In a draft class full of talented tight ends all across the board, there’s one who is slowly creeping up draft boards due to his play on the field. This is tight end Isaiah Likely out of Coastal Carolina in the Sun Belt Conference.
HeÂ is six-foot-four and weighs 240 pounds. In his final collegiate season last year, he finished with 912 receiving yards and 12Â touchdowns. Likely reached the endzone 27 times and gained 2,060 yards from scrimmage in 2018-19. He also showed he could stretch the field, averaging 15.4 yards per catch in his career.
Also of note, Likely appeared on a multitude of leaderboards in the Sun Belt Conference. From 2020-21, he was in the top 10 for receiving yards and was sixth in receptions last season with 59. In addition, the tight end was also 10th in yards from scrimmage for the 2021 season in his conference.
When you take a look at his game, you see a large frame. It’s a threat to defenders as it’s pretty hard to cover him one-on-one. He wins the majority of his matchups in regard to 50-50 balls, and he has great route running for a tight end. Whether it be a simple short slant, a streak or a basic curl route, he can perform it and ensure a conversion for the team. He also does his share of blocking when needed.
The games that show his skills are his two games versusÂ Georgia State, where he had seven receptions for 101Â receiving yards and one touchdown. Despite this being a 42-40 loss, it’s one of his best performances. The other was against Arkansas State, where he had eight receptions for 200 yards and four touchdowns inÂ a 52-20 blowout victory. These games show how truly good he is and that he’s not just a product of a weak conference with a decent quarterback in Grayson McCall.
Isaiah Likely. TE1. https://t.co/Up9uKX0fNA
— Gabe McDonald (@GabeMcDonald_) December 18, 2021
One knock that many will have is that he has an average size for a tight end at six-foot-four, which is the standard height for an NFL tight end, or that he lacks the true strength to block league-tier linemen. While this is yet to be determined, he can get stronger once he gains a true NFL body. Many will say that inferior competition is the reason he performed so well. If you wish to see a game where some of his “weaknesses” were exposed, then look at his Buffalo tape where he had six receptions for six yards with one touchdown. This was the one game where he wasn’t a true factor on the field.
Depending on how things pan out during his draft interviews and workouts, I can truly see him as a legit tight end, either by beating his competition in camp or by outright earning it throughout the season. I give him an easy late first round or early second grade in my opinion. I view his ceiling as Jermichael Finley/Jeremy Shockey with his floor being Luke Wilson/Dennis Pitta. When it comes to teams that could use him, I see him fitting well with teams such as the Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars, and New York Giants.
*Top Photo: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports