He’s an Ames legend, and he’s been one of the most productive tight ends in college football since 2019. College accolades don’t necessarily equal NFL success, however. With his scouting report, how does Iowa State TE and NFL Draft prospect Charlie Kolar translate at the professional level? Let’s take a closer look.
Charlie Kolar NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Tight End
- School: Iowa State
- Current Year: Redshirt Senior
- Height: 6’6″
- Weight: 260 pounds
Charlie Kolar Scouting Report
If you’re using production to narrow down options at tight end, Kolar will be near the top of your list. The Cyclones star has amassed over 2,000 receiving yards over the past three seasons, making him one of the most productive active tight ends in the league. He’s monopolized Iowa State’s school records at his position and effectively solidified his name as a legacy item.
Kolar has accomplished a great deal at the collegiate level, but it takes more than a statistical extrapolation to gauge his potential on the NFL stage. Is Kolar’s playstyle translatable, or does the Iowa State TE have limitations that will make his current production unsustainable in the pros?
Charlie Kolar’s athletic profile
If there’s a redeeming quality for Kolar, it’s his size. The Iowa State TE stands tall at 6’6″, 260 pounds, and has elite length. That length serves Kolar well both as a blocker and as a receiver.
As a blocker, the Iowa State TE can get his hands on defenders quickly and anchor at the line. Meanwhile, as a pass catcher, Kolar can use his massive catch radius to extend for high and inaccurate passes. Moreover, his larger frame allows him to box out defenders.
Although he’s not an elite athlete, Kolar’s size affords him long strides, which can cover decent amounts of ground in space. That’s not where Kolar makes his money, however. His size is his best asset, and he uses it well.
Execution beyond the physical traits
Experience has afforded Kolar some development over time, both as a receiver and a blocker — most notable is Kolar’s ability at the catch point. The Iowa State TE has solid body control and ball-tracking ability. He also has good concentration and coordination in contested-catch situations. Kolar uses his frame and physicality to attain superior leverage against smaller players. And with his toughness, he can haul in passes amidst contact.
Kolar’s concentration and hand strength allows him to haul in tough passes while imbalanced, but the Iowa State TE also shows flashes of zone awareness. He sits in zones and maintains his spacing, and has good sideline awareness as well. In off-script situations, Kolar works to the sideline well and actively seeks to keep his feet in-bounds. And although he’s far from an elite route runner, Kolar has shown he can employ modest head fakes on occasion.
Going beyond Kolar’s receiving ability, the Iowa State TE is also an above-average blocker. He gets up out of his stance fairly quickly and has decent knee bend. He attains proper leverage and anchors defenders with extensions. He’s a high-effort, assignment-sound blocker, who at least provides a baseline utility.
Areas for improvement
Kolar has been a great college player, but looking at his traits, his translation to the NFL might not be as smooth as anticipated. To start, the Iowa State TE has notable athletic limitations. His explosiveness is pedestrian, and he doesn’t stretch the field or create space. He’s also stiff when changing directions and doesn’t gather himself with quickness. He sometimes has to come to a full stop before breaking his routes.
Kolar can’t keep speed through his breaks, and part of that has to do with his stiff, upright nature as a player. He doesn’t have much hip sink, which severely limits his route-running upside. He’s a below-average natural separator, who doesn’t often run crisp routes, instead rounding his breaks and drifting into space. Overall, Kolar is a lumbering mover who doesn’t accelerate much in open space. His long speed, burst, and change-of-direction ability all fail to impress.
Going further, Kolar isn’t overly flexible. Even with his strong hands, he can be prone to focus drops — especially when he has to extend for passes. He’s not much of a run-after-catch threat with his average/below-average burst and agility.
Finally, Kolar isn’t perfect as a blocker, either. While he’s decent, he sometimes has trouble sustaining blocks at the second level. He sometimes lacks coordination and can get knocked off balance with little strain. There are times when he takes poor angles to his targets, and his grip strength can be inconsistent as well.
Kolar’s 2022 NFL Draft scouting report overview
Kolar deserves recognition for all he’s accomplished at Iowa State. But as an NFL Draft prospect, he’s not as inspiring as his statistics indicate. Kolar does have great size and solid contested-catch ability. He’s also an able blocker with the length to translate. That’s enough for him to earn a spot as a rotational red-zone threat.
However, any greater role than that may be an improbable outcome for Kolar. The Iowa State TE appears to be an average athlete at best, without much dynamic explosiveness or agility. He’s not a natural separator or an elusive player after the catch. Additionally, his lacking burst and power may exacerbate his inconsistencies as a blocker at the next level.
At the very least, Kolar can hang his hat on his contested-catch prowess. He’s also a high-character player with experience. Those traits alone may render him draftable for many teams, especially when he interviews at the Senior Bowl. Talent-wise, Kolar looks like a late Day 3 pick with limited upside. But he can be a quality backup with his character and experience.
Charlie Kolar’s Player Profile
If you didn’t know any better, you might’ve thought Kolar would be a Sooner. The idea is unfathomable now, but Kolar is from Norman, Oklahoma, and played football at Norman North High School. He grew up on the Sooners’ front step, but Oklahoma wasn’t interested in Kolar when he entered the recruiting cycle in 2017.
Although Kolar already had promising size at 6’6″, 227 pounds, he was only a three-star recruit and the 15th-best tight end in his class. Offers from Air Force and Army reached Kolar’s doorstep, but the Norman product desired to play Power Five football. So when Iowa State came calling, he eventually joined Matt Campbell’s squad.
Kolar’s career at Iowa State
Kolar redshirted his freshman season in 2017, but from that point on, it was nowhere but upward for the Iowa State TE. Kolar entered the lineup in 2018 and provided value as a rotational tight end, earning 11 receptions for 137 yards and 3 touchdowns.
The following year, as a redshirt sophomore, Kolar became a full-time starter and flourished catching passes from quarterback Brock Purdy. In his first season as a starter, Kolar ascended to the national spotlight, amassing 51 catches for 697 yards and 7 scores. He was a Mackey Award semifinalist and a first-team All-Big 12 selection.
Kolar only continued to flourish in 2020, even amidst uncertain circumstances. The Iowa State TE remained a steady constant for the Cyclones’ offense, putting up 44 catches for 591 yards and 7 touchdowns in 11 contests. He once again earned first-team All-Big 12 recognition, and he was one of three finalists for the Mackey Award, losing to eventual top-five pick Kyle Pitts.
In 2021, it’s been business as usual for Kolar. For the second straight season, he was a Mackey Award finalist, on account of his 58 catches, 723 yards, and 5 touchdowns. Although he never won the award, he rewrote the TE record books at Iowa State. His 164 receptions, 2,148 yards, and 22 touchdowns all rank first in all-time career production for the Cyclones at his position.
Kolar’s NFL Draft ascension
Not only has Kolar proven himself as a player in college, but he’s also proven himself as a person. He’s been an esteemed and valuable leader for Campbell’s squad and has earned accolades for his academic performance off the field as well.
This past season, Kolar was the winner of the Williams V. Campbell Trophy, given to the top scholar-athlete in college football. Maintaining a near 4.0 GPA as a mechanical engineering major, while simultaneously dominating the stat sheet in Big 12 competition can’t be easy. But Kolar made it look easy in his time at Ames.
Athletically, Kolar appears to be far from elite, and his skill set may be limited at the next level. But his baseline utility as a blocker and a red-zone threat, combined with his high-character personality and energy as a leader, should allow him to stick around on a roster as a depth piece. From there, Kolar may be able to do his part, to help an NFL team find success — same as he helped Iowa State.