Our NFL rookie profile series continues with the analysis of 2023 NFL Draft Prospect Luke Musgrave, TE, from Oregon State. We will continue to provide you with these in-depth rookie profiles and a ton of other fantasy football rookie analyses right up through the NFL Draft. Stay tuned, and stay ahead of your league.
The tight end position in fantasy football desperately needs an influx of pass-catching talent. All-time greats have retired recently or are at the very tail end of their careers. Inconsistency and touchdown-dependent production has wreaked havoc on fantasy managers trying to make things work at the position. This NFL Draft class has a chance to be one of the best for fantasy football in recent memory, and Luke Musgrave is one of the best pass catchers of the group.
We’ll dig into it all with Luke Musgrave here and determine his value in dynasty fantasy football leagues.
Luke Musgrave grew up in Vancouver, Washington, in a family packed with athletes. His father, Doug, was a quarterback for Oregon, as was his uncle Bill. Bill Musgrave went on to the NFL and was a long-time assistant coach. His mother, Amy, was a professional skier in the 80s. Musgrave followed in his mother’s footsteps, becoming a champion skier at the age of 14. His family moved to Oregon for high school, where he continued skiing and played football, lacrosse, and ran track. Musgrave was a three-star recruit coming out of college and decided to go to Oregon State over his father’s alma mater Oregon.
Courtesy of Sports Reference.
Yards per catch are the only stat that stands out for Luke Musgrave over his college career. 13.8 and 15.4 yards per catch are higher than Michael Mayer, generally considered the top tight end prospect in this class, ever achieved in his college career.
Musgrave spent his first two seasons buried on the depth chart behind future NFL players Noah Togial and Teagan Quitoriano. He only caught 14 balls over those first two seasons.
He had his most productive season in 2021, but his stats still do not jump off the page. The Beavers ran a run-first offense that limited production for the pass catchers. They only attempted 26.7 passes per game while running the ball 40.1 times a game. Musgrave caught 22 balls for 304 yards. His first collegiate touchdown catch came against in-state rival Oregon. He caught seven passes for 85 yards in that game.
2022 was off to a blistering start for Musgrave, solidifying his place on the NFL radar. He caught 11 balls for 169 yards and a touchdown over the season’s first two games. He had the best game of his college career in the opening game against Boise State, where he caught six passes for a career-high 89 yards and a touchdown. A left knee injury ended his season prematurely and put an end to his potential breakout season. Between 2021 and 2022, he had 21 catches for 298 yards (14.2 YPC) and two touchdowns over the final four games of his college career.
Musgrave accepted an invitation to the 2023 Senior Bowl. It was great to see him back on the field and healthy enough to participate in the practices and the game. In the practices, Musgrave did a good job attacking the football at the catch point. He looked solid on his routes and showed an ability to get to the open spot on short routes. He ran a diverse route tree in college, and that showed in the practices. In the game, he caught two passes for 13 yards. Ben Standig of The Athletic said Musgrave was “turning heads” at the Senior Bowl.
Courtesy of NFL.com.
Once again, it was great to see Luke Musgrave run and participate in drills at the NFL Combine despite the knee injury that ended his college career. At the podium, he said he’s fully healthy and ready to go for whatever NFL team drafts him.
He did very well in the testing department, running an elite 4.61 40-yard dash for his size. Player Profiler put his 40-yard dash in the 88th percentile and his Speed Score in the 94th. Will Mallory, Zack Kuntz, and Sam LaPorta are the only tight ends who ran faster than he did. Kuntz and Brandon Strange are the only tight ends with a faster 10-yard split. Kent Lee Platte’s RAS score for Musgrave is an elite 9.77.
Luke Musgrave is a TE prospect in the 2023 draft class. He scored a 9.77 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 26 out of 1091 TE from 1987 to 2023. https://t.co/VwODIVWRu0 #RAS pic.twitter.com/BI6VpcHTSG
— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 2, 2023
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com gave Musgrave a Prospect Grade of 6.49, the highest in this NFL Draft class of tight ends. It’s also the third-highest draft grade he’s given to a tight end since 2018, below only Kyle Pitts and TJ Hockenson.
Check out more Luke Musgrave videos on Luke Musgrave’s DLF Profile.
It is really tough to get anything from the film on Musgrave because there is just so little of it. He had 47 catches in his entire college career. 17 NFL tight ends had more receptions than that in 2022 alone. You’ll have to trust that he has the traits to succeed at the NFL level.
I believe Musgrave does best in the passing game by creating separation. He’s faster than linebackers and bigger than the defensive backs covering him. He always seemed to be wide open, though that could be a factor of Oregon State’s reliance on the running game.
He could absolutely use some work at the catch point. He relies on his body to make catches instead of his hands too often and always seems to need to jump up to the ball, even when it’s unnecessary. That could limit opportunities for yards after the catch; he only had 3.5 YAC/Reception in 2022. Michael Mayer had 4.9, and Dalton Kincaid had 5.7.
He is an average run-blocker; PFF graded him 55.9 in 2021 (the only time in his career he had an opportunity to block more than 30 times). He certainly has the frame to be a force as a blocker, but he’ll need more reps to succeed at the pro level.
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Courtesy of NFL Mock Draft Database.
Musgrave is on the borderline of first and second-round value, but he’s leaning more toward being a second-round pick. It would be nice to see him have first-round capital, but tight ends can overcome draft capital better than most other positions. Only two of my top 10 dynasty tight ends were first-round picks (Kyle Pitts and T.J. Hockenson).
Several high-profile mock drafts have pushed Musgrave up into the first round. Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network and Lance Zierlein of NFL.com have him being picked at 28 by the Cincinnati Bengals. Pauline says of the pick, “It’s a pleasant situation for the Bengals where need meets BPA at pick 28. Luke Musgrave is a legitimate downfield threat at tight end and can work the middle of the field, which will further open things up for Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins on the outside.” Irv Smith Jr. is the top tight end for the Bengals right now; they also just brought back Drew Sample. A tight end is a huge need, and Cincinnati would be a great landing spot for Musgrave.
Musgrave has had a top-30 visit with at least the Broncos, Giants, Jets, and Bills.
DLF ADP has Luke Musgrave as the 20th tight end drafted in one-quarterback leagues, 167.33 overall. That puts him in the 14th round of startup dynasty drafts. ADP has him being drafted below Trey McBride, Juwan Johnson, and Dawson Knox. That feels like a good spot for now, but it could change if his draft capital ends up being in the first round.
In rookie drafts, Musgrave is being picked at pick 30.3 overall as the 4th tight end off the board. I would be very comfortable taking him in the late-second round or early third and ahead of Darnell Washington and maybe even Michael Mayer.
In a recent DLF Staff Rookie Mock Draft, he was drafted with the eighth pick of the third round by Ryan McDowell as the fourth tight end off the board. McDowell said of the pick, “2022 was a rough season for Musgrave, who missed all but two games due to injuries. He still has a chance to be a first-round NFL Draft pick and maybe even the first tight end selected. He is a beast at 6’6″ and over 250 pounds. As an expected top-50 pick, Musgrave would be a value this late in the third round of rookie drafts.” I agree with McDowell; that’s a really excellent value!
I believe that Luke Musgrave could have a slow start to his NFL career, but most tight ends do in their rookie years. He could need extra time to transition because of his lack of reps at the college level. I will not be surprised at all if he ends up having the best fantasy football career of all of the 2023 tight ends. Since this class is considered one of the best in recent memory, I believe he’s a great value at his ADP. You’re betting on his traits, especially his size and speed, but it’s a bet you should be taking.
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