2023 NFL Combine Profile: Brenton Strange, Tight End

Penn State has developed a nice track record of producing NFL tight ends in recent years. Recent tight-end products have included Mike Gesicki and Pat Freiermuth, and Brenton Strange looks to follow in their footsteps in the 2023 NFL draft.

Strange has wrapped up his college career at Penn State and will look to catch the eyes of some NFL scouts and coaches searching for a tight end in this year’s draft class. Strange may not be one of the top tight ends off the board like his predecessors, but he could be one of the more interesting names at the position to keep tabs on during the combine as a potential prospect on the rise with a good showing.

Here is a look at Penn State’s top tight end heading into the NFL combine in Indianapolis.


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Even out of high school, Brenton Strange had the look of a future NFL draft prospect. Strange’s size made him a natural for the tight end position, especially the way Penn State has utilized it over the years, although he was considered a player that would need some work in developing to reach his full potential.

Strange was a four-star player in Penn State’s Class of 2019. After appearing in 17 games for the Nittany Lions during the shortened 2020 season, Strange became a regular fixture in the offense in 2021 following the departure of Pat Friermuth to the NFL. In 11 games played in 2021, Strange caught 20 passes for 225 yards and three touchdowns. He improved on those numbers during the 2022 season with 32 catches for 362 yards and five touchdowns in an offense that was led by its wide receivers and saw tight end assignments split to a degree, although Strange was the top option at the position for the Nittany Lions.

Strange never overwhelmed with his stats in the box score, but he was certainly a main part of how successful the offense could be at Penn State. And once again, he could be viewed as a prospect with good potential but in need of some time to develop to thrive at the next level.


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You will find it difficult to find an NFL scout who doesn’t think Strange can line up on the field right away just based on his size. Strange could easily line up on the line of scrimmage and contribute right away, and his blocking ability may be more reliable than some of his other skills right from day one. Strange has been praised for his blocking ability at the tight end, and that could be what draws some looks from around the NFL as an asset for their respective rosters.

Strange has good hands and that should be put on display on film and at the combine, and he has shown some good ability to make some plays after the catch.


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As was the case coming out of high school as a recruit, Brenton Strange does have some areas that could use some improvement to make it at the next level that scouts are seemingly well aware of. Perhaps the biggest room for improvement will be Strange’s ability to create some separation from a defender.

Finetunig his route-running also appears to be a reason for concern for some draft scouts for Strange. If Strange is going to capitalize on his size and hands and ability to run after the catch, he will have to find ways to get himself in more open space. Improved route-running and generating space from a defender will instantly help Strange become a better tight end in the NFL.

Where Strange sits among draft prospects

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The Big Ten is about to send some high-quality tight ends off to the NFL in 2023, and a few have appeared among the top 10 at the position no a variety of draft prospect rankings. However, Brenton Strange tends to fall on the outside of the top 10 position rankings heading into the combine.

Strange comes in at no. 14 on the most updated tight-end rankings from Draft Wire. Luke Schoonmaker (Michigan), Payne Durham (Purdue), and Sam LaPorta (Iowa) are other Big Ten tight ends that come in ranked ahead of Strange. Notre Dame‘s Michael Mayer tops the list, as he tends to do a variety of position rankings for the 2023 NFL draft. Interestingly, former Penn State tight end [autotag]Zach Kuntz[/autotag], who transferred to Old Dominion as a graduate transfer following the 2020 season, is ranked no. 10 on the Draft Wire tight end rankings.

Draft outlook

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Brenton Strange could benefit from a great showing at the combine, as his overall draft outlook is that of a late-round draft prospect. Teams in need of a tight end in the 2023 NFL draft may be down after seeing 19 drafted a year ago (11 were drafted in 2021), but Strange is floating on the bubble of being a draft pick at the position.

There is enough to like about Strange at the next level to warrant having a draft pick used on him, although he could be an absolute steal if he lands in the undrafted free-agent category. We’ll probably get a better read on just what Strange’s draft outlook looks like after the combine, but it is safe to say he would probably benefit more than other rPenn State prospects with a commendable effort at the combine.

Other Penn State players at the 2023 NFL Combine

Story originally appeared on Nittany Lions Wire