You have most likely heard of Auden Tate if you are involved in a devy league. With the wide receiver class not being as deep as other years, there will be quite a few different players drafted with a specific skill set. Most of the receivers in this class have some limitations and Tate is included in that, but one thing that you cannot teach is 6’5’’ 228 lbs. Let’s dive into the numbers to see how Tate matches up with other wide receivers.
In Tate’s freshman year at FSU, he struggled to make the field due to different injuries. Then in 2016, Tate started to get on the field and played in 13 games. He caught 25 passes for over 400 yards and six scores despite only starting four games that season.
Statistics from sports-reference.com.
Tate was then primed to take over number one duties in 2017, but in FSU’s home opener, he separated his shoulder. In the home opener, he had already caught nine balls for 138 yards and a touchdown in just over two quarters. He caught a 51-yard bomb with 13 minutes remaining in the third quarter but landed awkwardly on his shoulder. He still started eight of 12 games in 2017, all while playing through a painful shoulder injury.
Tate ended up catching 40 passes for almost 550 yards and ten TDs in his final season. While those numbers don’t jump off the page, playing through a significant injury and still posting double-digit TDs should be commended. The numbers for 2017 were disappointing (for Tate and scouts), but the potential is undeniable. He ended up only being able to start 12 games throughout his college career, yet still caught 16 TDs.
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Tate will most likely never be a volume guy or a downfield deep threat… but one thing he exceeds at is catching touchdowns.
Tate may lack top speed… but you can’t teach 6’5″. Here he is able to highpoint the ball and win the 50/50 redzone battle against potential top 10 pick Minkah Fitzpatrick. @DLFootball #NFLCombine #NFL #NFLDraft #DraftTwitter #Scouting #FantasyFootball pic.twitter.com/0avMADXi1x
— Levi Chappell (@LeviChappell) March 30, 2018
Tate does a couple of things really well. He wins the majority of 50/50 balls that are thrown his way by utilizing his big frame and strong hands. As you can see in the tape, he rarely juggles the ball and is able to pull in difficult catches. He also does not get pushed around on his routes, he is able to shield defenders off, and uses his size to take advantage of smaller opponents.
Most of his success comes in either the red zone or intermediate throws. The red zone throws allow him to high-point the ball and rise above the defenders (separation and speed are not needed), and the intermediate throws allow him to use his physicality to create enough space from defenders.
A team is not going to draft him and expect him to catch 80+ balls a year, but a team may very well draft him and expect 8+ TDs a year. I could see him lining up on the outside in three wide receivers sets, especially in the red zone.
When looking at Tate’s spider chart via Mock Draftable, it is split right down the middle. His body size and structure are almost off the charts for a wide receiver: 6’5” 228 lbs, with very long arms and a huge wingspan. On the other hand, he lacks explosiveness and elite athleticism.
The most accurate body type and measurable comparison that I found was Plaxico Burress. Burress was 6’5” and 232 lbs, with a 4.59 40-yard dash, 33-inch vertical, and a 115-inch broad jump. Tate is 6’5”, 228 lbs, ran a 4.68 40-yard dash, and put up a 31-inch vertical and 112-inch broad jump. Based solely on those numbers, Tate lacks athleticism compared to Burress, but they play similarly. Burress was never a high volume guy. He was utilized in the red zone and was very productive at it. I expect a team to draft Tate with the same type of mindset.
Also, let me pump the brakes on the comparisons of Tate to “devy-bust” De’Runnya Wilson. Wilson ran a 4.85 40-yard dash and had a 28-inch vertical. To put that in context… Peyton Manning ran a 4.80 40 yard dash during the 1998 NFL combine that we all watched in standard definition. Yes, I’m sure you thought that was a typo, so let me write it again. Peyton Manning ran a faster 40 than Wilson.
Tate may not possess elite speed, but he is not a sloth either.
In the latest DLF March 2018 Rookie Dynasty ADP Tate is ranked as the 22nd overall rookie and the eighth-ranked wide receiver. Tate is one of the top red zone targets in this class, but the speed and separation concerns have him sliding down towards the back end of the second round in 12-team rookie drafts.
Tate’s college tape is impressive, even while playing through a separated shoulder. There is a bit of injury history/risk and opinions seem to differ quite a bit on him due to the “speed issue”.
Some people love his physicality and strong hands that allow him to snag TDs in the red zone, while others point out his lack of separation and speed. I think if he goes to a place like the Seattle Seahawks or Indianapolis Colts (zero big-bodied receivers on the roster) and is able to carve out a red zone role, he could be a successful receiver at the next level. Landing in the right situation will be key for Tate. Ultimately though, it is up to you to decide if he is worth a late second round pick or not!