Harrison Bryant, TE, Florida Atlantic
(percentile rank among all TEs at Combine since 1999, courtesy of Mockdraftable.com):
40-yard dash: 4.73 seconds (63rd percentile)
Vertical: 32.5 inches (43rd)
Broad: 110 inches (21st)
3-cone: 7.41 seconds (14th)
20-yard shuttle: 4.37 seconds (48th)
Bryant moved from OT to a pass-catching role for his senior year of high school in Georgia, which helps to explain the lack of big-time recruiting interest. In addition to producing solid numbers there -- 39 receptions, 608 yards, 10 TDs -- Bryant earned defensive player of the year honors for his county that season (100 tackles, 14 tackles for loss).
He landed at Florida Atlantic … after fielding no other scholarship offers. Bryant rewarded the Owls, though, playing right away and building his production every year.
After a 2nd-team all-conference bid as a 2017 sophomore, Bryant earned 1st-team All-Conference-USA honors each of his final 2 seasons. He also finished 2019 as a 1st-team AP All-American and won the John Mackey Award as the top TE in all of FBS. Bryant led the position nationally with 65 receptions, despite sitting out the team’s bowl game.
Bryant’s receptions per game climbed each season: from 1.0 as a true freshman to 3.2, 3.75 and then 5.0. His 20.7% market share of FAU receptions in 2019 ranked 2nd among the 20 TEs invited to the Scouting Combine (behind only Adam Trautman, of FCS Dayton). Only Trautman averaged more receptions per game for his career (4.0) than Bryant (3.6). The only player from last year’s TE class who beat that mark was Caleb Wilson, who played just 2 years at UCLA.
Bryant also led his nearest teammate in 2019 by 233 receiving yards. Over the 13 games he played, Bryant amassed 27.7% of the team’s receiving yards and 25.9% of the TD catches.
(Courtesy of WhatsOnDraftNFL)
Games watched: North Texas 2018, Ohio State 2019, UAB 2019
Let’s start with the big things here: I was only able to watch 3 games’ worth of offensive snaps plus a couple of highlight videos on Bryant. (Last season’s UTSA game, plus a full 2019 reel.) That doesn’t come close to capturing 3 years of starter-level usage for him.
What I did get: This guy wasn’t really a TE in college -- at least not full time.
Sure, he spent plenty of the plays I watched lined up in a tight-slot position and blocking on both pass and run plays from that setup. But Bryant rarely lined up in a traditional in-line TE position over the games I watched. Most of his reps came from wider-slot alignments and even out wide.
You’d think a high school tackle-turned-TE might flash some impressive blocking, and Bryant did show some aggression in that area …
But the blocking reps I saw largely weren’t noteworthy in either direction. The slightly undersized TE certainly doesn’t look like he’s ready to line up inline in the NFL and mix it up with pro edge defenders on a regular basis. That could hurt his chances of getting on the field early in his career.
As a receiver, Bryant flashed some upside in various ways. He moves more like a big WR than your typical TE, including the body control to maneuver for receptions.
Check out how smoothly Bryant turns back to catch this ball thrown behind him, and then turns back around to continue running.
Drops became an issue in 2019. Pro Football Focus charged him with just 3 over his 1st 3 seasons, but then 8 among his 73 “catchable” targets last season.
But you can also see the hands on this contested catch vs. Ohio State.
Conference-USA is in the FBS, but it obviously presents lower-level competition through most of each season than a Power 5 football schedule would. When an NFL prospect faces lower-level college competition, you want to see him dominate.
Although Bryant certainly didn’t display the strength to dominate as a blocker, he did produce highlights of beating up lesser opponents. The 2019 highlights vs. UTSA serve as a good example, including this play …
In the right offense, Bryant has a chance to quickly turn into a helpful NFL receiving weapon, with upside to become a complete TE and fantasy starter. But it’s more likely that he starts out slowly in the pros -- as most TEs do -- and he’s certainly no lock to become an impact fantasy player.
There’s impressive receiving tape, but there’s also a Combine’s worth of disappointing measurables for a guy who’s supposed to win on athleticism. His Mockdraftable comparisons list returns only 1 player (A.J. Derby) who was better than a 76.1% match.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein offers up 49ers TE George Kittle as an adrenaline-inducing comp, and it’s worth noting that the Iowa alum lingered on the 2017 NFL Draft board until Round 5. But I also believe it’s worth noting that Kittle lit up his Combine -- including a 94th-percentile 40-yard dash and 98th percentile broad jump.
I’m sure Zierlein watched a lot more Bryant tape than I did. But I’d say you should look at Kittle as more of a ceiling comp than an expected career arc.
In a creative offense, Bryant could make sense in Round 3 of your rookie draft. He’d look better in Round 4, though.
Of course, we’ll see how early he goes in an NFL Draft class that looks weak at TE.