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Although the Senior Bowl was short on overall tight end talent, Miami’s Clive Walford stood shoulders above the rest.  In a relatively weak tight end draft class, this tight end might be the most wellclive rounded (receiving and blocking) when compared to Minnesota’s Maxx Williams and Michigan’s Devin Funchess, who might play receiver or tight end depending on the team’s decision.  I watched four of his college games against Florida State, Florida Atlantic, Duke and Virginia along with his week of practices in Mobile to get a good understanding of what skills he can bring to the next level.

TE Clive Walford, Miami 6’ 4” 263 lbs.

Cons: The tight end can get a little handsy when he is blocking.  Walford needs to keep his hands inside when driving defenders back.  I would say he gets the job done as a run blocker, but could certainly work on perfecting his craft.  There were a few times he let the ball too much into his body instead of catching it cleanly out in front.  The tight end also needs to improve the crispness of his routes as he drifted at times. 

Pros (receiving): Walford is an offensive weapon who can line up as a traditional tight end, in the slot, or on the outside like a wide receiver. He is a good athlete for a man his size that shows an amazing amount of fluidity and balance. This is easy to see when he swims off the line past defensive ends and linebackers trying to get in his way.  Sometimes the big man looks more like a receiver with his double moves, catches in stride, and ability to attack the ball in the air above safeties and linebackers.

Walford makes contested catches in tight coverage, contorts to the ball in the air, fights for extra yardage, and is quite the red zone threat using his strength to knock defenders away from his body.  He has a knack for exploiting open spaces in zone coverage and then runs thru arm tackles. There aren’t many tight ends that can make a tippy-toed catch like he does; it takes a lot of concentration.  Then again how many traditional tight ends have a spin move that they can break out on occasion?

Pros (blocking): He can seal off the edge in the run game, creating a clear lane. Once the ball carrier gets past him, Walford moves onto the next defender to block. The tight end also blocks downfield once a pass gets caught, creating more space to run.  He seems to enjoy smashing into people.

Overall thoughts: Walford could have the upside to become Colts’ Dwayne Allen-lite (a good blocker/receiving threat combo).  He has the nastiness and athleticism to do it.  On the other hand, his worst case scenario would be the Bengals Jermaine Gresham, who is a big, clunky tight end that is a better blocker than receiver.

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