East TE – Leonard Taylor, Cincinnati (6-5, 255)
It’s a great year to need a tight end with the top-end talent and depth of the position throughout the 2023 NFL Draft. Due to that talent, there will likely be NFL-caliber tight ends who go undrafted, one such player is Leonard Taylor.
A former Top 300 recruit, Taylor played quarterback and defensive line in high school before making the move to tight end for the Bearcats. With Josiah Deguara (third-round pick of the Green Bay Packers in 2020) starting during his first two seasons with the program and Senior Bowl bound teammate Josh Whyle starting the following three, Taylor carved out a role as a predominantly blocking tight end.
Despite never being the go-to tight end, Taylor managed to catch 69 passes for 697 yards and 8 TDs at Cincinnati leaning on strong hands and enough wiggle to separate at the top of routes. With his size and willingness to block, Taylor played a lot lining up everywhere from in-line to H-back to slot receiver in his five years.
Taylor would have started at many programs in college football but elected to stay at Cincinnati and be a contributor to some of the most successful teams in school history. A big week at the Shrine Bowl could help him become more than a priority undrafted free agent in April.