NFL Combine 2022: Jelani Woods, Greg Dulcich among 5 tight ends who improved their draft stock

The tight ends at the 2022 NFL Combine provided strong testing results across the board. But which prospects boosted their stock the most?

This year’s NFL Combine saw one of the deepest tight end groups in recent memory, and the results have followed suit. Which tight ends saw their NFL Draft stock improve the most after their day of on-field testing? During the day the names of Jalani Woods and Greg Dulcich jumped off the page, but what did they do to their draft stock on Day 1 of the Combine and who are the other top risers after Thursday’s events?

5 tight ends who boosted their stock at the NFL Combine

To be honest, there wasn’t a tight end who truly lost at the NFL Combine — at least among those who tested. Every tight end who participated in testing logged at least an above-average Relative Athletic Score (RAS). There’s a notable correlation between an above-average RAS and success at the NFL level — so we’re off to a good start. Of that group, which players put up the most impressive numbers?

Daniel Bellinger, San Diego State

Several tight ends had impressive days on Thursday, but there was one who was head-and-shoulders above the rest when looking at his performance as a whole: San Diego State’s Daniel Bellinger. Bellinger only caught 31 passes for 357 yards and 2 scores in 2021, but his Combine showing alluded to the untapped upside for a tight end who’s already a solid blocker.

Bellinger posted good-to-great numbers in pretty much every category. Standing at around 6’5″, 253 pounds, Bellinger ran a 4.63 40-yard dash, had a 34.5-inch vertical, and posted a 125-inch broad jump. He even went a couple of steps further, earning 22 bench reps and a stellar 7.05 three-cone time. The Combine has a way of giving unheralded prospects more respect with good testing, and Bellinger no doubt took advantage of that opportunity.

Jelani Woods, Virginia

We knew Jelani Woods was a massive human coming into the NFL Combine. All 6’7″, 253 pounds of him came to Indianapolis, with 34 1/2″ arms in tow. And then he went out and ran a 4.61 40-yard dash and logged 24 reps on the bench press. It was an inspiring performance for a player whose stock has only risen since putting up 598 yards and 8 scores in 2021 and shining at the Shrine Bowl.

Woods’ 40-yard dash is impressive, but his bench reps number might be even more so. With longer arms, he has to extend and retract at a slightly larger distance than other players when lifting the bar. To have the endurance to still get 24 reps is a major testament to Woods’ upper body strength. He also did well in blocking drills, lowering his pads well for his 6’7″ frame. There were a few drops during the gauntlet, but Woods has tools worth investing in.

Chigoziem Okonkwo, Maryland

If your “type” of tight end is the burly, run-after-catch tight end, then Maryland’s Chigoziem Okonkwo is a player you need to get on your radar. Okonkwo was visibly smaller than most tight ends at the NFL Combine, but his testing results put him above most, if not all. Okonkwo ran a blazing 4.52 40-yard dash, and also had a 35.5-inch vertical jump — second only to Isaiah Likely‘s 36-inch jump.

At 6’2 1/2″ and 238 pounds, Okonkwo isn’t going to be everyone’s preferred mold at tight end. But his athleticism and density provide him plenty of utility after the catch. He also showed he could separate as a route runner at the Shrine Bowl, further compounding his appeal. Use him as a move tight end or a big slot, get him in space, and let him eat up yards.

Austin Allen, Nebraska

Going from Okonkwo to Austin Allen is like going from Kyler Murray to Brock Osweiler. Allen, like Woods, is legitimately massive, measuring in at 6’7 5/8″ and 253 pounds. His sheer size makes him a great red-zone threat, and while he likely stays within that realm in the NFL, his athletic testing proved you can work him up the seam a little bit.

Allen, who caught 38 passes for 602 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2021, ran a 4.83 40-yard dash. That number is solid for his size, but his other tests popped even more. Allen put up an absurd 7-second three-cone at almost 6’8″. He also registered a 34-inch vertical and a 121-inch broad jump. His size alone was a selling point for some, but Allen proved at the Combine that he’s more than just a tall guy.

Greg Dulcich, UCLA

Greg Dulcich already had a lot of buzz heading into the NFL Combine, and he at the very least solidified his stock with a solid showing. Among the tight ends at the NFL Combine, Dulcich posted some of the better results of the group. He wasn’t dominant by any stretch athletically, but he was consistently solid. He logged a 4.7 40-yard dash, a 34-inch vertical, a 122-inch broad jump, and a 7.05 three-cone.

Beyond his athletic testing numbers, Dulcich was also one of the more natural-looking tight ends in drills, frequently seeking out the ball with his hands and snaring passes. He’s a little lighter than average, but Dulcich’s smooth athleticism and natural receiving ability make him one of the more popular tight ends in this class.

Honorable Mentions

Curtis Hodges, Arizona State; Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina; Grant Calcaterra, SMU; Jake Ferguson, Wisconsin; Trey McBride, Colorado State

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