by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of BYU Athletics.
At Draft Nation, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight- BYU, Tight End, Isaac Rex
Name- Isaac Rex
Pos- Tight End
HT/WT- 6’6” 255 lbs.
Home – San Clemente, CA
Isaac Rex played high school football at San Clemente High School in his hometown in California. He was a consensus three-star prospect and was ranked a top-100 recruit in the state of California. He helped lead his team to the California State Championship his senior year, where he was the leading receiver in the playoffs. After the success of his senior season, he was invited to play in the Polynesian Bowl in Hawaii. Rex also was recruited as a basketball player in high school and was twice selected as a first-team All-South Coast shooting guard. He committed to BYU after also being recruited by USC, UCLA, Utah, Arizona State, Virginia, Utah State, Colorado State, Hawaii and San Jose State. After high school and before joining BYU, Rex served a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Samoa from 2017-2019.
As a freshman in 2019, Rex took a redshirt after playing in 3 games and totaling 1 reception for 23 yards. In 2020, he had an exceptional season, starting 12 games and hauling in 37 receptions for 429 yards and 12 touchdowns. His 12 touchdowns were tied for the most by a tight end in the nation and he was named a Freshman All-American by the Athletic for his big season.
As a redshirt sophomore, he started 12 games, catching 18 passes for 191 yards and 3 touchdowns. Towards the end of the season, however, he suffered a complex fracture of his ankle and had to have metal plates and screws inserted. Rex answered the bell in 2022, although he spent most of the year in pain and lost a lot of his speed and explosiveness. He was still able to soldier through and start 13 games while snaring 22 receptions for 320 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Rex came back to BYU for his senior season with one goal in mind—getting back to the playing style he showed early on in his career. He set the all-time record for touchdowns by a tight end in BYU history with 24 career touchdowns and proved that he was fully healthy from his fractured ankle. On the season, he finished with 34 catches for 422 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Isaac Rex explodes off the line of scrimmage and can instantly put pressure on the backend of a defense. For a tight end, he runs precise routes and is hard for linebackers or safeties to mirror. His catch radius is big and he has long limbs to add to the window that the quarterback has to hit to get him the ball. When lined up on the line of scrimmage, he uses his hands well to disengage off of contact and head into his route. He runs like a tall athletic receiver who uses his long stride to gain separation from opponents. His game seems to rise to the next level in the red zone and on short passes in the red zone, he uses his large frame well to box out defenders and be in position to make a play.
Rex is mainly a one-trick pony, though, who brings value in the passing game, but does not add much in terms of blocking and the run game. He creates separation with straight line speed but struggles to move laterally and still get the same level of separation. His age is going to be a huge question mark as he will be 26 before the start of the 2024 season, and a lot of teams won’t have patience to wait on a rookie at that age. Though he appears to have come back from his nasty fractured ankle injury, it will still be in the back of some scouts and front office minds. Injuries like this can become problems again down the road.
John Bates was a 4th round pick out of Boise State in 2021 and has a lot of similarities to Isaac Rex. Bates was a receiver first at Boise State and although he was not a red zone fiend like Rex, he was exceptional at moving the chains. Rex, like Bates, has the capability to be a solid #2 or #3 tight end in the NFL.
Red zone weapon
Isaac Rex’s age alone will make it an uphill battle for him to get drafted. At 26, most teams will not spend a draft pick on him and look for him as an undrafted free agent. He has the ability to be a red zone weapon and could be a value pick late in the draft.
Draft Nation Draft Prediction - Round 7 or UDFA