others
— Hit growth spurt late in high school, going from 6’2 190 to 6’5 220
— Was a dual college student his final year of high school and already had a year completed before going to Rutgers as a freshman
— Also participated in track at Kickapoo High School, participated in high and long jump
— Played defense in high school, had 82 tackles as a junior
Travis Vokolek has the size you look for in a blocking tight end with some experience there. But his best trait is easily his hands. A soft catcher of the football, he adjusts and contorts to the ball well. A couple of examples.
His size and frame allows him to create some movement on down blocks when he can work angles and drive his feet. He seems like a hand-in-the-pile guy and good locker room presence, definitely academically gifted, and he does have a fair amount of experience working as an in-line tight end. So that’s all going well for him.
But he’s not as good a run blocker as you’d expect from his size. He struggles to hit his target and too easily falls off blocks in the run game when working as a base blocker.
He’s a very stiff player who is slow out of his stance. It got better later in his 2022 tape but he’s upright and too easily bumped off his route by underneath zone droppers. His size and build allows him to still largely stay on track but he has the athleticism of a Zach Gentry and probably even lacks that downhill, build-up speed that Gentry sorta has. Plus, Gentry is bigger. Even as a route runner, he has to work on getting proper depth. Watch him here cut into the linebacker here for no good reason other than that’s probably where the route was supposed to break. But it doesn’t get him open.
Overall, his tape is uninspiring. If you’re a college tight end, you gotta block well, be a good receiver, or at least have tools and traits to build on. Lots of teams draft traits here and try to build them up. Toss in the fact Vokolek will be 25 before his first NFL game and I’m not seeing anything worth drafting. Bring him into a camp, fine, but not worth the draft capital. He’s a #3 type who can work in pro-style system that asks their tight ends to run down the seam off playaction. That’s about the only way he’ll make some plays. My NFL comp is Scott Orndoff.
Projection: Late Day Three-Priority Free Agent
Depot Draft Grade: 5.8 – Undrafted Free Agent
Games Watched: vs Northwestern (2022), vs Wisconsin (2022), at Rutgers (2022)