2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Sam LaPorta

  • Sam LaPorta, 6-3/245

  • Tight End

  • Iowa

  • Sam LaPorta Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

  • Good receiving tight end
  • Weapon down the middle seam
  • Too quick and athletic for most linebackers & safeties
  • Sideline skills; good toe tapping
  • Soft, natural hands
  • High points the football
  • Quickness as a route-runner
  • Has blocking ability
  • Improved blocking
  • Hands catcher
  • Route-running
  • Red-zone threat
  • Mismatch weapon
  • Unafraid across the middle
  • Run-after-the-catch skills
  • Finds the soft spots in zone
  • Three-down tight end potential
  • Upside

  • Weaknesses:
  • Lacks elite speed
  • Decent, but not a great, athlete
  • Not overly physical as a blocker

  • Summary: Iowa has produced a lot of quality tight ends for the NFL under Kirk Ferentz, and that tradition will continue with LaPorta. He saw the field as a freshman in 2019, making 15 catches for 188 yards. In the shortened 2020 season, LaPorta played well with 27 receptions for 271 yards and a score. He then made 53 catches for 670 yards and three touchdowns in 2021. LaPorta closed out his career with 58 receptions for 657 yards and a touchdown in 2022.

    LaPorta had a great combine performance, running well and putting together a superb field workout. He showed excellent route-running, hands, and smooth movement skills.

    In the passing-driven NFL, teams are looking for tight ends who can be dangerous receivers, and LaPorta illustrated that potential across his career. He is a real weapon in the passing game who runs excellent routes and has the quickness to get downfield quickly. LaPorta shows reliable hands and is superb at securing the football. He does a very good job of making leaping, contested catches and hanging onto the football while getting hit in the air. Routinely, LaPorta uses his size, hands, and leaping ability to make receptions over safeties. He is just too big for them to cover him.

    Even tough LaPorta isn’t ultra fast or uber-athletic, he still shows some run-after-the-catch skills. LaPorta has deceptive speed and can really hurt defenses going down the middle seam. He is also adept at finding the soft spots in zone and getting open for his quarterback.

    While receiving tight ends are in demand, offensive coordinators love three-down tight ends who are capable blockers beyond serving as receivers. LaPorta was a decent blocker for Iowa over the last two years. He isn’t a force in the ground game, but he isn’t a liability. LaPorta’s run blocking was improved as a senior, and he showed more desire, attitude, and fight as a blocker in 2022. Just having thr desire to block is a big part of what teams are looking for.

    As a run blocker, LaPorta gets in good position and engages his defenders. He could use more strength to sustain his blocks longer because defenders can get off his blocks quickly. At the point of attack, LaPorta doesn’t really pack a punch. He does a nice job contributing to double teams on edge rushers. There are also plays where LaPorta does a nice job of using his athleticism to get position to stop speed rushers off the edge.

    For the NFL, LaPorta should be a three-down starter who is a good receiver and quality blocker. He could be an excellent weapon in the red zone with his receiving and blocking skills. In the 2023 NFL Draft, LaPorta is sleeper who could be an excellent value pick. Some team sources said they think LaPorta has an outside shot of sneaking into the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, but other sources think LaPorta definitely belongs on the second day of the draft.

    Player Comparison: Zach Ertz. LaPorta reminds me of Ertz. Both are natural receivers with good hands, run-after-the-catch ability, and functional blocking. Ertz was a second-day pick in his draft class, and LaPorta could go on Day 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft.


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