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Ja’Tavion Sanders

Ja’Tavion Sanders (TE) – Texas / Junior

6’4”, 256 Lbs. (Unofficial)

2022 Stats: 13 games, 54 receptions, 613 receiving yards, 11.4 yards per reception, 5 receiving touchdowns.  {Reference: https://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/players/jatavion-sanders-1.html}

Awards: 

Measurables: (Available post-combine/pro day)

RAS: (Available post-combine/pro day)

Games Watched: 2022 vs. Oklahoma; 2022 @ Oklahoma State; 2022 vs. Washington (Alamo Bowl)

PRO’S 

Good hands — soft, rarely drops a ball even when contested, and catches the ball away from his body.  Good route-runner, especially for first year starting as a sophomore.  Nice foot work when running routes.  Elusive for a TE and gets YAC with sneaky speed, elusiveness (there’s that word again), and physicality with the ball in his hand, which shows up in contested catches and is not afraid to take a hit.  Provides a nice target for his QB.  Pass blocking is pretty good already.  I like his ability to find those open spots in a defense, which to me is one indicator of a high football IQ. 

CON’S

Pass blocking is solid, but definitely needs a lot of work in run blocking.  Aside from his hands and pretty good physicality in contested catches, he doesn’t “wow” with speed (good speed, just not explosive) and it’s not like he’s a monster in terms of physicality (though I see him being more physical than most top-end promising TEs).  Versatility in alignment is there in the NCAA, but I have my doubts about that in the NFL.  He’s got that jack-of-all trades/master-of-none for the position “feel” about him that could point to something good, or just pedestrian in the NFL.  

OVERALL 

5-star recruit according to many coming out of high school.  Assuming Sanders enters the 2024 draft, that class should be pretty good especially with Brock Bowers (Georgia) leading the pack (and Browers should be considered a generational talent at TE, in my opinion).  Sanders is talked about being TE2 behind Bowers entering the ’23 campaign and rightfully so, but so far I think there’s a wide gap between Bowers and the rest. 

I’m writing this on August 27, 2023, so I’m looking forward to how his development continues in his second year starting at Texas and will update this write-up at the end of the season.  The tool kit is definitely there to wind up being an effective 3-down TE in the NFL as long as his blocking continues to improve (especially run blocking).  Not feeling him as 1st round-worthy yet like Bowers can be penciled in for, but TE is not normally a 1st round value anyway.  I do expect big things and continuing improvement from him in his junior year/2023 campaign.  There is criticism of his speed in that he’s not a burner, but I think his route savviness and finding those open spaces in defense are more important to me for a TE.  

Definitely keep an eye on him — there’s a LOT of room for growth, he has a lot going for him, and it’s going to be his second year as a starter.  Remember — he was a 5-star recruit out of high school for a reason.  That does not guarantee success at all and he’s also only started one year to date, but so far I like his hands, physicality, and route-running to build from.  Very excited to observe Sanders throughout 2023.

 

Completed by: Joe Knows (@JoeJ_Clark), 08/27/23

 

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