2017 NFL Draft Kansas City Chiefs Scouting Report: Cole Hikutini

Kansas City Chiefs draft prospect Cole Hikutini. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas City Chiefs draft prospect Cole Hikutini. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

The Kansas City Chiefs haven’t gotten much from their tight end depth players. Cole Hikutini of Louisville could provide a boost to the group.

It’s easy to overlook the tight end position when talking about draft needs for the Kansas City Chiefs. When a team has a superstar like Travis Kelce on the roster, the depth chart is often forgotten about. However, adding depth should be a priority for the Chiefs. Cole Hikutini of Louisville may be what they need.

It isn’t necessarily that the Chiefs backup tight ends are bad. There is some talent there to work with. However, the group is very raw as a whole. The most seasoned veteran is former college basketball player Demetrius Harris. While Harris has shown progress in his development, there is room for improvement.

Behind Demetrius Harris are James O’Shaughnessy and Ross Travis. Neither has contributed much to the Chiefs in their time with the team. O’Shaughnessy is primarily a Special Teams player while Travis is still in the developmental phases.

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The Chiefs need to find a way to boost the bottom of the roster at the tight end position. This year’s draft doesn’t have the most refined group at tight end. However, there is a ton of athleticism to be found. Kansas City has shown they will pursue a developmental project at the position. We’ll see if they like any of the options in this year’s class.

Cole Hikutini – TE – Louisville

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All eyes were on Lamar Jackson at Louisville this past season, and it may have caused folks to miss players like Cole Hikutini. I have seen draft projections on Hikutini range all over the place. However, my own film study shows a guy who could be very productive in the NFL. Hikutini is one of the new breed “move” tight ends that many teams favor these days.

Cole Hikutini has a very impressive combination of size and athleticism. Has long arms and strong hands that allow him to pluck the ball away from defenders. Sharp breaks with solid acceleration to help him create separation. Hikutini is a quality route runner who understands body positioning to gain the advantage on defenders.

The negative side to Cole Hikutini is that he isn’t the blocker that he should be. His technique is very poor when engaging linemen, and he can be shaken by a quick move. Doesn’t run as strong with the ball as he does without it. Has a tendency to put the ball on the ground.

Cole Hikutini is the type of player who could do very well in the Chiefs offense. In many ways he is similar to Travis Kelce, though I wouldn’t put him at that level. Kansas City has shown a clear preference for athletic pass catchers at tight end, and Hikutini fits the bill. This pick would not surprise me at all.

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The Kansas City Chiefs could gain a lot by adding another tight end to the depth chart. When your roster is full of talent, you need to start generating better and better competition. An influx of talent should shake things up for the Chiefs and help produce an even better position group.