2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Ja’Tavion Sanders




  • Ja’Tavion Sanders, 6-4/243
  • Tight End
  • Texas

Ja’Tavion Sanders Scouting Report

By Charlie Campbell

Strengths:

  • Receiving tight end potential
  • Smooth route-runner
  • Quick out of breaks
  • Enough speed to get open
  • Can create separation
  • Good feel as a receiver
  • Nice hands
  • Reliable to make catches in traffic
  • Willing to go across the middle
  • Effective as an underneath receiver
  • Quality yards-after-the-catch skills
  • Works the seam
  • Can make receptions over tight coverage

Weaknesses:

  • Needs to improve as a blocker
  • Could stand to add strength to sustain blocks

Prospect Summary:

Sanders came out of nowhere in 2022 to be one of the most effective tight ends in college football. In 2021, he was a backup and special teams contributor, but as a sophomore, he was a weapon for the Longhorns, catching 54 passes for 614 yards and five touchdowns. He had huge games against West Virginia and Oklahoma, showing playmaking potential. Sanders stayed consistent in 2023 with 45 receptions for 682 yards and two touchdowns. He was clutch in helping Texas get a win over Alabama in the second week of the season. The Longhorns had a talented offense with a variety of weapons, so they spread the ball around to other early-round talents like Xavier Worthy, Adonai Mitchell and Jonathon Brooks.

As a receiver, Sanders can do a lot to help his offense. He is a quick route-runner with fluid athleticism to get open in the middle of the field. Sanders has the speed to get down the seam and accelerate to find soft spots in zone coverage. With excellent body control and agility, Sanders makes difficult catches, routinely using his big body to box out defensive backs and make leaping grabs over them. Sanders shows no fear of safeties and despite knowing that big hits are coming, he will still leave his feet to make acrobatic aerial catches. Sanders is a definite mismatch weapon who will be an asset to make receptions in the end zone over defensive backs.

Sanders flashes some run-after-the-catch ability. As a pro, he should be an excellent safety outlet for his quarterback to throw the ball up to him when they get in trouble.

Sanders is not a big tight end, so he could have limitations as a blocker in the NFL. Improving his blocking and being capable of producing draws will be points of emphasis for his pro coaching.

In the 2024 NFL Draft, Sanders could go as high as the second round. He probably won’t go lower than Round 3.

Prospect Comparison:

Jonnu Smith. Like Smith, Sanders is a smooth route-runner with quickness to separate. They also are similarly sized and possess limitations as blockers. Smith (6-3, 248) is a solid contributing receiving tight end for Tennessee, and Sanders could end up as a similar pro. Smith was a late third-round pick in 2017, and Sanders could also go in Round 3 this year in the 2024 NFL Draft.





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