The Washington Football Team drafted Boise State tight end John Bates with the 124th overall pick on Saturday, addressing another need on its roster.
Bates, 23, has good size for his position at 6-foot-5 but lacked production at the college level. In four seasons at Boise State, he caught just 47 passes for 579 yards and two touchdowns. Last year, Bates hauled in just 12 catches for 117 yards in five games, missing time with a hamstring injury.
But tight end was a significant need on Washington’s roster. While Logan Thomas was productive in 2020, the team lacked depth behind him. Jeremy Sprinkle, a backup, left for the Dallas Cowboys in free agency. The team also has Marcus Baugh, Temarrick Hemingway and college basketball-turned-tight end Sammis Reyes as backups.
ESPN’s Todd McShay praised Bates for having “good hands,” while Mel Kiper liked Bates’ potential.
Bates’ selection, however, came much earlier than most draft experts expected. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler ranked Bates as the No. 225 prospect in this year’s class — which indicates a seventh-round value. Bates’ scouting page on NFL.com also projected him as a possible seventh rounder, noting he could have a “chance to make the end of a roster” or the practice squad.
Bates grew up in Oregon before committing to Boise State.
He reportedly performed well at the senior bowl, helping his draft stock.