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UCLA Football: NFL Draft Profile - TE Thomas Duarte

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Thomas Duarte is one of the top receiving tight ends in this year's NFL Draft.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Like many of his teammates, Thomas Duarte made an immediate impact when he arrived at UCLA, playing in all 13 games and starting four of them. That year, he caught 16 passes for 214 yards en route to tying UCLA's true freshman record with three touchdown passes.

He built on his freshman year success and had an even better year in 2014. Duarte had 28 receptions for 540 yards and 4 TDs. He led the Bruins and the Pac-12 with an average of 19.29 yards per catch. That ranked 15th best in the country. For his efforts, he was received an All-Pac-12 honorable mention selection.

Duarte had a breakout year in 2015. He led UCLA with 10 touchdowns and ranked 17th in the nation. He had three 100-yard receiving games while catching 53 passes for 872 yards. That was good enough to earn Duarte a second team All-Pac-12 selection.

NFL Combine Results

NFL Combine Tale of the Tape
Height 6'2"
Weight 231 lbs.
Arm Length 33 inches
Hands 10 inches
Source: NFL.com

NFL Combine Physical Tests
40-Yard Dash 4.72 seconds
Bench Press 12 reps
Vertical Jump 33.5 inches
Broad Jump 118.0 inches
3 Cone Drill 6.97 seconds
20-Yard Shuttle 4.24 seconds
Source: NFL.com

Strengths

One of Duarte's biggest strengths is his size which creates problems for opponents. His size also allows him to work the middle of the field without being concerned about defenders. He is good at faking out opponents off the ball.

He uses his size and his arms to pull in balls that might not be catchable by smaller receivers.

Weaknesses

Duarte lacks the ability to make defenders miss after he catches the ball as he tends to rely on beating them before making the catch. He can be disrupted by contact before the ball arrives.

He hasn't really done much blocking due to former UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone's offensive scheme.

Comparison

Duarte has self-compared himself to Jordan Reed. As Rotoworld notes, it shows good self-awareness because others like NFL.com are comparing him to Reed as well.

Stats

Offensive Stats
Receiving Rushing Scrimmage
Year School Conf Class Pos G Rec Yds Avg TD Att Yds Avg TD Plays Yds Avg TD
*2013 UCLA Pac-12 FR WR 13 16 214 13.4 3 0 0 0 16 214 13.4 3
*2014 UCLA Pac-12 SO WR 12 28 540 19.3 4 0 0 0 28 540 19.3 4
2015 UCLA Pac-12 JR WR 13 53 872 16.5 10 0 0 0 53 872 16.5 10
Career UCLA 97 1626 16.8 17 0 0 0 97 1626 16.8 17

Projection

Duarte may very well be the top pass catching tight end in this year's draft. Rotoworld mentions that Pro Football Focus graded him as the #1 receiving grade in this year's tight end class.

Duarte received a third round grade from the NFL Draft advisory committee. His stock has really fallen, but it hasn't really jumped either.

Despite all that, Duarte isn't projected to go until at least Round 6, according to NFL.com.

Go Bruins!!!