The NFL Draft is behind us, rookie drafts are taking place, and as dynasty managers, we are looking ahead to the upcoming season. In our Dynasty Rookie Post-Draft Update series, we break down all the incoming fantasy-relevant rookies, looking at their profiles and where they fit. The basis of the rookie profile involves the usage of STORM analysis, focusing on five key components: Situation, Talent, Opportunity, Risk, and Market.
Name: Luke Schoonmaker
Position: Tight End
Pro Team: Dallas Cowboys
College Team: Michigan
Draft Status: Round two, 58 overall
Luke Schoonmaker was a relatively unknown name until late into the draft process. In the days leading up to the drafts, there was some suggestion that he could be a high day-three pick. However, very few people expected him to end up as a day two selection to a team with a potential question mark at the position, profiling as a safe and solid option that does many things well but nothing exceptionally. The second round felt like somewhat of a reach.
However, the Cowboys require a reliable Tight End, having lost Dalton Schultz in free agency. The team has three potential options at the position, adding Peyton Hendershot and Jake Ferguson last year. Schoonmaker is the player with the most invested, having been a second-round pick, but time will tell whether he can work his way up the depth chart and carve out a fantasy-relevant role.
Luke Schoonmaker Combine Results:
Height: 6′ 5″
Weight: 251 lbs
Arm: 32 ⅞”
40-Yard Dash: 4.63 seconds
10-Yard Split: 1.59 seconds
Vertical Jump: 33.5″
Broad Jump: 10′ 7″
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.27 seconds
As an Athlete, there are some great points and some significant concerns. Possessing prototypical size at the position, the former Wolverine impressed in the broad jump with a 95th percentile jump. However, he disappointed slightly with a 56th percentile broad jump. Athletically his closest comparison is George Kittle, who is not a bad player to be compared to.
The most significant concern about Schoonmaker is his hands. Despite being 6’5″ tall, he has only 9-inch hands. That’s a 3rd percentile mark and could go some way to explain his troubles in contested catch situations.
Opportunities for a rookie tight end are often challenging to predict. The position is notoriously slow to transition in the league because of the complexity of learning essentially two positions. Schoonmaker has the opportunity to carve out a significant role immediately. He will likely compete with 2022 fourth-round pick Jake Ferguson for playing time. Although the Cowboys utilized more than one Tight End on 28% of offensive plays last year, providing some hope that he could see the field in multiple Tight End sets from the start of the season.
Should Schoonmaker carve out a role at tight end, he will see significant target competition from CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks, Michael Gallup, and Tony Pollard. It may be 2024 before he can carve out enough of a target share to be a fantasy-relevant option.
Tight end production in college is difficult to assess with any great confidence. Unproductive college players can become NFL stars when they are utilized correctly and vice versa. Schoonmaker never truly broke out at Michigan, failing to command three receptions per game across any of his four seasons. He is not an explosive athlete after the catch or an elite red zone target, so he will likely need to rely on volume to be consistently fantasy relevant. That volume may be challenging in the Cowboy’s offense, where he is, at best, fifth on the list of targets. He is also a below-average route runner at the position and struggles in contested catch situations which will likely cause issues in the NFL.
Schoonmaker is coming off the board in the third round of rookie drafts as the fifth tight end. That feels far too rich when you consider his profile and position. Tight ends traditionally take time to develop into fantasy-relevant players. Particularly given the competition Schoonmaker is facing within his offense and own tight end room for targets, fantasy relevancy will likely be a year or two away at best. If true, his value will likely decrease over the next 12 months before any potential increase.
If you’re tight end needy in a rookie draft, you should be trading for an established option at the position rather than a third-round dart throw. There is also a much higher chance that the running backs and wide receivers around Schoonmaker flash some relevancy and return on the investment sooner. I would be more comfortable spending a fourth-round pick on the former Wolverine than spending up in the third round.
Schoonmaker has some positive traits and lands on an offense with a history of fantasy relevancy out of the tight end position. However, it is hard to see how he can command enough of a target share early in his career to warrant fantasy relevancy and, therefore, an increase in his value.
Yes, there is a world where he could be a lottery ticket that pays off, but for me, he will be a roster clogger whose value will only decrease over the next two years. I would instead swing for the fences with a player at another position like Deuce Vaughn, Tank Dell, or Kayshon Boutte. They are all boom-bust options but have a higher chance of hitting soon than Schoonmaker.