Sam Laporta NFL Draft Overview
Position: Tight End
Weight: 249 pounds
2023 NFL Draft: Sam Laporta Scouting Report
After spending his college year at Iowa, tight end Sam Laporta has officially declared for the 2023 NFL Draft. The Big Ten veteran finished his collegiate career on a high note, recording a career-high 58 targets for 657 yards and one touchdown in 12 games.
Like most tight ends, Laporta needed some time to adjust to the bigger, stronger world of college football. Laporta recorded just 15 receptions for 188 yards as a freshman and followed that up with 27 receptions for 271 yards and a touchdown in 2020. He broke out in his Junior year, finishing the 2021 campaign with 53 receptions for 670 yards and three touchdowns while playing in 14 games.
- Insanely hard to tackle after the catch – sheds defenders without thinking twice;
- Shows an ability to beat press coverage against stronger opponents;
- Moves all around the formation – versatile chess piece that can be unlocked by the right offensive coordinator;
- Proved he can handle a high-volume role as the focal point in the passing attack;
- Fast enough to be a seam threat.
- Not a good blocker – a lot of work to do there;
- Surprisingly bad at contested catches for someone of his size;
- Very rigid route runner – no subtle movements to fool defenders;
- Lets the ball come to him, rather than attacking it;
- Drops too many easy throws;
- Angles on blocks are subpar – you’re basically building from the ground up with him.
NFL Comparison: Mike Gesicki
Projection: Round 3
Bottom Line on Sam Laporta
If Sam Laporta had entered the NFL Draft in a different year, he’d almost certainly be a Round 2 pick. However, this is the best tight end class in quite some time, and the Iowa product will probably slip to the third round. If that’s the case, some team is going to get a great value, as Sam Laporta has the making of a starting-caliber F tight end.
The positives for Sam Laporta are obvious from the first second you turn on the tape. Whenever he gets the ball in his hands, you know he’s going to break at least one tackle before he goes down. Additionally, his speed, while not quite as good as someone like Luke Musgrave, is good enough for him to get open down the seam and lead to some explosive plays. As an added bonus, we already know that he can handle a high workload, as he saw 90 targets during his final year at the collegiate level.
Like every prospect, Laporta has some flaws. Some of these appear to be fixable, like his relatively rigid route running. He has the footwork necessary to be a good route runner, but he lacks the nuances to confuse defenders and keep them on their toes. In theory, the right coach could be able to fix this issue. On paper, a player of his size should also be better at contested passes, but if he hasn’t fixed that yet, it’s unlikely he figures that out at the NFL level.
His blocking, however, is a serious problem. While he doesn’t shy away from duty, everything from his technique to his angles needs to improve. Quite frankly, it’s hard to see him ever being a reliable in-line blocker in the immediate future. In today’s pass-happy NFL, a tight end can survive with that deficiency, but it will impact his draft stock.
Main Photo: Matt Krohn – USA Today Sports