Cole Hikutini, TE
School: Louisville | Conference: ACC
College Experience: Senior | Age: 23
Height / Weight: 6-5 / 248 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 4th Round or 5th Round
NFL Comparison: Zach Ertz
I’m not exactly sure how Cole Hikutini is still under the radar but it appears he is. Maybe it has something to do with his absence from the Senior Bowl? Maybe people don’t like the spread offense he played in at Louisville? Maybe some view other TE prospects as more physically impressive and polished? Taking into account all the TE talent in this year’s draft class Hikutini still impresses me as a potential mid-round selection. Hikutini has the size, athleticism, and receiving skills to be a real threat as a move TE lined up on the outside or slot. He is also good enough blocker that you can keep him inline in a traditional formation and have him do damage there. If Hikutini gets an invite to the scouting combine I don’t think he’s going to be under the radar for much longer.
- Natural receiving threat with reliable hands and versatility. He is a threat lined up on the line of scrimmage or split out wide with the ability to stretch the field.
- Good athlete with great initial quickness despite the lack of long range speed and burst.
- An effective blocker with the ability to latch on with good strength, technique, and fundamentals to move a man. Also very good at cut blocks.
- Doesn't have any elite traits most notably great or elite breakaway speed or acceleration.
- Was left open a lot in college due to other threats on Louisville’s offense, unanswered questions on how well he can compete against press coverage or fight for 50/50 balls.
Let’s see his work:
#NCAAFB Louisville Football: 10 NFL Teams That Should Draft Cole Hikutini https://t.co/L5QVYKjUJQ pic.twitter.com/wAEbCDoMCK— Coach Billy Carson (@CoachCarson) December 21, 2016
ESPN's Mel Kiper says Louisville senior TE Cole Hikutini "could be a steal in the third or fourth round."
Hikutini is relatively unknown at the moment, even on the showtime Cardinals, because of his eclectic past. He arrived in Louisville via Sacramento State and City College of San Francisco. Hikutini caught six passes for 118 yards and a touchdown in Saturday's win over NC State, looking like a natural as a receiver. "Hikutini is athletic, can run after the catch and creates separation late in routes," Kiper wrote. He could be a key cog in an NFL passing offense." - Rotoworld
No surprise here: UofL's Lamar Jackson named first team AP All-American. His next goal: teach Cole Hikutini to do the Lamar Leap pic.twitter.com/wM3tUFmL9Q— John Lewis WDRB (@JohnWDRB) December 12, 2016
Looks like Marcus Maye, Jarrad Davis and Cole Hikutini are others not on Senior Bowl rosters after previously accepting invites— Justin Higdon (@afc2nfc) January 18, 2017
It still blows my mind how @colehikutini_07 didn't win Tight End of the year. Numbers don't lie explain this? @KirkHerbstreit @ESPNCFB pic.twitter.com/TLQiSdIgoa— Kamboni (@TheReal_Kamboni) December 20, 2016
How He Would Fit On The Redskins
Hikutini offers a lot of value in the pass game as a receiving target and isn’t half bad as a blocker. A lot of questions remain on how well he will translate to the pro’s and perhaps some hesitation regarding bumping up his draft status at least right now is due to him not being a main focus for defenses while at Lousiville. As much as I like Hikutini I’d say the real value the Redskins are looking for is in the blocking game. While he is no slouch there he isn’t the best either and no team should place him in that role where his talents as a receiver aren't used.
The Redskins could use him especially with the uncertain futures of Vernon Davis and Nile Paul but don’t run many two TE sets or make use of the duel receiving threats they had last year and arguably the year before with the addition of Derek Carrier. Hikutini is an interesting prospect I just have my doubts about how the team would use him.