No Major Injury History
2018: Kentucky, Ole Miss, South Carolina
Sternberger's best trait is his ability as a route runner. He runs his routes like a bigger wide receiver and is easily one of the better route runners in this tight end class. He has shown that he can give you great production as a pass catcher. He is a threat basically anywhere on the field, whether it be in the short or intermediate passing game, as a deep threat up the seam, or in the red zone.
Sternberger could become a little more polished as a blocker. He does a good job at walling off defenders but could work on his leverage and physicality. He also doesn't have the best deep speed in the vertical passing game but his skills as a route runner made up for that in college. However, corners at the next level are much faster and more physical so that could hurt him in some cases. He will require a learning curve.
Jace Sternberger had an interesting collegiate career. He started off his career at Kansas where he only played in ten games and had one catch for five yards. After not being used at Kansas, he decided to transfer to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (JUCO). At Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, he caught 21 passes for 336 yards and six touchdowns. which was enough to catch the attention of the coaches at Texas A&M. In his one season as a junior at Texas A&M he finished with 48 receptions for 832 yards and 10 touchdowns. This outstanding performance earned him First Team All-American and All-SEC honors and he was named a semifinalist for the John Mackey Award. His performance was also good enough that he decided to declare early for the 2019 NFL Draft. As a pro, I believe Sternberger has the potential to be an outstanding player. He will be great fit in today's game as tight ends have become a crucial part of the passing game. I see him coming in and being an immediate contender as at least a TE2 for any team that drafts him and eventually turning into the full-time starter. If placed in the right system, I could even see Sternberger becoming a Pro Bowl caliber tight end.
Has a solid amount of quickness for a tight end at the top of his routes. Also shows good balance to stay on his feet while taking on contact. Is able to get up and reach for highly thrown passes to catch them at the highest point. Also shows loose hips in his routes. Isn't known to make moves as a ball carrier in open space but uses his loose hips to make smooth cuts in his routes. Doesn't have very much explosive speed but does show explosion at times in some of his blocks. His deep speed doesn't jump off the table at you but he possesses enough to get open downfield.
Big Play Ability
Spacing & Timing
Has very good footwork at the top of his routes which he uses to create an early advantage against defenders. One of the best route running tight ends in this draft class. Has very smooth, crisp routes which helps to make up for his lack of explosive speed to help him get open. Isn't a burner as far as the deep game goes but uses his route running skills to get open in the intermediate and short passing game. Has very solid hands, won't see many drops in film. Also will make catches in traffic. Shows ability to turn up the field quickly after the catch. Isn't known to make many moves but has shown the ability to break tackles in the open field. Keeps the ball secure and protected at all times after the catch. Had zero fumbles on film.
Can work on his leverage during blocks but does a great job and angling his body to wall off defenders away from the play. Once again, he can work on his leverage but he does a good job in motions in coming through the gap as a lead blocker and on the edge sealing off edge defenders. Does a good job once he gets settled and in front of the defender. Showed tendencies to miss blocks in the open field due to poor angles and timing. Wasn't asked to stay in and block during passing plays in college, mostly would chip and release. Showed that he knew where the play was going and would position himself to wall off the defender.
Blocking in Space
Showed that he wasn't afraid to take on defenders as a blocker. Also would absorb contact while making a catch. 2018- 48 receptions, 832 yards, 10 TD ; First Team All-American. Always seemed to play with a high motor and was for the most part consistent in his production.
Aggression & Toughness
Catch Point Mentality
Shows great awareness of the play call in his blocking assignments and shows the ability to get open and re route when his quarterback is scrambling. Learns well from his mistakes, you won't see him make the same mistake twice very often. Was used in a variety of ways in college. He lined up on the line of scrimmage as a true tight end, lined up in the slot as an extra receiver, and was used of the ball as a wing/H-back.