The thankless task of projecting tight ends

February 17th, 2014 | Written by Rob Staton

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, yet another TE who could sink or swim in the NFL

Tight end is one of the toughest positions to judge.

At least for me it is.

Essentially, the NFL is full of really average tight ends.

And yet they’re all so different at the same time.

What should we be looking for?

Everyone wants to find the next big thing, but for whatever reason it’s just so damn difficult.

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The most highly touted prospect I’ve covered since starting this blog was Jermaine Gresham. He was considered a huge talent at Oklahoma. A true difference maker.

At the combine he ran a 4.66 — which was pretty good at 261lbs. Not elite, but fair. His vertical jump (35 inches) was superior to the likes of Jason Witten (31) and just shy of Jimmy Graham’s (38.5).

He wasn’t joining a team with a hopeless passing game — whatever you want to say about Andy Dalton, the Bengals have put up yards since 2011.

He had the luxury of playing alongside a superstar in A.J. Green — a player who regularly draws extra attention in coverage.

Yet for whatever reason it just hasn’t worked for Gresham. He is the very definition of average.

He’s a classic ‘bye week’ fantasy tight end. He’s always on the waiver wire. You’re hoping the week you grab him in desperation is that one, strange week he actually does something.

We’ve all been there.

And more often than not you’re left completely disappointed.

He has 2262 yards in four seasons and 19 touchdowns. After his most productive campaign in 2012 (737 yards, five scores), the Bengals went out and drafted another tight end (Tyler Eifert) in round one.

For all the promise he showed in college, we’ve seen such rampant mediocrity at the next level.

This was supposed to be a can’t miss type pick. Really, it’s just a classic example of how difficult it is to project tight ends to the pro’s.

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Here’s a list of TE’s taken between rounds 1-3 in the four drafts prior to 2013:

Brandon Pettigrew (1st rounder, 2009)
Richard Quinn (2nd rounder, 2009)
Jared Cook (3rd rounder, 2009)
Chase Coffman (3rd rounder, 2009)
Travis Beckum (3rd rounder, 2009)
Jermaine Gresham (1st rounder, 2010)
Rob Gronkowski (2nd rounder, 2010)
Ed Dickson (3rd rounder, 2010)
Tony Moeaki (3rd rounder, 2010)
Jimmy Graham (3rd rounder, 2010)
Kyle Rudolph (2nd rounder, 2011)
Lance Kendricks (2nd rounder, 2011)
Rob Housler (3rd rounder, 2011)
Coby Fleener (2nd rounder, 2012)
Dwayne Allen (3rd rounder, 2012)
Michael Egnew (3rd rounder, 2012)

That’s a heck of a lot of swinging and missing.

There’s everything in that list above. Big production, minimal production. Great size, smaller tight ends. Athleticism, more of a blocker.

And out of 16 players drafted in the first three rounds between 2009-12 — about three guys made it happen.

Three.

So much swinging. So much missing.

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It’s a similar story with the 2013 class. Of the six tight ends taken in the first three rounds — the guy picked right at the end of the third (Jordan Reed) had the best rookie year.

Gavin Escobar, Travis Kelce, Vance McDonald, Zach Ertz, Tyler Eifert.

All usurped by Reed — a guy who ran a 4.72.

Drafting this position early, to put it bluntly, scares the crap out of me.

How do you know what you’re going to get?

Michael Egnew ran a 4.62, had a 37.5 inch vertical jump and managed 21 reps on the bench press. He looked every bit the next big ‘move’ tight end at 6-5 and 255lbs. I really liked his potential, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he was high up on Seattle’s list.

He went in the third round to Miami.

In two years he has seven catches for 69 yards and zero touchdowns.

Coby Fleener — solid, Stanford guy. 4.52 speed, 27 reps on the bench. Looked sensational at his pro-day too. He’s a very early second round pick after a lot of talk he could go in the top 20.

He’s even drafted by Indianapolis, the team that just picked his guy to play quarterback — Andrew Luck.

The end result? Drops galore, loads of errors and a marginal NFL target for Luck.

Both players look like the kind of guys you’d take a chance on.

And yet neither is working out as planned.

Then you look at players who did make it work in 2013…

Julius Thomas — a former 4th round pick who ran a 4.64 and spent his college career playing basketball.

Jordan Cameron — another ex-Basketball guy and another former 4th rounder. Ran a 4.53 with a 37.5 inch vertical jump at the combine in 2011.

Antonio Gates — undrafted in 2003, enjoying a renaissance season after a mountain of injuries. Yep — you guessed it — basketball background.

It seems to me a better plan might be to keep searching for those 4.5/4.6 runners who converted from basketball. Dig around in the later rounds to find the next gem.

Seattle had some success uncovering Luke Willson last year with this type of approach.

At least your not making too much of a commitment, because a lot of these early round picks are bombing and it’s costly.

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Let’s have a look at the upcoming class. Five names stand out going into the combine.

Eric Ebron — the perceived big-time athlete and former basketball talent (take note). He’s getting the big props, a bit like Gresham, with people suggesting he could be the next great tight end to enter the league.

Jace Amaro — an over-sized receiver who doesn’t have great speed but oozes control and manages to find ways to get open. He excelled in a prolific passing offense, but how will he adjust to the next level when he’s not operating in an extreme spread system?

Austin Seferian-Jenkins — At times at Washington he looked like an insane prospect, with ideal size and a solid all-round game. More of a throwback tight end, not just a joker. Some have expressed concern over an entitled attitude. Does he want to be great?

Troy Niklas — a massive tight end with great height and size. Was considered a tackle prospect initially. He can get downfield but he might be better off training to be a blocker first. How fast is he?

Richard Rogers — the wildcard. Touted to flash extreme athleticism at the combine, he drifted under the radar at rotten California. Just how physically talented is he? And can he become more than just a great athlete?

All five have their issues.

Is Ebron really going to put in the kind of performance he’s touting? Can he be the next basketball convert to take over the league?

Amaro’s size can be instantly compared to Gavin Escobar in 2012. He had a very disappointing combine and it hurt his stock. I just don’t see a great athlete here and the combine might not be a good thing for Amaro.

Seferian-Jenkins needs to turn up in great shape and flash the kind of 5-star athleticism that had all the big schools trying to recruit him. If he does it, someone will take a shot early. But there’s every chance he runs a 4.7 or worse.

Niklas might be the latest player off Notre Dame’s tight end conveyor belt, but it also means he has limited experience on the field. Before the 2013 season he had just five catches for 75 yards. That’s it. And he wasn’t a focal point on the offense when he eventually became the starter. It was somewhat surprising he chose to declare.

Rogers has a shot to move up the board with a great work out. If he doesn’t run in the 4.4′s or early 4.5′s — why would you take a shot early? There’s not a great deal to get excited about on tape, even if that’s mostly down to one of the worst passing offenses in the NCAA.

Honestly, I could see all five players entering the NFL and having success. But I can also see all five adding to the list of flops.

There really isn’t a classic modern tight end where you can say — this guy ticks the right boxes so he will be this type of player.

Whether you’re bigger, smaller, faster, more powerful or whatever. All types have failed in recent years.

Here’s the order I’d put them in terms of how much confidence I’ve got in their ability to succeed:

#1 Ebron #2 ASJ #3 Amaro #4 Rogers #5 Niklas

We get a chance to see all five work out on Saturday. The combine gets under way with the tight ends and offensive linemen going through drills.

Also — keep an eye on Fresno State’s Marcel Jensen. What he lacked in consistent production, he makes up for in potential. He’s a very intriguing player.

I’ll write a review of day one from Indianapolis on Saturday evening. I’ll be live-blogging on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday during the other work outs.

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Monday links

Speaking of tight ends, Mike Huguenin has a nice piece comparing the combine results of previous players and discussing this years crop.

Huguenin on Seferian-Jenkins:

” His combine performance should be excellent, and if you like Seferian-Jenkins, that will strengthen those feelings. But will that combine performance win over any detractors?”

Mike Mayock has published his pre-combine rankings. I love Mayock, but for someone who’s so cagey about doing a mock draft — I’m surprised he puts out an early list like this. It nearly always changes so dramatically after the combine.

His tight end list goes: Ebron, ASJ, Amaro, Niklas, C.J. Fiedorowicz.

Nolan Narwocki has put together a piece for NFL.com, looking at ten players with ‘character’ issues.

Here’s what he has to say about Johnny Manziel, and it aint pretty:

“…not a leader by example or known to inspire by his words. Carries a sense of entitlement and prima-donna arrogance seeking out the bright lights of Hollywood. Is known to party too much and is drawn to all the trappings of the game. Has defied the odds and proven to be a great college-system quarterback, but still must prove he is willing to work to be great, adjust his hard-partying, Hollywood lifestyle and be able to inspire his teammates by more than his playmaking ability.”

Friend of the blog Kenneth Arthur has written a detailed off-season projection for Field Gulls.

Arthur, on the cap conundrum facing the Seahawks:

“Very soon — possibly before this article is published — the Seahawks will really start making offseason news. It will likely start with the releases of some popular veterans, and possibly some other re-negotiations. As of February 17, OvertheCap.com says that the Oakland Raiders have over $60,000,000 in cap space for next season. Per Davis Hsu’s latest projections on next years Seattle roster, the Seahawks are spending $60 million on the offense and defense… each.”

Finally, and seeing as we’re on the subject of tight ends, here’s some new tape on Jace Amaro vs Texas:

Shop for Conference Champs and Super Bowl XLVIII Match Up Merchandise at NFLShop.com

67 Responses to “The thankless task of projecting tight ends”

  1. Mike Chan says:

    I agree with buying low on TE’s. Anthony McCoy was a great sixth round pick, as was Luke Willson. If we want to go 3 for 3 (likely so if Miller is gone) we can get Marcel Jansen or Arthur Lynch late, depending who you want.

  2. AlaskaHawk says:

    Rob – I’ve seen the Seahawks pick several late round defensive players and train them for offense. Sweezy being a good example. Do you think that could happen at tight end? How cool would it be to have a 300 pound blocking tight end that can also catch the ball? Just need to find a late round defensive guy that can catch the ball.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Seattle loves to break convention — if there’s any chance of a 300lbs receiver catching passes, they’d be the ones to make it reality. I’d love to see it. I wouldn’t want to be that guys’ knees though…

    • Ray says:

      That’s an interesting thought,Alaska, I’ve been wondering something similar. It occurred to me that an athlete like ASJ would would make one hell of a Leo. Is there any plausibility in drafting one of these “freak” TE prospects and converting him into a pass rushing specialist? Any thoughts on the subject Rob?

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      I want to see Tyler Starr at TE.

    • bigDhawk says:

      Brent Urban at TE fits this description perfectly, including the giraffe knees that scream ‘short career’ at any position.

  3. stuart says:

    Great day to read about our Seahawks! After watching the TE Amaro I hope the Hawks don’t take him in the first, no worries it would never happen. No expert here but the very first play was a high pass that he couldn’t bring in. Yes it was a high throw but RW has lots of those. At first I thought it was just an overthrow but on the replay he could have had it. When the football hits your hands, you need to make the catch.

    Then there were times when the QB was in trouble and he was very late in recognizing this and only made matador attempts to help out his scrambling QB. Maybe it was not part of his system down there or I just missed it but I don’t recall any chip blocks either.

    Rob’s theory it great, look for big athletic former bb players for late round gems, perfect!

  4. MarkinSeattle says:

    Rob, on Niklas, I was also quite surprised at him declaring. With Tommy Rees’ physical limitations, he didn’t get a lot of balls thrown his way (and was required to do a lot of pass blocking). Seems like it would have made a lot of sense to stay in and have a good year with Golson.

    To expound a little bit, Niklas was recruited by USC as a LT, by Stanford as a TE, and by ND as a DE. He came to ND, where they moved him to OLB after about a week of running around on the field (he was much faster than they anticipated). He moved to TE his second year. His nickname is Hercules, so he should put up good numbers on the strength related exercises. However I don’t think he is going to post a faster 40 time than Eifert. My guess is that he will end up around a 4.8. Measurables should be good though with a height of over 6’6″ and weight around 260. I don’t think that he will be a pass catching phenom, but he has the physical ability to be a good blocker and a decent target (with little after the catch yards).

    I was quite surprised to see mock drafts list him as a second round target. I would have thought he would be a round 4-6 type player based on limited production and appearances in games, and the lack of top end speed. Not to say he won’t develop into a starting TE, I think he has every chance to (especially given ND’s recent production at TE), yet the second round seems way to high to me unless he surprises and runs a sub 4.7 40.

  5. Robert says:

    I like the idea of PCJS exploring the possibility of spending a late round pick on Colt “cocaine” Lyerla.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think this team has had enough drug related storylines, be it PED or recreational.

    • Cameron says:

      Dude straight up walked away from football. Not cool.

      • troy says:

        How many 18-23 yr old do you know that constantly make all the right choices? Not every player is going to be as mature or at the level as a guy like Russell Wilson was coming out.
        There have been several guys in college that have had similar off the field issues and after entering the NFL theyve managed to put those problems in check. I see no reason to think Colt Lyerla can not overcome and do the same. If not, youre out a 7th RD pick, not that big of a deal and Id argue well worth the RISK/REWARD.

        • Robert says:

          Agreed…I sniff an opportunity to risk a low round draft pick on a prospect with high potential…literally!

        • Rob Staton says:

          Troy — I’d seriously recommend looking more into Lyerla’s background so that we can avoid going over this over and over again.

          This isn’t just someone who made a bad decision or two. His issues are predominantly family based and not easily removed from the equation. In fact it might be impossible.

          Let fans of other teams pine for this guy.

      • Robert says:

        The report I read said he was caught by the police sniffing cocaine in his car. He was suspended from the team. Then he decided to quit the team to focus on the court ordered rehab, outpatient program and community service. He then moved to Las Vegas to live with his trainer and prepare for his football career. If that story checks out, he might be a great prospect with tremendous upside.

  6. David Mast says:

    I was reading the article you mentioned over on fieldgulls, I like the idea of giving Kenny Britt a 1yr prove it contract. He has the ability and skill set to be a great receiver. I think he would enjoy the atmosphere here in Seattle and and have a great season. Plus Pete Carroll seems like he has a thing for turning around players like him… Wouldn’t that be great!

    Britt when 100% has the ability to make our offense a BIG threat.

    • Rob Staton says:

      For me, he’s a complete liability. A walking arrest. I just think you can’t trust this guy. He was told he was on his last chance in TEN and still made bone head decisions. What a waste.

      • CC says:

        Agree Rob – taking other teams players with problems isn’t going to make us better. I’d rather draft someone or develope one of the guys we already have.

      • Jake says:

        It could make sense if you figure our locker room has a strong enough culture now to keep one or two guys like that in line. Kind of how Dennis Rodman was a head case until the Bulls were able to make him into a highly productive player.

        Pete does love giving guys second chances.

  7. David Mast says:

    Also, I was just watching Brandon Coleman tape for the past hour or so, he does have huge upside, I’m talking the next Alshon Jeffory or josh Gordon…

    I have a feeling he can become a defensive terror on PA pass. He has some good double moves, where he will fake a slant then cut back up field and has the speed to get separation. I really hope that’s why JS has been visiting Rutgers, to draft him.

  8. Ben2 says:

    What happed to the former basketball player we had in training camp last year (maybe practice squad time too?). Can’t recall his name….any chance he pops up again this year and earns some pt?

    • Jordan says:

      Darren Fells, I believe he is currently on the practice squad. Would love to see him really take a step and compete for a spot in camp this year.

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      Darren Fells. Been gone for a while. We haven’t the space on our roster really to keep him around.

    • Madmark says:

      I think they bring him back again this year for camp they signed him to a 3 year contract. Another thing is he was with RW and the receivers practicing in California last year. His nickname is Diesal

  9. Alexander Hsie says:

    Interesting. It should be noted that ASJ is also a basketball player. He even briefly played on the Huskies BB squad.

    • CC says:

      He played a full year as a freshman – came off the bench, but played well at times. He is a talented athlete, but I’m not sure he’s a Petey kind of guy. As a freshman, he played so well but didn’t live up to the hype. As a Husky, I wish him well, but would rather see him get drafted by another team.

  10. Don says:

    Rob, what about drafting Brandon Colemen as the Hawks Joke TE? He has the size, 6′-6″, speed, athletism. He can catch. Can he block?

    1sr rd Allen Robinson WR

    2nd Rd Brandon Coleman TE

    • Don says:

      I see Colemen as comparable to Julius Thomas of Denver. Also, Colemen could be a TE on one play, and move to WR on the next, causing problems for the defense.

    • Rob Staton says:

      He’s only 220lbs so he’s extremely light for a tight end. For me he needs to stay out wide — make the most of his size against the sideline.

  11. EdC says:

    Rice/Miller/Clemons/Mebane – cut
    Thurmond/Giacomini/Tate/Bennett – gone

    Kearse for Rice
    Wilson for Miller
    Irvin for Clemons
    Williams for Mebane
    Lane for Thurmond
    Bailey for Giacomini
    Baldwin for Tate
    Hill for Bennett

    We are in better shape than most Superbowl teams. We are best player available. DL/OG/TE/WR are our biggest needs

    • David M says:

      Also, dont forget about Akeem Auguste, he is a smaller corner (like Thrumond) off the practice squad, last year was his rookie year, but Sherman talked about him a LOT, praising him in many ways. so look for him to be on the 53 man this year, as a backup or starter in there dime

    • bigDhawk says:

      There are a couple precipitous drop-offs in that list – Mebane to Williams and Bennett to Hill. We will be significantly worse on defense next year if those become reality. Fortunately I don’t see Mebane going anywhere next year, and if Bennett leaves we will have options in FA.

    • Grant says:

      uhhh… you don’t cut the first four guys to let all of the next four guys walk. As a wise man once said, “that don’t make no cents”.

  12. plyka says:

    The TE position is like every position: impossible to judge talent just based on the metrics of size, speed, strength. There are physical freaks who just do not have the football playing ability.

    I think what is most important in these offensive positions like QB, WR, RB and TE, is not size/strength/speed as much as the eye test. How does he catch? How does he run? Is he easy to bring down? Does he have a knack to get open? Does he have the body control necessary? Does he have ball security? etc.

    For defensive positions, and the oline, it is weighted the other way: size/speed/strength matter more than just the eye test. Although the eye test is important, I would take size/strength/speed/durability in these positions as being far more important.

  13. Lubbock Air Corps says:

    In full disclosure I am biased as a TTU alum, but also someone who watches 8-10 Tech games a year. Jace Amaro will be an effective NFL tight end. As with most draft prospect he comes with the common caveat that he needs to be acquired by a team with an offense that will utilize him most effectively. In my opinion he can have strong success if employed in a similar fashion to how Dallas Clark was used, primarily split wide or in 2 TE formations as the wide TE. Due the current roster construction of the Seahawks and how he will be best be utilized, I do not feel he would be a great pick for the team, particularly where he is expected to go. If he ends up on New England, Indianapolis, Denver or Arizona’s roster he will be a year 1 contributor.

  14. troy says:

    Your article gives all the more reason to CONSIDER Colt Lyerla as a 7th RD project. I believe the leadership in our locker room on both sides of the ball could handle a player with this many question marks. If the guy can come in a push for a roster spot and contribute as a 7th RD why wouldnt you want to @ least consider it. If it doesnt work out, youre out a 7th RD pick and its pretty easy to move forward from as they do it every year. But it doesnt make a lot of sense to me to just slam the door shut when theres so much value at such an inexpensive cost. I would feel much better rolling the dice on Colt Lyerla in the 7th than drafting one of the previously mentioned guys with our 1st or 2nd RD picks and you just empahsized and highlighted exactly why…

    • Rob Staton says:

      We’ve done the Lyerla debate to death.

      People need to read into this guy and not just look at size, speed and position.

      And I think this point stands over anything else — the Seattle Seahawks have had enough drug related stories, be it PED or recreational. They don’t need another one.

    • bigDhawk says:

      A lot will depend on how he interviews. Remember, our SB MVP was a 7th round pick, so they are not entirely a role of the dice. Unless Colt just astounds in the interview room, I would be more comfortable taking that chance on him as an UDFA.

      • troy says:

        I respect what youre saying Rob, I dont agree but I respect it. It doesnt matter what I or you or anyone else thinks anyhow, this FO doesnt work off of convientinal wisdom. Im just exploring options, I think if you can answer a need without over spending you consider it. I guess we’ll see how he does at the combine, if he performs well who knows how high some GMs will rate his stock. For the timing being its fun to imagine, Im probably wrong and thats ok… most times people are. As far as the difference between a 7th and an UDFA… it goes both way bigDhawk.. look no further than Doug Baldwin. So you cant say a 7th RD guy is going to come in earn a roster spot anymore than an UDFA. Im just thinking about the 4% possibility hes there and the Hawks feel like “hey we could really utilize this kids talent” If Ive learned anything its to expect them to do what the rest of the NFL views as “risky” or unconvientinal. Anyhow big tip of the hat to you Rob for what you do and the time and energy you put in here, I LOVE SDB… Its by far, hands down my favorite site.

  15. Madmark says:

    On your list above Travis Beckum 3rd round pick in 2009 was signed to compete in camp. I’m really interest in Anthony McCoy and what happens with him. I think Darrel Fells will be back in camp with more training since he’d never played the position before but man 6’8″ 280Lbs. he was a project to start with and that’s why they signed him for 3 years. What I’m not sure about is if Zach Miller will be back but I know Willson will and a couple others will be brought in to compete but I wouldn’t be wasting a 1st and 2nd round pick for one since TE seems to take more training than a WR does.

  16. Emperor_MA says:

    I like Marcel Jensen a lot. I watched quite a bit of film on Davante Adams and you could watch Jensen make a few great catches the few times they threw him the ball. The Bulldogs just don’t use the TE much …. when you have Davante Adams, Josh Harper and Isaiah Burse running routes and Derek Carr throwing the ball, there really isn’t much of a need to look inside. :-)

    Jensen blocks pretty damn well and looks HUGE compared to defenders. A guy like him in round four to compete with Willson, McCoy and Fells should be a value add.

    • Emperor_MA says:

      Forgot to add about Jensen …. he was runner up as league MVP in basketball his senior year in HS. He was also an all-conference academic performer all his years at Fresno State.

  17. KyleT says:

    The basketball theory around tight ends is interesting and has been examined as a factor for tight end success because so many successful tight end have basketball backgrounds as you have pointed out. While there is an athletic component to this factor that surely contributes, the more accurate explanation in regards to the correlation of success has a lot to do with the ability to catch a ball in traffic while shielding the defender from being able to make a play.

    We currently do not have this guy on our team in the receiving corps or the tight end group, and I believe this is our single largest need on offense to make our red zone and third-down success more consistent. It’s also the reason why Coleman is not at the top of my receiver wish list, I’ve seen no proof that he offers this ability, regardless of his height. Coleman would help us score more home runs though. Although one could argue we were fairly good at that already.

    I really like the idea of picking Marcel Jensen late, or a guy like Allen Robins in round one if he’s available to be this type of receiving threat. It seems to be a comment made on this blog and in the comments section that tall fast and big equals red zone threat or third down relief valve, even if it’s not intended to mean that, I see the association made fairly consistently, which is I’m guessing how Coleman’s name keeps coming up. Being sub 5 foot obviously detracts from this ability, but the most prototypical possession receiver in the game is Anquan Boldin. He is listed at 6’1, 216 and ran a 4.72 40 and plays completely opposite a style of game compared to Brandon Coleman.

    We need this draft year’s Anquan Boldin on our offense.

    • CC says:

      The WRs in the lower rounds (4-6) I’m looking at are Devin Street Pitt 6’3″ or 4 with probably high 4.4s low 4.5s and Chris Boyd Vandy.

  18. David Ess says:

    Seahawks just signed Chris Matthews 6’5 220 reciever from the CFL, camp body prolly but, hes 24 and big

    Seahawks sign wide receiver Chris Matthews to a 2014 future contract.— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) February 18, 2014

    • KyleT says:

      http://www.fieldgulls.com/2013-nfl-offseason/2014/2/18/5423650/seahawks-sign-wr-chris-matthews

      That explanation of what this guy brings to the table, and the brief video clip perfectly underscores the point I was trying to make above.

    • David M says:

      He is a big bodied guy who takes a bit to get to full speed. By his tape and several comments, looks like he has outstanding hands. Those 3rd and 7s we struggle could now become easy, you know how Calvin Johnson takes a slant across the middle, yeah I can see this guy doing that, he is no megatron but I like a big body going against a safety for short yardage. Scouts also noted he is great at blocking, both DB’s and OLB, which is great in our system. Can’t wait for OTA’s and such to get started

    • CC says:

      I like this signing a lot – the kid can catch and he has good speed. He’s not going to run away from anyone but he can get up and get the ball. He may be more than a camp body – he could be what they were looking for in Harper and Stephens last year. Harper couldn’t catch and Stephens couldn’t block or be on special teams – both kinda important for this team.

      They’ve signed Van Roten and now Matthews – guess we know what positions we’re looking to add some depth in the off season. If they sign a TE it will be the trifecta

      • AlaskaHawk says:

        I couldn’t agree more. Chris Matthews is the big wide receiver we have been looking for. Outstanding rookie season in the CFL. I can’t wait to see him play.

        Going for the trifecta :-)

      • David M says:

        They did sign a TE, Beckum out of NY. he is better than lead hands Kellen Davis. He may not be the bes blocker but he can be a receiving threat underneath. I would be ok with him, Willson, and McCoy, that’s if Miller is let go. Lu’s I like what they did at the end of the season adding Bailey as a 3rd TE. That seemed to work better than having an actual TE in.

  19. HawkTease says:

    There’s been alot of buzz about TE-Jordan Najvar since the Shrine Game. He measures 6’6/260. He could be Troy Niklas with a 6-7th round price tag. The discount is due to the fact that he wasn’t asked to contribute in the passing game at Baylor. He is an accomplished blocker but his pass catching chops were an enigma up until this point. Many scouts came away impressed with his smooth route running, soft hands and catch radius. Many scouts also report that he looked quicker than they anticipated (much faster than Crockette Gillmore by most accounts). If our prerogative is to replace Zach Miller with a cheap and viable alternative, Najvar seems to fit that bill.

    • CC says:

      Xavier Grimble USC and Richard Rodgers Cal are a couple of other guys that may fit in a lower round draft choices for TE. 6’5″ and 6’4″ with 40 times in the 4.7s – not Luke Willson’s speed but maybe have that combo that we could lose if Miller goes.

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        Richard Rodgers has a completely different build than both Willson and Grimble.

        He’s a pure joker. He’s like 6’4 245 running a 4.6 easy.

  20. Grant says:

    I know a lot of people are down on ASJ, but I think he has his head on straight, and is going to be a monster at the pro level. I know a lot of hawk fans would probably have Jerramy Stevens flashbacks if we drafted him, but I wouldn’t mind a bit. Guy is a good blocker, seemingly knows the whole route tree, and is a huge red zone weapon.

    • Belgaron says:

      Unfortunately, there must be some damage or he’d go top 15 or at least 25. For him to drop to 32, half a dozen teams to be safe need to either like other guys better or be too worried about the risk.

      Seattle should be pretty adept by now at ascertaining his real potential and he might be an option. They like guys that truly love the game and aren’t just in it for the perks. His combine should show if he is dedicated or not but they will definitely have other options to consider as well, assuming he isn’t long gone.

      • AlaskaHawk says:

        I wonder if the mock drafts aren’t valueing tight ends too high. After reading all the statistics about success rates it doesn’t seem worthwhile until the third round. Also the tight end position is slowly going the way of fullbacks. It’s being used less and less. If so, we may be able to pick up one of the top five tight ends with the 64th pick.