The 2023 NFL Draft is loaded at the TE position, and the scouting report of Stanford’s Benjamin Yurosek is an integral part of that depth. Yurosek doesn’t always get the love he deserves, but he’s a very appealing tight end prospect with legitimate next-level potential.
Benjamin Yurosek NFL draft profile
Stanford’s offense quietly has an abundance of talent on the offensive side of the ball. Quarterback Tanner McKee leads the offense with E.J. Smith in the backfield. Elijah Higgins is a size-speed freak in the receiving core, who’s garnered NFL interest for his physical tools alone. Waler Rouse is part of an offensive line that keeps the engine humming.
All this, and the most underrated talent on the Cardinal offense might be Yurosek. A true junior, Yurosek came to Stanford as a fringe three-star recruit with some four-star hype. At the time, he was a lanky 220-pound tweener, but he’s since morphed into a legitimate weapon at tight end for David Shaw’s squad.
2021 was quietly a breakout season for Yurosek. The Stanford TE caught 42 passes for 653 yards and three touchdowns, and earned All-Pac-12 honorable mention recognition from the coaches. He’s a young player with production and visible talent. And there’s enough there to suggest that maybe he leaves school a year early, with his sights set on the NFL.
- Position: Tight End
- School: Stanford
- Current Year: Junior
- Height/Weight: 6’4, 242 pounds
Benjamin Yurosek scouting report
Catching passes from fellow NFL Draft prospect McKee, Yurosek is in a position to potentially elevate his stock in 2022. Here’s what he has to offer to NFL teams.
At 6’4″, 242 pounds, Yurosek has good height and length, with a stellar catch radius. He’s also an explosive athlete who gears up quickly off the line. Yurosek can accelerate well in open space with smooth, long strides and build-up speed. But even in short ranges, he accelerates with very little delay.
With his athleticism, Yurosek can line up all over the field. He touches ball on swings and hand-offs, and takes reps in-line, in the slot, or even from the boundary. He has the athleticism to sustain acceleration while leaning and manipulating angles upfield. Moreover, Yurosek offers good lateral suddenness for his size. He can quickly plant and attack different angles upfield.
Yurosek can sustain acceleration through direction changes reasonably well. He’s able to generate displacement with quick lateral movements at the line, and can combat tight coverage with releases. Furthermore, once Yurosek has a lane, he has great open-field speed, and can extend seams with his long strides.
As appealing as Yurosek’s athletic profile is, he’s just as exciting as a natural catcher. The Stanford TE has a great sense of timing at the catch point, and knows when to separate from DBs. He can effortlessly contort and extend in midair, and has great hand-eye coordination. Additionally, Yurosek has the flexibility to haul in passes anywhere in his catch radius, even if that pass is high and slightly behind him.
Yurosek positions himself well with his catching instincts and body control, but his strong hands are what allow him to consistently convert. The Stanford TE has shown he can use diamond hand technique and snare passes away from his frame, even in stride. He can extend beyond his frame and actively clasp the ball with both hands.
In a similar vein, Yurosek can haul in catches in open field with impending contact, even with his lighter frame. He’s able to corral passes in-stride and quickly turn upfield for RAC, and he’s not scared off by tight spaces. Overall, Yurosek’s hands are extremely reliable.
Yurosek’s athletic profile is noticeably conducive to success as a route runner. While he still has room to develop further, Yurosek has above-average stopping ability for his size. He can chop his feet, decelerate, and flip his hips quickly.
He’s also shown he can actively press upfield ahead of stems, opening up space on breaks. Yurosek has good blind spot awareness. He can get behind DBs, then sink and surge inside, manipulating their field of vision.
While physicality isn’t a large part of Yurosek’s game, he’s not a liability in that regard. The Stanford TE has shown he can pry through contact at stems with active hand and arm usage. And after the catch, he at least lowers his shoulder, makes an effort to churn through contact, and finishes forward.
Yurosek also shows promise as a blocker. He gives great effort in that phase, and sinks his pads well. He’s quick out of his stance, smart, and understands angles, and he’ll finish opponents if they sacrifice balance.
Going further, Yurosek has great patience and feel for positioning when blocking in space. He can exploit DB attack angles and direct them away. And when he’s tasked with pass protection, he’s a smooth protector who keeps a wide base and fully extends with fast hands.
While Yurosek will need to add more weight and improve his strength to sustain his blocking utility at the NFL level, he can be a great NFL blocker with his instincts and willingness to fulfill assignments.
Yurosek’s areas for improvement
While Yurosek looks a bit bigger this year, he still has poor weight for the TE position, and his frame is noticeably light. Yurosek’s weight and relative lack of play strength does show up at times in multiple phases.
As a route runner, Yurosek can be delayed by the defenses’ physicality at times, and his lighter frame doesn’t absorb contact incredibly well. This also shows up after the catch, where Yurosek won’t often withstand first contact, or absorb direct hits. And as a blocker, Yurosek’s frame presents a serious mismatch for defensive ends to exploit as an in-line blocker. He doesn’t withstand power well, and can be easily thrown off-balance.
Elsewhere, Yurosek plays a bit too upright at times, both after the catch and as a separator. He can be a bit lumbering in space at times because of his high pad level. And when he plays upright as a route runner, it opens the door for wasted movement at stems. Not only can he more consistently press upfield and sink, but he can also be more efficient with his footwork.
To that end, Yurosek can use varying stride lengths in space more effectively, and also has room to sink his hips more on breaks. On a broad-scale level, the Stanford TE has room to expand his route tree a bit. He can be used in a variety of ways with his versatility, but to this point, he’s seen lots of seam routes, posts, and outs.
Among other things, while Yurosek flashes excellent ball tracking ability, he can be more consistent in this phase. He occasionally loses track of passes, or fails to get his head around. He’s shown he can stack DBs at times with his speed, but he lacks surefire breakaway pace. And finally, as a run blocker, Yurosek’s hands don’t always strike cleanly, and he doesn’t have great strength. He can lose control and struggle to sustain blocks.
Current draft projection for Stanford TE Benjamin Yurosek
Yurosek is one of many intriguing prospects in a deep 2023 NFL Draft TE class. At the moment, he profiles as a fringe Day 2 prospect who could break into the Top 100 with a good season. But at the same time, projection questions like his mass and his route running consistency could relegate him to the Day 3 range, depending on how his position group settles out.
Yurosek undoubtedly has the frame to add more weight, and should be able to get to a healthy number. While he’s a lighter player, he does have good height and length, and that shows up especially often when he has to extend beyond his frame. For Yurosek, the question is this: Can he sustain his athleticism after building his way up to the high 240-pound range?
If Yurosek can get stronger while maintaining his explosive, smooth long-strider athleticism, then there’s no reason to think he can’t eventually realize his Day 2 upside. Yurosek’s natural catching instincts and strong hands serve as a buffer for his stock, as does his passable blocking utility and alignment versatility. He has playmaking ability at and after the catch, and has some route running building blocks as well.
In the NFL, Yurosek should be a valuable addition to a TE rotation right away. A lot depends on his weight and how he’s able to manage his physical profile. But Yurosek can be a solid, versatile TE2 with starting upside, provided that he gets stronger and continues to refine his route running ability.