The 2016 NFL Draft is quickly approaching. During this time, the potential draftees are under a lot of pressure and scrutiny. One of the first to crack was former Western Kentucky tight end Tyler Higbee, who got arrested on April 10th and charged with second degree assault, second degree evading police, and alcohol intoxication. His agent has let it be known that Higbee defended his girlfriend from another male bar patron. That may or may not reason away a physical altercation, but disregarding the police’s authority and driving while intoxicated are not so easy to dismiss. However, I will focus the majority of this scouting report on his college film as I reviewed his 2015 games against Indiana, Miami (OH), and Marshall to get a better idea of what skills and attributes he brings to the next level. Here are my thoughts:
Tag Archives: tight ends
The 2016 NFL Draft is rapidly approaching and one of the trickiest positions to fill is that of a tight end. For every Rob Gronkowski in the league, there are ten Vance McDonalds. Former Stanford Cardinal Austin Hooper is somewhere between my Gronk-McDonald comparison. He wasn’t a featured target with only 74 career receptions in two years of work, so film work is a bit limited. I reviewed his 2015 game against USC, a 2014 Notre Dame game, and his career highlights to get a better idea of what skills and attributes he will deliver to the next level. These are my thoughts:
The 2016 NFL Draft has a few talented football players, who do not have natural positions. The one this article discusses is former UCLA Bruin Thomas Duarte. He is a tweener because of his size, not due to his play. By just glancing at his 2015 statistics: 53 receptions for 872 yards (16.5 average per catch) and ten touchdowns, it’s clear that he is a play maker. There isn’t a lot of game film available on draftbreakdown.com for him, but I did find two 2015 games against California and Colorado, along with highlights from his freshman and sophomore college years to get a better idea of what this young man brings to the next level. Here are my thoughts:
Every year there is criticism to what positions at the NFL Draft are its weakest. Most all draft pundits are in agreement that this year’s tight end class does not have a single first rounder and might only have one second rounder, Hunter Henry from Arkansas. What makes him so special that he could get drafted in the second round? I reviewed his 2015 games against Kansas State, Toledo, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State (2014 and 2015) to get a better feel with what this young man will bring to the next level. Here are my thoughts:
Here are a few lists broken down by offensive positions. Tomorrow I will post my defensive pre-draft rankings.
- Jared Goff, California
- Carson Wentz, North Dakota State
- Paxton Lynch, Memphis
- Connor Cook, Michigan State
- Christian Hackenberg, Penn State
- Cardale Jones, Ohio State
- Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
- Jeff Driskell, Louisiana Tech
- Vernon Adams Jr, Oregon
The 2016 NFL Draft has surprises around every corner for NFL owners and fantasy players alike. One of those could be former South Carolina’s tight end Jerell Adams. If you just look at his college statistics, there isn’t much to see: less than 70 receptions, seven total touchdowns, and under a thousand yards in four years of college production. I decided to take a closer look watching his game against Missouri, and Senior Bowl (game and practices) along with several youtube.com highlights of his biggest plays to get a better idea of the skills and attributes Adams can bring to the next level. This is what intrigued me:
Dynasty fantasy owners are always searching for unknown gems. One of this year’s diamonds in the rough, David Morgan II, played for the University of Texas-San Antonio (USTA) posting 45 catches for 566 yards and five touchdowns his senior year. He received an East/West Shrine invite, slightly injured his knee during practices, and went home to train for the NFL Combine. There isn’t a lot of game tape on Morgan, just his Arizona game and a few highlight reels. Thankfully the former Roadrunner (yes that is his college’s mascot) put up an impressive performance at the NFL Combine to help us evaluate the skills and talents he brings to the next level. Here are my thoughts:
The NFL Combine gives dynasty fantasy football fans their first glimpse on whether a player can translate college production into relevant fantasy points. There weren’t any major spoilers revealed, but some players impressed (stock up) while many stayed the same or failed to make a good impression (stock down). Please remember the NFL Combine has already committed to tweaking their events to better translate to the game of football, instead of being about the highly measured 40 yard runs and 225 lb. bench presses. Here are my initial thoughts:
This year’s draft is a bit weak at tight end and after Maxx Williams, Devin Funchess, and Clive Walford. After those three get selected, the next on my list is Florida State’s Nick O’Leary. Some people may be intrigued that he is the grandson of golf legend Jack Nicklaus. That could mean that he uniquely understands the spotlight and yearns for greatness. I watched three of his games against Notre Dame, Miami, and Oregon to get a better feel of what the young man brings to the next level in regards to skills and talents. Here is what I saw:
TE Nick O’Leary, Florida State, 6’ 3” 252 lbs.
Cons: The first thing that stands out is his poor 40 yard time of 4.93 in Indianapolis. This shows that the tight end/ h-back is not very explosive and has almost no wiggle at all. O’Leary is an avid motorcyclist and suffered two mishaps on his ride that appear to have sapped him of some speed and flexibility. This shortened his catch radius and makes it difficult for him to create separation against linebackers or safeties. While O’Leary is a willing blocker, he shows limited strength as a run blocker. I’m not sure if he can be counted on to be a multi-dimensional threat.
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 pedestrian 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.
In a draft that is almost completing devoid of tight end talent, the red shirt sophomore Minnesota’s Maxx Williams stands head and shoulders above the rest of his class (Miami’s Clive Walford is good, not great). This is especially worrisome for dynasty fantasy football leagues that feature tight end premium scoring. I re-watched three of his 2014 games against Iowa, Michigan, and his bowl game versus Missouri to get a grasp of what strengths and weaknesses he possesses while making his trek into the NFL.
TE Maxx Williams, Minnesota 6′ 5″ 249 lbs.
Cons: Most tight ends get asked to block at the next level. While Williams fires out low, keeps his feet, and can seal off running lanes; the tight end is just an average blocker with less than ideal brute strength. This may limit a team that wants to use him as a traditional tight end. Like most men his size, the playmaker runs a bit too high and lacks some fluidity. Williams needs to do a better job picking up his feet, so he can change directions more easily. There were a few times the tight end let the ball into his body while making the catch; that needs to be corrected, because he can pluck the pigskin out of the air just as easily.