Dalton Keene Overview
Position: Tight End
Weight: 253 Pounds
School: Virginia Tech
NFL Combine Performance Data
40-Yard Dash: 4.71 Seconds
Bench Press: 21 Reps
Vertical Jump: 34″
Broad Jump: 125″
3-Cone Drill: 7.07 Seconds
20-yard Shuttle: 4.19 Seconds
Dalton Keene 2020 NFL Draft Profile
Dalton Keene moved from Colorado to Virginia to play on long-time family friend and Virginia Tech’s Defensive Coordinator Bud Foster’s team. He is a natural workhorse at whatever he does, resulting in a starting role in his true freshman year. After netting only 10 receptions in his debut season, Keene yielded 28 in 2018 – three for touchdowns – and an All-ACC honorable mention.
In 2019, Keene would catch only 21 passes, but he showed incredible pop in a 73-yard, three-touchdown victory over Miami (FL). Against North Carolina he would expand to an experimental H-back role, receiving seven handoffs for 25-yards. The two games were highlights for his collegiate career, showing a willingness to do whatever is needed to win. There is raw potential in the form of a multi-dimensional H-back position that will interest scouts who want to develop on a raw athlete.
- Extremely versatile: Runs like a running back, size of a tight end, and hands of a receiver;
- Tenacious work ethic;
- Will catch and go over the top of cornerbacks;
- Has the ability to make space with downfield blocking;
- Has athleticism to continue to refine skill set.
- Thinner frame that may not equate to blocking in the NFL;
- Needs to refine technical skills on exterior passing routes;
- Needs to refine his ability in open field positioning;
- Was never put on special teams;
- Has trouble creating open passing lanes.
NFL Comparison: Cameron Brate
Projection: Seventh Round
Bottom Line on Dalton Keene
Scouts who want to take a flier on a player with an incredible work ethic that simultaneously offers H-back creativity in the backfield will take a look at Keene on day three. He needs to fit into a specific system that has a role for him, so it won’t be a surprise if a team waits to draft him as some teams simply have no interest. The biggest concern is not his skill – he has the athleticism to mold into a better technical receiver – but his frame. He had moments where he bowled over opposing cornerbacks, but without more thickness, he may run into trouble with interior NFL.
Which brings up another problem: Keene is a tight end better suited for outside zone runs, blocking in the open field, or exterior passing outside of traffic. He struggles creating open space due to a limited route tree. However, he has very little problem with dropping balls and will go up and over any linebacker or cornerback covering him. He has no fear of contact, and a year of work in the NFL could turn him into a versatile weapon.