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2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Tony Poljan

Tony Poljan
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Tony Poljan has the raw physical gifts that should convince a team to take a leap of faith during the late rounds of the 2021 NFL draft. A former college quarterback who converted to tight end, Poljan has tremendous upside but needs a lot of work to refine his game. Even so, you can bet more than a few coaches will be tempted by a versatile pass-catcher who will be a size mismatch in the pros.

Make sure to check out all of our other 2021 NFL Draft Scouting Reports.

Player Bio

Name: Tony Poljan

Jersey: #87

Position: Tight End

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Schools: Central Michigan and Virginia

Class: Senior

Height: 6’7″

Weight: 265 lbs

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Hands (2/5)

Like most aspects of Poljan’s game, his hands are raw. He’ll let some catches go he should make, but the bigger problem concerns how he sets himself to receive the ball. Poljan doesn’t always extend to reel it in, often opting to let the ball enter his radius. He relies on his big body too much and must develop the soft hands all playmaking tight ends possess.

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Release (3.5/5)

Poljan doesn’t waste time getting off the line and makes quick work of moving to the top of his routes. He also has the advantage of rarely being jammed aggressively because defenders bounce off his 6’7″, 265-pound frame. There’s also a quick first step to Poljan’s takeoff that allows him to stretch the inside passing lanes vertically. What’s missing is some more refinement running underneath patterns, finding the right depth, and timing his breaks to turn and find the ball.

Play Speed (2.5/5)

Poljan will make space for himself by buffeting coverage defenders out of his path. What he won’t do is leave pursuit trailing hopelessly because he lacks breakaway speed. Instead, plodding steps mean Poljan is often caught early after the catch.

Recognition (2/5)

Poljan’s only been playing tight end for two seasons, so he’s still developing his recognition skills at the position. He made the switch for his final season at Central Michigan in 2019 before transferring to Virginia a year later. Poljan has displayed the physical aptitude to be a punishing blocker, but he needs to get better at diagnosing line slants and identifying where pressure is going to come from. As a receiver, Poljan relies more on size to get open than a keen instinct of where the soft spots are in coverage.

Blocking (3.5/5)

Poljan’s history as a blocker is obviously brief but he’s still shown the brute force and aggressive streak to dominate one-on-one matchups. Poljan is a factor any time he gets to use his frame on the edge where he can hold the point of attack against a defensive end. There are also some move skills that make him a factor in absorbing second-level defenders in zone-based blocking schemes. Better recognition will let Poljan exploit the right matchups and become a vital part of an NFL rushing attack.

Agility (2.5/5)

Poljan doesn’t make enough splash plays for a receiver so tall. He can go up and get the ball. He can leap into space. He can rely on expert coordination between his hands and feet to make the tough catches look easy.

Improving his play speed and general timing out of his breaks will put Poljan in positions to make more plays of this type. If that happens, he will become a truly dangerous mismatch.

Playmaking (4/5)

It’s hard to fault Poljan’s core numbers since he changed positions. His 33 catches for 496 yards and four touchdowns were a decent haul in 2019. Poljan followed those numbers with a respectable 38 grabs for 411 yards and six scores at Virginia. Add in some nifty rushing skills from his quarterback days, and Poljan has the potential to make an impact in a variety of roles at the next level.

Intangibles (4/5)

So much of any assessment of Poljan rests on what he might become with a little more training as a tight end. The signs are positive for an obvious physical specimen who is a high-effort player as both a blocker and receiver. His diverse playing background means Poljan could also be used in Wildcat sets and to throw option passes. How far he goes will hinge on landing with a team that’s sufficiently creative on offense.

Player Summary

Teams looking Poljan’s way will see an unnuanced but versatile player willing to work to be a success. His core strength as a blocker will endear him to scouts and coaches, but the smarter ones will pick Poljan based on what he can become rather than what he is now. The potential is obviously worth a risk in the later rounds.

Final Grade (24/40): Fifth to Seventh-Round Pick

Player Comp: Logan Thomas

Make sure to check out all of our other 2021 NFL Draft Scouting Reports.

Check us out on our socials:   
Twitter: @PTSTNews and @TalkPrimeTime
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Follow James Dudko on Twitter @JamesDudko

Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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Check us out on our socials:   
Twitter: @PTSTNews and @TalkPrimeTime
Facebook Page: Prime Time Sports Talk
Join our Facebook Group: Prime Time Sports Talk 
Instagram: @primetimesportstalk

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