This year’s NFL Draft is loaded with talent at tight end, and Iowa State’s Charlie Kolar is undoubtedly one of the most intriguing options at the position.
Kolar had a productive run at Iowa State, hauling in 168 passes for 2,181 yards and 23 touchdowns. As a result, he earned All-Big 12 honors from 2019-2021.
There were some questions about Kolar’s athleticism during the draft process, but at his pro day he proved that he’s a much better athlete than people think.
We caught up with Charlie Kolar to discuss his Iowa State career, preparation for the NFL Draft, best attributes and more.
The Spun: You had an exceptional career at Iowa State. Now, you’re ready for the next chapter. How has this entire journey been for you?
Charlie Kolar: It’s been good. It’s a lot different from my time in college, but my camp has really helped me. The Senior Bowl was a great experience because I got to play against different competition. The NFL Combine was fun, and of course, the pro day at Iowa State was awesome. It’s just different because you train for a track event more than a football event.
The Spun: Do you think you erased any potential doubts about your game during this process?
CK: I tried to. The only thing that matters is if you can play football. At my pro day, I feel like I showed I’m a big, athletic tight end that can move. I feel like I have controlled speed, but some people might think that my tape isn’t that fast.
The Spun: What was your favorite moment during your time at Iowa State?
CK: That’s a good question. I’d say the Fiesta Bowl is definitely up there. Not only was it a big win, it was the culmination of the COVID season in 2020. I was so proud of our team. We told each other, if we were going to compete in 2020, we needed to stay together and make sure we didn’t go out. We made so many sacrifices, on and off the field. The discipline and love we had for each other was amazing.
The Spun: What was it like playing for Matt Campbell?
CK: He’s awesome. I had a feeling he was a genuine coach when he was recruiting me. That’s why I committed to Iowa State. He works his tail off to be the best coach he can be. His work ethic is infectious and his whole staff does a great job of developing us. He’s smart, he’s tough and he’s humble enough to make changes each and every year. He’s just going to keep getting better as a coach.
The Spun: You’ve drawn some comparisons to Mark Andrews. Is that the type of tight end you model your game after?
CK: I’d obviously love to lead the league in receiving yards at tight end [laughs]. He’s amazing. I don’t try to compare myself to any one tight end because I’m not that person. But I do try to learn from them. Andrews is certainly a tight end that I study. He has improved so much as a blocker. I remember watching his film in college. I respect his game so much. I try to be a student of the game and watch all the top tight ends though so I can be the bestpossible version of myself.
The Spun: There are a lot of special tight ends in this year’s draft. What separates you from the bunch?
CK: My route-running. I think I do some good things in that department. I use my weight, height and speed to create mismatches.
The Spun: What’s your go-to route?
CK: Whatever the coaches call [laughs].
The Spun: What’s one part of you’re still trying to improve?
CK: My technique in the run game. I need to do a better job of using my hands and feet at the same time.
The Spun: What will it mean to you to hear your name called during the draft?
CK: It’ll be special. I’m in a good spot. I know which teams like me at this point. I’ll be grateful wherever I get drafted. I just want to go to that team and make an impact. I’ll probably be overwhelmed with gratitude for god, my coaches, teammates and family.
Charlie Kolar could come off the draft board as early as Day 2. NFL analysts have raved about his strong hands, ability to play with leverage, and footwork.
The NFL Draft officially begins this Thursday night.
You can read more of our interviews with athletes or media stars here.