Zack Kuntz is one of the most athletic specimens in the 2023 NFL Draft.
And his NFL dreams came true Saturday evening in Kansas City, when the New York Jets selected him 220th overall as a seventh round pick.
The Old Dominion prospect quickly became one of the talks of the NFL Combine with his sheer dominance in a multitude of drills. He measured in at 6’7” and 255 pounds as the tallest tight end in this draft class. But Kuntz’s success at the Combine went beyond basic measurements. He clocked in at 4.55 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 6.87 seconds in the 3-cone drill, and 4.12 seconds in the shuttle run.
The often-utilized Combine metric known as Relative Athletic Score (RAS) was developed by Kent Lee Platte, and is commonly referred to in draft circles. Kuntz scored a perfect 10.0 with elite size, speed, and explosiveness scores.
Kuntz initiated his college career at Penn State, where he secured three catches across two years as a Nittany Lion. When Penn State offensive coordinator Ricky Rahne was named head coach of Old Dominion, Kuntz followed suit and watched his college career blossom. Old Dominion sat out the 2020 pandemic-altered season, but when the program retook the field in 2021, Kuntz became an emerging star.
The tight end hauled in 73 receptions for 692 yards in 2021, reaching the end zone on five separate occasions. Kuntz led all Old Dominion players in catches and pieced together two 100-yard performances in a season which warranted a First Team All-C-USA selection.
Kuntz was unable to build on that success in 2022 as he suffered an undisclosed season-ending injury which required surgery. In five starts, Kuntz registered 12 receptions for 144 yards and two touchdowns — displaying his tremendous red zone presence in limited opportunities.
The Old Dominion product joins a Jets roster which features Tyler Conklin and C.J. Uzomah at tight end — both listed at 6’3”. Kuntz adds a different dimension to the roster with his size, and he has proven to be a tremendous pass catcher. Refining his technique as a run blocker could be Kuntz’s gateway to more playing time at the professional level.
He is the third Monarch drafted in 2023, following offensive tackle Nick Saldiveri (fourth round) and cornerback Tre Hawkins III (sixth round). With three draft picks in 2023, Old Dominion more than doubled its historical NFL Draft output. Prior to this spring, 2019 selections Oshane Ximines and Travis Fulgham were the only draft picks in program history.