Chiefs meet with top tight end prospect during 2024 NFL Combine

Ja'Tavion Sanders had a formal interview with the Chiefs in Indianapolis.

2023 Big 12 Championship - Oklahoma State v Texas
2023 Big 12 Championship - Oklahoma State v Texas / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages

On Thursday, it was reported that the Kansas City Chiefs met with one of the top tight end prospects in the 2024 Draft. Per The Draft Network's Ryan Fowler, the Chiefs had a chance to sit down with Texas tight end Ja'Tavion Sanders.

A Texas native, Sanders was a consensus five-star recruit when he committed to play for the University of Texas. Sanders hardly played his freshman year, but in his sophomore season he played in 12 games collecting 613 yards and 5 touchdowns.

This year as a junior, Sanders recorded 682 yards and 2 touchdowns. Sanders was named First Team All-Big-12 in 2022 and was a John Mackey Award semi-finalist in the same year. He was invited to the Shrine Bowl in February where he participated in interviews but did not play.

Sanders is a 6'4", 245lbs tight end who has a chance to be one of the most athletic tight ends in this draft class. His ability to be part of the vertical passing game and how he can run after the catch makes him an exciting offensive weapon for any team.

Texas used Sanders in multiple alignments, placing him everywhere from a traditional in-line alignment to the slot to being split out wide as well. Sanders' athleticism pops each time he touches the ball. He's a fluid mover who has made nice catches in traffic and still can separate against safeties and backers.

Sanders will not be a fit for every offense as he's not a reliable run or pass blocker at this point. He has allowed several sacks in his two years as a starter. If he's in-line as a blocker, he could be a liability, particularly for a team wanting to run heavier personnel.

Does Ja'Tavion Sanders make sense for the Chiefs?

There's no replacing Travis Kelce, but the Chiefs should be resting him. As Kelce continues to age more and more, it's not common to see him run to the sideline each time he makes a catch. As he slows down, the Chiefs have a role open for a dynamic tight end.

Sanders isn't going to be able to do what Blake Bell or Noah Gray have done for the Chiefs but he can be a weapon on offense. The Buffalo Bills' usage of Dawson Knox and Dalton Kincaid comes to mind on how both Kelce and Sanders could exist in the same offense.

Long term, it makes sense for the Chiefs to look to replace Kelce with a player who can learn from him. Tight end is a position that historically takes time to develop, so a year or two with Kelce might be the best thing for a young athletic tight end who still can't buy a beer (will turn 21 in March).

The Chiefs are going to have a difficult time getting elite receiver talent each year while selecting in the 30s. Sanders has a chance to be a top player at his position (behind Brock Bowers) in this draft and could be available at pick 32.