Breaking down the top tight ends for the 2022 NFL Draft

Breaking down the top tight ends for the 2022 NFL Draft

NFL Draft Profile: Isaiah Likely, Tight End, Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

NFL draft profile scouting report for Coastal Carolina tight end, Isaiah Likely
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#4
Pos: TE
Ht: 6040
Wt: 240
DOB: 4/18/_
Eligible: 2022
Cambridge, MA
Everett High School

Isaiah Likely
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers


Pros:

Leinweber: Displaying his versatility in the Chanticleers offense, Likely lines up out wide, in-line and at H-back. He is fast, threatening linebackers vertically up the seam and even finding success on go routes out wide. His ankle flexion allows him to adjust angles at high speeds and sink his hips to create separation on speed cuts. Likely uses his head to manipulate defenders in his route running. He tracks the ball very well in the air. After the catch, Likely can make the occasional tackler miss. As a blocker, he maintains a wide base and shows good play strength to compete with bigger defenders. Likely drives smaller defenders in space.

Ezring: In recent years, NFL offenses have begun to actively seek out versatile mismatch players to exploit defenses. Coastal Carolina’s Isaiah Likely lines up in-line, in the slot and at wideout. The athletic tight end boasts excellent burst, impressive straight-line speed and clean change of direction ability. In his releases, Likely employs hard jab steps while dipping his shoulder to reduce pressable surface area. The former wide receiver uses his hands to keep contact off his frame while working up the route stem. He also practices body fakes to force early hip turns. At the top of his route, Likely separates both with physicality and jab steps to lure defensive backs into mistakes. He typically gets onto opponents’ toes before sinking his hips and making sudden cuts on soft-breaking routes. The Chanticleers’ star is a hands catcher who tracks the ball well. The All-Sun Belt tight end is fairly reliable catching through contact and exhibits impressive body control. With the ball in his hands, Likely is creative and shifty, juking and even hurdling opponents. Moreover, he displays impressive contact balance and power to run through arm tackles. As a blocker, the Massachusetts native has the movement skills to get to space and mirror. He maintains a wide base into engagement. Further, Likely drives his legs through contact which helps him generate a push and closes distance on longer opponents. When he uses leverage properly, the all-conference pass-catcher plays with reasonable power.

Cons:

Leinweber: Likely struggles to take tight breaks as a route runner, being slow to decelerate. He fails to maximize his speed, not running on the toes of off coverage defenders. His hands are early downfield, allowing opponents to adjust for the ball. Likely does not attack the ball in the air aggressively. He can whiff at the point of attack as a blocker.

Ezring: An intriguing pass-catching specialist, Coastal Carolina’s standout tight end is not pro-ready. First and foremost, the former wide receiver appears smaller than his listed 240 pounds. On the field, the all-conference pass-catcher regularly takes false steps out of his stance. What’s more, Likely does not consistently practice route salesmanship up and at the top of his route stems. Moreover, the talented tight end occasionally loses speed out of sharp breaks. Further, Likely exhibits improper spatial awareness as a route runner. He both calls for the ball when he is not open and runs out of bounds on extended plays. Additionally, the Chanticleers’ star displays underwhelming physicality at the catch point. As a blocker, Likely often looks lost when tasked with working to space. He takes poor angles to engagement and consistently oversets, allowing his opponents to redirect him. He also has middling play strength which enables defenders to control him once they land hands on his frame. Conversely, he rarely displaces defenders with his initial shot. The developing tight end struggles to sustain blocks thanks to his incomplete understanding of leverage and tendency to engage with late and inaccurate hands. Finally, Likely has very little experience against high-level competition and played through an undisclosed foot injury in 2020 before undergoing surgery to recover in the offseason.

Summary:

Leinweber: Athletic tight end who can be moved all over the formation. Likely creates separation with speed cuts and wins downfield, taking advantage of his very good speed. He has small mistakes to iron out as a runner that could take his game as a receiver to the next level. Likely projects as a receiving tight end who still has a lot of untapped potential and could become a starting-caliber player. Early on, he needs to be a special teams contributor and garner occasional targets on vertical routes between the 20’s. Unless he improves his ability to win in the air, Likely will not be a redzone target.

Ezring: A possible riser in 2021, NFL teams will find Isaiah Likely’s athleticism, potential and versatility as a pass-catcher and blocker intriguing. Still, Likely must refine his game and improve as a blocker before he can find consistent success in the NFL. The talented tight end can contribute on special teams while he develops. He is an early backup with high-level starter potential.

Background:

Born April 18th in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Isaiah Likely was a standout wide receiver at Everett High School. The talented pass-catcher caught 59 passes for 917 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior. A testament to his on-field impact, the school won 19 consecutive games including back-to-back championships during his tenure. In Likely’s senior year, Everett was the top-ranked team in Massachusetts and had the state’s best offense. The team won the Division 1 Super Bowl Championship. In recognition of his stellar career, Likely was named to the Massachusetts Prep Stars. Moreover, he was made a First String Performance All-State Gridiron Super Team third-teamer. A widely unknown recruit, Likely was not listed by 247Sports Composite Rankings. 247Sports Rankings, though, gave him a two-star rating. The same service ranked him the 172nd-best athlete in his class and the 11th-overall recruit from Massachusetts that year. Despite his low profile as a high schooler, Likely was an instant impact player for the Chanticleers. He played in all 12 games, now at tight end, and even tied for the team lead with five touchdown receptions. He also recorded 12 catches for 106 yards. The former wide receiver was named to the 2018-2019 Sun Belt Conference Academic Honor Roll. What’s more, he was a member of the Phil Steele Preseason Sun Belt All-Conference Fourth Team for his sophomore season. Likely broke out in 2019. He played in all twelve games and started six (all at tight end). On the year, he ranked among the top Sun Belt tight ends with 32 receptions, 431 receiving yards and his team-leading five touchdowns. After the season, the Massachusetts native was placed on the Phil Steele Sun Belt Conference All-Conference Second Team, the All-Sun Belt Third Team and the John Mackey Award Watch List. Further, he earned a spot on the President’s List in the 2020 spring semester, an honor given to students with 4.0 GPAs. Before his junior season, the athletic tight end was named to the Athlon Sports Preseason All-Sun Belt Second Team, the Phil Steele Preseason Sun Belt Conference All-Conference Third Team and the Preseason All-Sun Belt Second Team. Likely continued his strong career at Coastal Carolina in 2020, appearing in 11 of 12 games despite sustaining an undisclosed foot injury (that would eventually require surgery) early in the year. His 601 receiving yards were eighth in the Sun Belt and first among Sun Belt tight ends. He also recorded 30 receptions and five receiving touchdowns. After the season, Likely was selected to the All-Sun Belt First Team, Phil Steele Sun Belt Conference All-Conference First Team and Pro Football Focus Focus All-America Second Team. The academic standout made Dean’s List, reserved for students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher, in the fall of 2020 and the spring of 2021. One of the nation’s top tight ends, the Everett product received several honors before his senior year. Likely was named to the Athlon Sports Preseason All-Sun Belt First Team, the Phil Steele Preseason Sun Belt Conference All-Conference First Team, the Preseason All-Sun Belt First Team, the College Football America Yearbook’s Preseason Group of 5 Starting Lineup, the College Football America Yearbook’s Preseason Dream Team Starting Lineup, the Pro Football Focus College Football Preseason All-Sun Belt First Team and the Pro Football Focus College Football Preseason All-American Third Team. Additionally, he was placed on the 2021 Biletnikoff Award Preseason Watch List (awarded to the nation’s top receiver) and the John Mackey Award Preseason Watch List (awarded to the nation’s top tight end). 


One-Liners

Leinweber: Athletic and versatile tight end who still has plenty of untapped potential. Projects as a vertical target.

Ezring: An athletic tight end whose versatility and potential will appeal to NFL teams, Isaiah Likely can contribute as a seam threat and special teamer while he refines his game.

Grades

Current Player Value/Potential Player Value

Leinweber: 6.9 / 7.9

Ezring: 7.1 / 8.5


#4
Pos: TE
Ht: 6040
Wt: 240
DOB: 4/18/_
Eligible: 2022
Cambridge, MA
Everett High School

Isaiah Likely
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers


Pros:

Leinweber: Displaying his versatility in the Chanticleers offense, Likely lines up out wide, in-line and at H-back. He is fast, threatening linebackers vertically up the seam and even finding success on go routes out wide. His ankle flexion allows him to adjust angles at high speeds and sink his hips to create separation on speed cuts. Likely uses his head to manipulate defenders in his route running. He tracks the ball very well in the air. After the catch, Likely can make the occasional tackler miss. As a blocker, he maintains a wide base and shows good play strength to compete with bigger defenders. Likely drives smaller defenders in space.

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