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Tight end prospect Ja’Tavion Sanders declares for 2024 NFL Draft: 3 ideal landing spots for Texas’ star

Ja'Tavion Sanders
Credit: Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK

After the successful career Ja’Tavion Sanders has had with the Texas Longhorns, where the tight end was a two-time All-Big 12 selection, the 20-year-old prospect is declaring for the 2024 NFL Draft. Sanders, who topped 600 yards while hauling in multiple touchdowns each of the past two years, is widely considered the second-best tight end in the draft class behind Georgia’s Brock Bowers.

Bowers is expected to be a top-10, top-15 pick. Meaning any team that isn’t lucky enough to land the best tight end will have to settle for second-best. But that’s selling Sanders, who’s considered a potential first-round prospect, short.

Sanders measures at 6-foot-4, 243 pounds. Not freakish size for the pro level by any means, but he certainly fits the mold of an NFL tight end. While Sanders won’t rival the tallest players at his position, he makes up for it with his athleticism, with what may be something like 4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash. That type of quickness definitely plays at the next level, and will have plenty of teams scouting him closely in the pre-draft process.

Many teams lack a reliable No. 1 tight end, and many others are looking for a high-level No. 2 tight end who can either eventually replace the starter, or simply act as another option for the QB in the offense. With the frequency of tight end usage in the NFL today, Sanders could fit in seamlessly in a lot of organizations. Here are just three fits that may make sense for the former Longhorns pass-catcher.

Related: 2024 NFL Draft order

Tampa Bay Buccaneers add another weapon for Baker Mayfield

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Mike Evans is scheduled to be a free agent once the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ season concludes, and Chris Godwin’s contract is up after the 2024-25 season. Imagine a scenario where the Bucs have neither Evans nor Godwin when the 2025 season begins. Terrifying, right?

While the Buccaneers are sure to hold plenty of contract discussions with their top two pass-catchers, they’re also not getting any younger, and there isn’t much depth on this roster. While Sanders is not a wide receiver, he is touted for his pass-catching abilities and would immediately become the third-best pass-catching weapon on the roster.

Los Angeles Rams find eventual replacement for Tyler Higbee

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Puka Nacua was a hell of a find for Los Angeles Rams GM Les Snead. Without him, the Rams’ wide receiver corps would look much different, with Cooper Kupp head and shoulders above everyone else. Instead, Nacua is on track to set a new rookie record, but that doesn’t mean the Rams don’t need more help.

That help could very well come at the receiver position, but why not consider a tight end if the right prospect is available? Tyler Higbee is signed at a reasonable rate for the next two seasons, but he’ll also be 31 in 2024, meaning the Rams would be wise to consider their long-term future at the position.

Sanders would be a fun fit in this Rams offense, presenting Matthew Stafford with a big target capable of stretching the seams while also being able to break tackles after the catch.

Related: Top NFL free agents 2024

Houston Texans buy Dalton Schultz insurance with Ja’Tavion Sanders pick

ja'tavion sanders
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Dalton Schultz has worked wonders at the tight end position, providing an experienced receiver for rookie C.J. Stroud to rely on. But he’s only signed for one year. Chances are, he’ll want to return after becoming one of the most productive players on offense. But that’s no guarantee.

If Schultz is able to parlay his latest successful season into a larger contract, the Texans could very well say goodbye while knowing they also have Brevin Jordan for one more season. Then, come April, the Texans could find their long-term tight end solution by plucking a local prospect from Texas.

Related: NFL QB rankings

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