In a semi-unknown class of tight ends, Oregon State’s Luke Musgrave should see his name called within the first 50 picks of the 2023 NFL Draft. Even with athleticism and a big catch radius dominating his tape, will his injury history scare some teams away?
Musgrave is fighting Dalton Kincaid and Darnell Washington for the TE2 role behind Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer. With the most moldable receiving traits in the draft, Musgrave has a chance to be something special.
- College: Oregon State
- Height: 6’6
- Weight: 253 lbs.
- Age: 22
- Year: Senior
- Draft Projection: Top 75 pick
When you see a 6’6 tight end galloping down the field, you expect him to be a seam threat, which is exactly what Musgrave was at OSU. Able to be split out wide or line up in-line, Musgrave regularly becomes a vertical threat 15 yards downfield.
While his route-running ability needs work, teams will understand the importance of scheming him open to create a mismatch. In the video below, there are plenty of instances of Musgrave succeeding in space against a myriad of different defenders.
4.61 speed is pretty impressive for a guy above 250 pounds, and Musgrave looks even faster than that. Hunting those matchups and taking advantage of them is key to Musgrave being an efficient weapon in the passing attack.
Chiefs draft prospect— Teja Dash (@teja_dash) February 18, 2023
TE Luke Musgrave
-missed most of ‘22 but ran 20mph @ Sen Bowl
-speed should = more separation
-lack of tape
Mocked to KC by PFF/NBC/CBS
Proj-1/2 R pic.twitter.com/Fk0Vn7itfc
A part of Musgrave’s game that makes him a top prospect is how he fits into most NFL offensive schemes. While his blocking may push him down some team’s lists, Musgrave has the receiving archetype that makes him a puzzle piece for anyone.
At the Senior Bowl, Musgrave earned work both with a hand on the ground and standing up. Being able to clear his defender at the point of contact by disengaging any hand-fighting, all while getting inside leverage and putting his defender on his back hip, are signs of a player who will succeed at the next level.
This may be more of a catch-all, but Musgrave puts moldable traits on every single clip of film that exists. A coachable prospect at a hybrid position that requires the ability to factor into the passing and rushing games? Any NFL General Manager would safely sign up for that in the NFL Draft.
Musgrave is far from that perfect prospect, but there is no tight end in this year’s class that can even sniff that ‘perfect grade’ range. But accepting what he brings to the table and what he can become will make any front office member pounding the table for Musgrave look very smart in two years.
Tight ends fill an intriguing role in the current offensive landscape in the NFL, but they still need to block. Musgrave has the tools to become an immediate TE2 prospect, with the skills to become that TE1 starter.
Route Running / Health / Blocking
Tight ends are typically not crisp, fluid, and flexible (except for your unicorns), which is a knock on Musgrave’s draft profile too. His rigid movements when entering into breaks are pretty noticeable, especially when he transitions out of a three-point stance.
Expecting a player like Musgrave to be a fluid mover is unrealistic, but it does show up on tape.
Only suiting up for two games in his final collegiate season presents durability questions. Using a top-75 draft pick on a guy, you might only get half a season out of certainly can (and will) scare some potential suitors away.
The blocking tape that Musgrave has for teams to consider isn’t great, but it also isn’t terrible. While he is capable of washing the boundary defender into the mix, he can be overtaken by a stronger defender, especially if he fails to establish positioning. This can be improved once drafted, but Musgrave has a ways to go to be ready for the next level.
There are plenty of reasons why Musgrave should be a shoo-in for you in the second round of your upcoming rookie drafts. His receiving acumen alone makes him a threat to be the best tight end from this draft in a few years, even if he enters the league as a developmental piece.
If a team without a bonafide tight end (Lions, Bengals, Panthers) drafts Musgrave, he has the skills to contribute immediately.