Redskins TE Hale Hentges player breakdown
As mentioned in the previous slide, Hentges is not the greatest athlete. That’s a part of his game that he’ll have to live with, and make the best out of. At Alabama’s pro day ahead of the 2019 NFL Draft, Hentges ran a 5.04 40-yard dash at 6-foot-4, 240, and posted equally uninspiring agility times. He did log a 33.5-inch vertical, shedding light on fairly proficient explosiveness. But his speed, in an NFL that values athletic, versatile tight ends, will always be a limiting factor.
That said, there’s more to the game of football than speed, and Hentges does well to compensate, in the limited action he’s experienced. Hentges’ toughness as a receiver has always been lauded, from high school to training camp in 2019. He has the strength to out-muscle defensive backs for contested catches, and as evidenced by this clip from Week 17, he’s not afraid to lay out and give everything he has for tough passes.
Hentges also has the awareness to seek out soft spots. In the previous clip, Hentges had to adjust his route and find space on the scramble drill, as Mark Bullock mentioned. And in the next clip, Hentges is seen capitalizing on a defensive back’s blind spot in the red zone, and ultimately finding space in the back of the end zone for his first touchdown.
Hentges’ speed will always be a limiting factor for him at the NFL level, but tight ends with athletic limitations have succeeded before. Just look at his former teammate Jack Doyle. Doyle entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Colts, and was primarily a blocking tight end due to his own speed limitations. But after years of minimal production and perseverance, Doyle erupted in 2016, catching 59 passes for 584 yards and five scores. Now, he’s a two-time Pro Bowler.
With traits other than speed, Hentges has already broken into the league. His utility as a blocker will always provide him with a healthy baseline as a player, and he has enough toughness, hand security, awareness, and drive to potentially carve out a greater role amidst uncertainty.