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Is he a tight end or is he a wide receiver?  Michigan’s Devin Funchess has some great film out there and has some junk plays, too.  His timed forty at the NFL Combine did not impress with a dfunchesspedestrian 4.70 for a wide out, but improved his time a lot in Ann Arbor.  I attempted to take off my fandom hat as I came into this world in Ann Arbor and reviewed seven of his games against Notre Dame, Appalachian State, Utah, Ohio State, Indiana, Penn State, and Michigan State.  This was a broad view because it featured him playing some wide receiver this season and tight end last season.  This is what I saw:

TE/WR Devin Funchess, Michigan 6’ 4” 232 lbs.

Cons: My first criticism of Funchess is that it takes him too much time to get to full speed and then also gear down to change directions aka a long strider.  This causes him to chop his feet too much, which lets defensive backs and linebackers get the chance to stay close to him.  I rarely saw him shield the ball from defenders; instead he would rather be in jump ball situations.  The play maker must make better use of his size against smaller defenders.

For a man as athletic as he is, Funchess does not have much fluidity and looks rather robotic out there and struggles to block for longer than a second or two.  His varied efforts to catch the ball are also maddening.  There are times he snares the ball crisply at its highest point and then the next play lets the ball into his body only to bobble it away.  Funchess sometimes hears footsteps and struggles to catch the ball around multiple defenders even though he can out leap them all.  His quarterback did not do him any favors protecting him with throws that only he could get to though.

Funchess does not have much wiggle as you can see if you watch him on bubble screens.  He rarely made anyone miss him and he goes down with arm tackles.  That is not what you want from a man his size.

Pros: He lined up on the outside, slot, and as a traditional tight end (in 2013 about half the time).  Funchess gets off the line of scrimmage with good power and leverage.  I thought his best route was a seven yard hook where he would come back to the ball and spin around racing towards the sideline.  He is a better short to intermediate route runner than a deep threat.  The play maker has a lot of success running crossing routes, freeing him up in space, so he can show off his second gear.  Funchess adjusts well to the ball in the air, can sell a double move or two, and makes a lot of contested catches with a single defender draped on him.

There is more athleticism to his game than it seems when he tracks the ball well downfield and high points to the ball.  He uses his hands well to get into position to make the catch and can bust out a hurdle or stiff-arm if it gets him some open road.  Near the end zone, Funchess comes alive making bucket catches and doing a good job making sure both of his feet are down on the sidelines or at the pylons.  During his sophomore year, Funchess looked more like Aaron Hernandez than Rob Gronkowski.

Overall thoughts: In a draft devoid of star tight end talent, Funchess would be better served fantasy-wise as a tight end.  He is not a physically or mentally tough player just yet.  I think that he has enough talent to become a scary matchup play for most teams.  Think of him as a rawer Kelvin Benjamin with a splash of the good Hernandez.

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