Sam LaPorta NFL Draft 2023: Scouting Report for Iowa TE

BR NFL Scouting DepartmentContributor I

Iowa tight end Sam LaPorta advances the ball off a pass from quarterback Spencer Petras as Illinois 's Sydney Brown defends during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022, in Champaign, Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

HEIGHT: 6'3"


HAND: 10 1/4"

ARM: 32 1/8"


40-YARD DASH: 4.59

3-CONE: 6.91



BROAD: 10'3"


— Solid frame with room to add 5-10 pounds comfortably.

— Above-average flexibility and ease of movement. Smooth in and out of routes.

— Good play strength and balance as a route-runner. Undeterred by physicality during his routes.

— Tough, reliable YAC earner underneath. Can fight for little extra bits of yardage at the sticks.

— Above-average blocker. Has the movement skills to be an on-the-move blocker, as well as the strength to win at point of attack.


— Average speed, at best. Doesn't separate from anyone across or down the field.

— Below-average explosive play ability. Lacks twitch and speed for chunk plays.

— Inconsistent comfort in traffic and ability to fight for the ball.

— Below-average ability to go up for the ball and win in the air.


— 12 GM, 58 REC, 657 YDS (11.3 AVG), 1 TD


— D.O.B: January 12, 2001

3-star recruit in 2019

— Started 32 games in four seasons, at least two each year

— 2021 third-team All-Big Ten, 2022 first-team All-Big Ten

— Torn meniscus late in 2022, missed final regular-season game vs. Nebraska


Sam LaPorta can be a high-end No. 2 tight end out of the gate with the potential to grow into something more.

Many of LaPorta's floor-setting traits will play right away. As a pass-catcher, LaPorta is a tough cover from about 10 yards out and closer. LaPorta moves with great fluidity and quick feet for a 250-pounder, showing effortless work in an out of his route breaks. Though not the twitchiest guy around, he has just enough juice to make good on how easy it is for him to sink his hips and get out of his breaks cleanly. Additionally, LaPorta can't really be bullied off his routes. He holds up well both at the line of scrimmage and when jammed at the top of his route breaks.

LaPorta will also be a plus blocker soon. He isn't the biggest or strongest guy in the class, but he's a sharp, flexible blocker with plenty of strength to handle any assignment. LaPorta excels both as a move blocker, like on pulling plays or as the splitter on split zone, as well as a blocker at the point of attack, such as on power or zone runs his way. LaPorta also can be flexed from the in-line Y spot to the wing/H position with ease, giving his future offense a bit of versatility in terms of formation.

Where LaPorta gets dinged is his ability to make high-value plays. He's not a bad athlete by any stretch, but he doesn't have the high-end speed or explosiveness to be a truly dangerous player. LaPorta's speed is average at best, which applies both to his route running and YAC skills. He likely won't be a major seam or deep crosser threat in the league. Likewise, LaPorta isn't particularly dangerous with the ball. He can fight through contact at times, but he isn't going to race second-level defenders to the edge or make many people miss. Additionally, LaPorta doesn't make many difficult catches in traffic or in the air, which is a little concerning for someone who also doesn't stretch the field.

The good news for LaPorta is that his blocking prowess and smooth movement skills should get him playing time early, even if just as a No. 2. That should give him the reps to speed up his development and perhaps tap into some nuance that will further enable him as a route-runner and pass-catcher. That said, LaPorta just doesn't have a tantalizing ceiling as a prospect, and it's difficult to see him cracking into the top two tiers of tight end play in the NFL.

GRADE: 7.2 (High-level Backup/Potential Starter)



PRO COMPARISON: Daniel Bellinger

Written by B/R NFL Scout Derrik Klassen