Charlie Kolar Is Iowa State’s Secret Weapon

Brian Lamb
Brian Lamb is the owner of NFL Draft Lounge and has covered the NFL Draft since 2011. Brian is also the owner of the Infinity Sports Network, which NFL Draft Lounge belongs to.

Nestled in the middle of the State of Iowa lies the city of Ames, home of the Iowa State Cyclones. On the roster for the Iowa State Cyclones is an old school tight end, Charlie Kolar. While I’ll breakdown his playing-style later in this article, in short, he plays the position the way that it should be. Kolar looks for contact and punishes defenders that get in his way.

While much of the country might not be familiar with Charlie Kolar, he’s certainly one to keep on your radar. In terms of the 2021 NFL Draft next April, he could be a prospect that we see off the board on day one or two.

With student athletes beginning to return to school to start training camps, it’s time for us to look at one of the best potential NFL Draft prospects at his position. Afterwards, I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed in his abilities.


The Background

Charlie Kolar was a consensus three-star prospect, per ESPN, 247sports, and Rivals. Kolar attended Norman North high school in the state of Oklahoma. He was listed as the 12th best prospect out of the state per ESPN. Aside from Iowa State, Kolar also had offers from Oklahoma State, New Mexico, Army, Air Force, and Stephen F. Austin.

Kolar was a redshirt in 2017, his first year on campus. In 2018, he started in three games for the Cyclones, but appeared in thirteen after an injury to Chase Allen. Kolar ended the season with 11 receptions for 137 yards and three touchdowns. Kolar was also selected as First-Team Academic All-Big 12 and Second-Team All-Big 12 in 2018.

The 2019 season was a breakout one for the tight end. He was listed to the John Mackey Award preseason watchlist. Kolar ended the season with 51 receptions for 697 yards and seven touchdowns, including two against Texas Tech. In addition to the stats, Kolar was also named as a Mackey Award Finalist, First-Team All-Big 12, and Second and Third-Team All-American honors.


What I Like About Charlie Kolar

It’s time to pull out the tape and dig in. Below, I’ve added a few clips that really spotlight Charlie Kolar, and hopefully, explain why I think he’s the secret weapon for Iowa State. For the first clip, let’s head down to Lubbock, Texas for the game against the Red Raiders.

Ball Tracking Abilities

Unfortunately, I don’t have the All-22 film on this, but let’s take a look nonetheless. I really want to highlight Kolar’s ability to track this ball downfield. Not just downfield, but over his shoulder with a defender in tow. Realistically, I don’t know how many collegiate tight ends would be able to make this play if they were asked to do so. 

Situational Awareness

Charlie Kolar isn’t the target on this play, but what I really wanted to highlight was his ability to quickly identify zone coverage. Once he breaks through the pressure, he identifies the coverage and sits on the route, giving his quarterback ample room to fit this ball. Even when he’s not the intended target, Kolar still puts in the effort.


What I Dislike About Charlie Kolar

By no means is Charlie Kolar the perfect prospect for Iowa State. In fact, his negatives are some of the most important traits for the position. Let’s take a look at a few clips that zero in on where Kolar needs to improve.

Blocking Ability

On this play, Kolar is tasked with a pass blocking assignment against a speedy edge rusher. Kolar is outmatched and doesn’t seem to stand a chance. With that being said, Kolar is able to get a good initial punch on the defender, but fails to establish leverage. Instead, he struggles with the speed and allows the defender to break inside and disrupt the pocket.

Lead Blocking Ability

I’m going to nitpick here a bit because we don’t know what Charlie Kolar was asked to do on this play. However, as a lead blocker for the running back, he misses the inside linebacker in the middle of the field. Had he picked up that blocking assignment, the running back could have at least had a fighting chance. Instead, the Cyclones are only able to pickup a few yards.


The Competition

Unlike 2019, the tight end position has a ton of talent at the top end. At the top, Pat Freiermuth and Kyle Pitts could be two prospects that Kolar will battle for the John Mackey Award, which is handed out to the Nation’s best tight end. Should both of those players find themselves entering the 2021 NFL Draft, it could get quite interesting.

But let’s pump the brakes a bit on the competition, shall we? The tight end position is an odd one in the National Football League. At the NFL Draft, the parity amongst the position is rather high as front offices look for a specific style of player.

Should Charlie Kolar continue to establish himself as one of the top tight ends in the country, we could potentially see him with a first round grade on a franchise’s draft board.


The Verdict

Iowa State’s Charlie Kolar is the type of college football player that you can’t help but root for. He plays football with an old school mentality and willingness to get down and dirty in the trenches.

His abilities in the passing game are solid. He’s able to track balls over his shoulder downfield, even with a defender on his tail. He is explosive off the line of scrimmage and shows the ability to get upfield quickly.

With that being said, I still have some concerns regarding his play. He has all the tools to be a mauler when asked to block, but hasn’t been able to put everything together. In 2019, he struggled against speed off the edge and needs to improve his quickness in identifying defenders in the running game.

Nonetheless, Charlie Kolar is an exciting player to watch for Iowa State. With Brock Purdy expected to be a top quarterback at the FBS level, one can assume that Kolar will be a top target of his. Should Kolar be able to piece everything together, we could be looking at a first round draft grade on him.

And as always, don’t forget to follow NFL Draft Lounge for more content on the 2021 NFL Draft. You can find us on social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also, be sure to follow our podcast.

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