Iowa State tight end Dylan Soehner is an intriguing prospect to monitor in this year’s NFL Draft in large part because there aren’t too many players who can move the way he does at his size.
Soehner didn’t get to flash his receiving skills all that much with the Cyclones, finishing his career with 26 receptions for 312 yards and a touchdown. That being said, he’s a 6-foot-7, 272-pound tight end who tested fairly well at his pro day. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.78 seconds and posted a 31-inch vertical.
In addition to being quite athletic for his stature, Soehner has shown he’s one of the best blocking tight ends in this year’s draft. That alone should help him see the field in his rookie season. However, he wants to prove that he can be more than just a blocker.
We sat down with Dylan Soehner this week to discuss his preparation for the NFL Draft, his favorite moments at Iowa State, what he learned from Matt Campbell, and much more.
The Spun: How’s this draft process been for you?
Dylan Soehner: It’s been good. I went to Nashville to train after the season was over. Everything is a bit different due to COVID-19, but we’re getting through it. I don’t have to fly places, but I do have Zoom calls and a bunch of online assessments to do.
The Spun: What was your pro day like, and how would you grade your performance?
DS: A lot of teams were happy with it, but I wasn’t super thrilled. I didn’t have any personal records in the drills, which as a competitor sucks. From the people I talked to though, they were happy with it.
— ASCEND ATHLETICS (@ASCEND_NFL) March 24, 2021
The Spun: How are you feeling health-wise?
DS: I’m good on that front. My last two games definitely hurt, but at this point I’m all past that and ready to go.
The Spun: What’s your favorite Iowa State moment?
DS: It’s for sure 2017, my redshirt freshman season. We weren’t that great at the time, but we went down to Norman and got the win against Oklahoma and Baker Mayfield. That game turned the tide for the program. There was hope that we could win and be a good team, and after that game that hope turned into belief. There was a lot of confidence, and you’ve seen the program evolve from that point on.
The Spun: What was it like playing for Matt Campbell?
DS: He’s an awesome guy. I was part of his first recruiting class. He didn’t have much to sell me on since he never coached a game there, but I took a bet on good people. He’s an incredible human being and a great leader. I think the most important thing that correlated to our success was that he’d preach that once you go from 90-percent coach-led team to 90-percent player-led team you get to take that next step. I think that’s something we focused on and were able to do as a team due to his coaching and ability to bring in the right recruits.
I’m so thankful for the decision I made 4 and half years ago as a young kid to come play for this guy! https://t.co/PfOAeEMxS0
— Dylan Soehner (@dylansoehner) November 28, 2020
The Spun: Brock Purdy is returning for another season with the Cyclones. Were you a bit surprised by his decision?
DS: I wasn’t really surprised, especially because he’s such a competitor. He wants to win and bring home a conference championship to Ames. That probably played a role in his decision. He believes he has a lot of room for improvement, so he feels like another year will allow him to take another great stride in his game. The Cyclones have a lot of guys returning for the 2021 season because of that extra year of eligibility. They’re going to be a solid team for sure.
The Spun: Have you thought about which NFL quarterback you’d love to catch passes from?
DS: I’ve thought about it a little bit. Growing up in Arkansas, there’s no NFL team here, so you kind of just root for whoever. It’s funny you reached out to me though because I was a Saints fan growing up. Drew Brees was that guy for me. I missed him by a year, but that’s OK.
— Lindsay Crook (@LindsayCrook_) January 23, 2021
The Spun: Which tight ends do you watch on film?
DS: I like watching Lee Smith. I feel like he’s a tough, physical blocker. I think I’m an interesting player – there’s not a lot of guys out there like me. There’s a lot of people who haven’t been able to see what I can really do. I was a little bit limited in my role for the offense, which is OK. I think when I finally get somewhere and get to practice, people might think they got a little bit more than what they expected out of me. Going back to the players I watch on film. I like to watch Nick Boyle from Baltimore. I’m a different player from him, but he smashes heads. I also watch the receiving tight ends who can run really good routes just so I can learn that part of the game. Obviously, Travis Kelce’s routes are insane. I also like watching Gronk. He’s still putting his hand in the dirt and lock on to someone at this stage in his career.
The Spun: Which attributes right now would you consider your bread and butter?
DS: I think my run blocking and pass protection are really good. Early in my career I’ll need to show that I can block. You saw in games this year that I can run shallow routes across the field and help out in the play-action passing game. I think special teams is also something I can be valuable on. I know there aren’t too many 270-pound players running down on kickoff, but we’ll see if I can do that.
The Spun: What can we expect from Dylan Soehner at the next level?
DS: You’re getting a hard worker and someone who’s social in the locker room. I like to build relationships with people. The coaches at Iowa State always use to point out how I’d get along with everyone on the team. I don’t really identify with a group of people, I try to mesh with everybody on the roster. Football-wise, you’re getting a really large, athletic body. Sometimes I forget and will be like ‘Man, I am huge.’ It’ll just hit me every once in a while.
All-Big 12 tight end @dylansoehner has earned a NFL Combine invitation.
— Cyclone Football (@CycloneFB) March 2, 2021
Current projections have Soehner going in the later rounds of the draft. He told The Spun he has received interest from a handful of teams, which includes the Raiders and Saints.
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