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- Position: Tight End (TE)
- Class: Senior (redshirt)
- College: Southern Illinois
- Ht/Wt: 6'2", 251 pounds
This year's tight end class is not a great one, but there are still some noteworthy prospects if you do enough digging. One of those prospects is FCS tight end MyCole Pruitt out of Southern Illinois. Pruitt's a smaller-sized tight end prospect with great athleticism and physicality to his game. He was one of the most athletic tight ends at the Combine, with the fastest 40-yard dash, the highest vertical leap, the fourth-longest broad jump, and the third-fastest 20-yard and 60-yard shuttle times.
That easy athleticism translates well onto the field. Pruitt has a good burst off the line, and is capable of attacking a safety down the seam. He has good start-stop acceleration, although his hips are a bit on the tighter side. If he needs to turn a corner, he'll probably plant and drive rather than draw a smooth curve.
Pruitt plays with a running back's physicality to his game. He fights for extra yardage, churns his legs, and generally isn't satisfied with the initial yardage pickup. He has excellent hands, snatching the ball out of the air with very few concerns about drops. As a blocker, he's adequate. His technique is fairly good, he gives good effort through the whistle, and he has a strong punch. But he'll always be limited by his smaller size, and I did see him pancaked at least once by a defensive lineman. He also doesn't put consistently strong effort into all of his routes, and he tipped off a few defenders that he'd be running underneath, leading to at least one interception.
It should be noted that Pruitt was simply a very productive tight end his whole college career. Out of 44 games he started in college, Pruitt caught a pass in 43. In his senior season, he had 81 catches, 861 yards, and 13 touchdowns. He managed that despite some lousy quarterback play, albeit against FCS competition, as well.
When watching Pruitt, I was reminded of the Charles Clay film I saw earlier in the offseason when the Buffalo Bills pursued him. Like Clay, Pruitt was a productive small-school tight end, with smaller size and good athleticism. He's a physical runner, adequate blocker, and potentially a strong receiver. There are parts of his blocking and route-running that need refinement, but I'm bullish on the outcome. I've graded Pruitt as a fourth-round prospect. I'm not sure Buffalo would draft him, but if they want two Clay-types running their offense, then it sounds good to me.