2019 NFL Draft Profile: San Diego State TE Kahale Warring
The athletic Aztecs tight end didn’t light up the stat sheet last fall, but here’s why he has intrigued a lot of NFL teams.
Warring has all the physical traits to contribute in the pros.
One of the big storylines in last year’s NFL season was the emergence of San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle. His breakout campaign, in which he topped 1,000 yards, served as a good reminder that scouting the stat sheet isn’t the only thing that matters in the draft process.
Enter Kahale Warring. Though he came through a San Diego State football program that has more recently made its bones with a pounding ground game on offense, an impressive performance at the NFL Combine turned a lot of NFL heads. Never mind that he caught just 31 passes in 2018, there’s a decent chance he’s the first Mountain West athlete selected in this year’s draft.
Measurables (via Mockdraftable)
If the numbers above didn’t give it away, the one asset that Warring has in spades is athleticism. In an interview with Draft Wire’s Justin Melo, Warring himself noted that his experience playing basketball, water polo, and cross country have translated nicely to the gridiron. To that end, Lance Zierlein of NFL.com praised, among other things, “nifty, quick feet for sharp directional change in routes” and his ability as a “sudden leaper with springs to win at the high-point”.
And as you might expect from his role in the Aztecs offense, Warring has also been noted as a plus run-blocker. In his write-up for The Draft Network, Jon Ledyard noted that Warring was “highly competitve … [and] has worked his tail off to get better at an area of weakness. [He] gets hands inside, sinks his hips and keeps a wide base to seal off defenders on inside runs.”
The biggest question surrounding Warring is the amount of projection that teams will have to do because of his overall lack of on-field experience. Both Zierlein and Ledyard made note that he’ll have to clean up the drops that occasionally plagued his game, while others have noted that the typical limitations of the SDSU offense means that he still has something to prove with regards to things like running after the catch and pass blocking.
The top tier of tight end talent in this year’s draft class was always obvious, but the tools that Warring brings to the table are enough that he’s rightfully been in the mix among the next level of athletes. Some NFL team is likely to be very eager to jump on his potential, so don’t be shocked if you hear his name sometime late on Day Two, in the third round.