In this 5 at 5 to Watch we look at some VIDEO on a this year’s Tight Ends. I’m a believer in Jesse James and he got exponentially better as last season progressed but this year’s crop is going to be tough to pass up. However, I have no confidence in Ladarius Green. Along with his concussion and other injury problems, he hasn’t seemed like he’s wanted to play since he got here. Maybe he was just waiting for the big pay day and since he’s got it, he no longer cares. The Steelers may end up cutting their loses and this would be the year to add talent at the position. There is great deal of variety, here. There are in-line, ‘move’ (to the slot), H-Back and all purpose Tight End prospects.
There is no telling how the Steelers will go this draft but it’s almost certain other than adding an Edge Rusher, they are going to load up on the Offense the way they loaded up on Defense, last year.
1st to 2nd Rd – David Njoku, 6′-4″, 246#, 4.62/40 – O.J. Howard will be gone sometime in the mid-first round but Njoku may have an even higher ceiling. He had 43 receptions for 698 yards with eight touchdowns in 2016. He would’ve had more if the QB, Brad Kaaya, had more time to throw. Has the frame to be an in-line blocker and the hands to be receiving threat. Njoku’s speed will require a Safety to cover him.
“Elite athlete and seam buster deluxe. Can stick a foot in the ground and break in either direction at a 90-degree angle in shorter routes. Tremendous acceleration out of breaks to separate and widen the window for quarterbacks. Opens the throttle in open field.” NFL.com
2nd to 3rd Rd – Gerald Everett, 6′-2″, 239#, 4.62/40 – A converted Wide Receiver, Everett has the potential to be a move Tight End, for sure. He runs smooth routes and knows a bunch of WR tricks. Good short area quickness for his size. He’s a willing blocker with long arms and good hand use, so, there’s potential for him to be in-line as well. He will need to bulk up a bit. Has the potential to be a premier pass catching Tight End. Everett had 43 receptions for 648 yards with 4 touchdowns in 2016
“Can create immediate separation. Carries play speed throughout routes. Cover linebackers are usually in for a rough day vs. Everett, who eats in the middle of the field and shows no fear. Maximizes arm length for wide catch radius.” NFL.com
3rd to 5th Rd – George Kittle, 6-4. Weight: 247#, 4.52/40 – I really hope the Steelers pick this guy. Sorry but I just have to say it. Seeing Kittle in his Steelers lookalike Iowa jersey, he totally reminds me of Heath Miller, only much, much faster. The resemblance doesn’t end there. Kittle is a very strong blocker. Haley would LOVE what he brings to the run game. He runs good routes, has very good hands and can find the soft spot in coverage. His speed and agility surprised people at the Combine. He had 22 receptions for 314 yards with 4 touchdowns in 2016 in an offense that undervalued the TE as a receiving position. They did run a pro-style offense, so Kittle should be ‘plug and play’.
“Blocks with good technique and has footwork to get to reach blocks and combos. Hands are confident and sure with just one drop against 48 catches. Able to make sudden body adjustments to poorly thrown balls. Flashes vertical speed to become a seam worker. Physical runner after the catch with more wiggle than you would expect.”
4th to 5th Rd – Adam Shaheen, 6′-6″, 278#. 4.79/40 – Shaheen is big as a house and very agile for his size. He had outstanding production in Division II Ashland. A favorite redzone target he had 57 receptions for 867 yards with 16 touchdowns in 2016. There’s a lot of talk about Shaheen being the Second Coming of Gronk. I’m not that high on him. He can be soggy legged in blocking. Sometimes for some reason, he seems to run directly toward whoever is covering him, instead of breaking off and creating space for himself or finding a soft spot in coverage. Nevertheless if he’s around in the 4th the Steelers would be fools not to take him.
“Above average speed and acceleration for his size. Creates leverage points against man coverage before breaking his routes off and pulling away. Moved all over the field. Was isolated for fade routes near endzone.”
5th to 7th Rd – Darrell Daniels – 6′-3″, 247#, 4.49/40 – A recently converted Wide Receiver, Daniels is only a #2, move Tight End, right now. He has outstanding receiver traits. Soft hands, smooth routes and SPEED. He can easily blow the top off a Safety and Linebackers can just fuhgedaboutit. Daniels had 17 receptions for 307 yards at an impressive 18.1 yard per catch average with 3 TDs last season.
He is not a good blocker and the one dimensionality of his game kept him from starting. He could, however, have immediate impact as a 3rd Down, 2nd Tight End. Has a big enough frame to develop into an adequate blocker. Routes are not quite where they should be because he could coast on his physical gifts. Good character and special teams experience a plus. Big boom or bust potential but for the later rounds, well worth the risk.
That’s the Tight Ends. Like I said, I’m a big believer in Jesse James but the Steelers may want to run two Tight End sets for the match ups. This is a very deep draft at the position this year. The Steelers have a wide variety to choose from. Next up, the Edge Rushers!