C.J. Conrad 2019 NFL Draft Profile

ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 01: Kentucky tight end C.J. Conrad (87) during the first half of the Citrus Bowl between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Penn State Nittany Lions on January 01, 2019, at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL. (Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Overview
Position: Tight end                                                                                                   Height: 6’4                                                                                                       Weight: 249 pounds                                                                                              School: Kentucky Wildcats

C.J. Conrad 2019 NFL Draft Profile

C.J. Conrad heads to the NFL Draft following a very successful career at Kentucky. Coming out of Keystone High School in LaGrange, OH, Conrad rated as a four-star recruit. Recruited by Vince Marrow, Conrad chose the Wildcats over Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, and Ole Miss. He was the eighth-best tight end in the 2015 class and 11th overall player in the state of Ohio. Conrad ended his high school career with 180 receptions for 2,436 yards and 32 touchdowns. In addition, he returned two punts for scores.

At Kentucky, Conrad played in 49 games with 42 starts. For his career, he totaled 80 catches for 1,015 yards and 12 touchdowns. His number of scores ranks second in school history for tight ends behind James Whalen‘s 13. He led all SEC freshmen tight ends with 15 catches for 149 yards. During his sophomore season, Conrad finished fourth on the team with 19 receptions for 262 yards and four touchdowns. However, three of the scores came in one game against New Mexico State.

During Conrad’s junior season he suffered a season-ending foot injury against Georgia. Despite missing almost half the year, Conrad finished second in receiving yards with 286. His senior year, he racked up the best stats of his career with quarterback Terry Wilson. Conrad recorded 30 receptions for 318 yards and three touchdowns.

Strengths

  • Very good run blocking tight end at the line of scrimmage;
  • Runs smooth routes;
  • Has great size;
  • Can also line up a fullback if needed;
  • Good pass catcher despite not being a focal part of the Kentucky offense.

Weaknesses

  • Can be injury prone;
  • Doesn’t have elite athleticism;
  • May not be able to routinely beat man coverage;
  • Not the fastest player;
  • Downfield blocking is a concern.

NFL Comparison: Tyler Eifert

Teams With Need at Position: Cincinnati Bengals; Kansas City Chiefs; New York Jets; Jacksonville JaguarsAtlanta Falcons; Detroit Lions

Draft Projection: Fourth round

Bottom Line

As one of the captains on the best Kentucky team in 41 years, Conrad was a team leader. To many True Blue fans’ dismay, Conrad was never a focal point of the offense. However, whenever his number was called he always answered in a big way. Conrad’s blocking ability is a big reason why Benny Snell became the school’s all-time leading rusher.

By all accounts, Conrad showed a lot of promise in the practices leading up to the East-West Shrine Game. However, he ended up not playing in the game due to a shoulder injury, which as mentioned earlier is his biggest weakness.

Unfortunately for Conrad, he didn’t get a chance to chance to show what he can do at the NFL Combine. During his physical, medical personnel discovered a heart issue. Media reports call it an issue with a heart valve, causing an irregular heartbeat. As a result, he was sent home from the Combine unable to participate. Conrad stated he is getting a second opinion and hopes to be ready for Kentucky’s pro day on March 22nd.

This is one of the better drafts in recent memory for tight ends with Noah Fant, T.J. Hockenson and Jace Sternberger among the elite. As a result, Conrad ranks just below those guys but should turn out to be a second or third-day steal for whoever drafts him. Hopefully, doctors will get his medical issues worked out. Conrad can be a player with a solid NFL career.

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Kevin lives in Lexington, Kentucky with his wife Dr. Rachel McGuffey and two kids Ryan and Mary Beth. He can be heard talking SEC Football On The Hill with Pat Jenkins and with Mark Rogers of Mark Rogers TV. He also is a contributor to the Hey Kentucky program that airs on WLEX-TV in Lexington. He is a fan of Kentucky football and basketball along with the Cincinnati Reds and Bengals, Green Bay Packers and Golden State Warriors. He can be reached via Twitter @KevinMcGuffey

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