Indianapolis — Rutgers tight end Tyler Kroft is a unique prospect at the 2015 NFL Combine. He is a tight end that played wide receiver in high school and made the transition to a new position while learning four different playbooks. Kroft is going to be a fine pro that teams will love. He has strong family ties and values which have a strong influence on his off the field personality.
The thing that scouts like a lot about Kroft is his versatility. He is comfortable playing in line or in space. “This year I was used in line a lot more. I am comfortable playing in line.” Kroft continued; “I found my comfort zone there but I am more than happy to play wherever someone wants me to play. I have some experience in the slot, flexed out and as I said in line. I am comfortable with it all.”
As mentioned earlier, he had to learn four offenses during his college career. That is something that he says has helped him develop the ability to pick up offenses quickly. The scouts will like his knowledge of the game because as he says; “I am reliable, I know my job. That really helps me, especially with finding holes in defenses. I have a strong work ethic also. You always catch me in the weight room, doing extra tape.”
There have been questions about his drop off in production this past year. That can be attributed to a new offensive coordinator and a role shift from years in the past years. Some will point to his numbers and say that he isn’t talented. Kroft has an answer for that. “I know numbers are a big deal in what we do but if you put in the tape you’ll see how far I came in one year as far as being a complete tight end and not just a pass catcher.”
Kroft leaves Rutgers after completing his red shirt junior season. He was in school for four years and only has 12 credits left before he gets his degree in Communications with a minor in Economics. Kroft says that the focus will be on his rookie season this spring but he is committed to going back and getting his degree after he completes his first year in the NFL.
The decision to come out early came after evaluating his game film and looking at the other tight ends in the draft class. He saw that a lot of people felt that this is a weaker tight end class and he felt that he stacked up well against the competition. It was only after consulting with his family that he made the final decision to enter the draft. “I am really close with my family and made the decision to come out with them. We took a step back and evaluated the pros vs the cons. As a unit we came to a decision to come out even though the draft advisory committee said to stay in school.”
Playing in the NFL is something that Kroft dreamed about. He first started playing football when he was five years old. It was always important to him to play football. He knew early on that it was what he wanted to do.
Kroft recently faced some adversity that made it even more important for him to excel at the sport that he and his family loved. He shared something that he had to go through this past season. “My aunt who I was very close with passed away this year from breast cancer.” Kroft said; “That was a tough couple of months, especially when it happened. It was towards the end of the season. We kind of knew it was coming and it was not easy seeing that. When it was happening, it really motivated me to play harder.”
The experience helped him draw closer to his family and even closer to his teammates. He relied on them to help him to stay focused during the tough time. Kroft said that his aunt always watched him play. She always wanted him to do his best so he didn’t want to let her down by having a bad game.
He is very tight with his family and frequently went home to spend time with them. Rutgers is only just over an hour away from his hometown of Downingtown, Pennsylvania. The visits where more frequent as his aunt concluded her fight with breast cancer.
Being in the NFL is a privilege to Tyler Kroft. He wants to stick around for a while. One of the tight ends that he always liked and tried to emulate is Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten. That’s ironic for a kid that is from a small town that is 30 minutes west of Philadelphia. Most Eagles fans hate the Cowboys.
Kroft said that the way Witten has played at a high level for so long is what stood out to him. He wants a long, successful career like Witten’s. Another thing that he admires about Witten is that there are never any character concerns that can be directed his way. Kroft feels that he is a similar case of being reliable off of the field. “You don’t have to worry about anything bad happening with me off the field. That is something that I take pride in.”
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