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Can Dylan Cantrell improve Washington’s tight end corps?

Hogs Haven takes a deeper dive into the back end of the roster

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers-Training Camp Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This is the first in an occasional series looking more deeply at relatively unknown players on the back end of the WFT roster who may end up contributing in the coming year.

Dylan Cantrell, TE
School: Texas Tech
Height / Weight: 6’3” / 226 lbs

Draft Status: Taken by the Chargers in the 6th round of the 2018 draft

College Statistics

Player Overview

Dylan Cantrell was a fairly prolific receiver in Texas Tech’s “Air Raid” offense in college, wracking up nearly 1,500 yards and 15 TDs in his final two years in school, but it appears - though he was drafted by the Chargers in 2016 - he was too slow to make it as a wide receiver in the pros. After spending time with the Chargers, he did stints with the Cardinals and Patriots, but couldn’t stick in either location.

In what appears to be an emerging pattern (see also: Logan Thomas & Tyrone Swoopes), Cantrell was signed to Washington’s practice squad with the plan being to transform him into a tight end. Cantrell’s 40 speed of 4.44 would have made him the fastest tight end in last year’s Combine. His 3-cone (6.56) and shuttle (4.03) would have been the fastest speeds by a mile. Alternatively, he would have been 14 lbs lighter than the lightest TE there, and his height would have put him at the bottom of the group.

Can Cantrell put on 5-10 lbs and make it as a “move” tight end in the NFL? Even as a wide receiver, he was noted for his blocking prowess. We’ll have to see if Pete Hoener can work his magic again in 2021, and salvage the career of another incredibly athletic talent caught playing out of position. For me, I watch the film below and see simply too much talent for this guy not to have a shot at the TE2 or TE3 position on this roster. I can’t wait to see Fitzy throwing him some jump balls.

Strengths

  • Able to make contested catches.
  • Top notch blocker (as a WR).
  • Familiar with running a sophisticated route tree.
  • Has hands like a gecko and good body control.

Weaknesses

  • Can have trouble separating (as a WR).
  • Slow for a WR, relatively fast for a TE.
  • Lacks explosiveness.
  • Has had some injury issues in the past (2015 & 2016).

Let’s See His Work

As one final exercise, let’s look at Cantrell’s key athleticism metrics compared to another late blooming tight end in the league. Can you guess who Player A is?

Player A:

  • Drafted out of college as a WR, converted to TE in year 5.
  • Did virtually nothing for 4 years and then exploded in his fifth.
  • Hand size: 9”
  • 40 time: 4.46
  • Vertical: 37”
  • Bench: 12 reps
  • Broad Jump: 125”

Player B (Cantrell):

  • Drafted out of college as a WR, converted to TE in year 4.
  • Did virtually nothing for 3 years....
  • Hand size: 9.25”
  • 40 time: 4.44
  • Vertical: 41”
  • Bench: 18 reps
  • Broad Jump: 135”

Additional vignettes on players at the back end of the roster can be found here.

Poll

Do you think Dylan Cantrell will make Washington’s 2021 53-man roster?

This poll is closed

  • 69%
    Yes
    (437 votes)
  • 30%
    No
    (189 votes)
626 votes total Vote Now