Scouting Reports – 2013

Gavin Escobar scouting report

Gavin Escobar TE San Diego State #88
Ht: 6’6″
Wt: 254

Size/Athleticism: Impressive height. Has a decent overall build and clearly has the strength to be an asset as a blocker. Not much of speed threat, but has the athleticism to adjust to the poorly thrown ball and shows nice body control on the sideline. Somewhat of a threat after the catch. SDSU used him on screens and quick passes in the flat occasionally to give him space to run.

Separation Skills: Straight-line speed is very average. He won’t run away from anyone, but he’s fast enough that you have to respect his ability to run the deeper routes. He’s shown the ability run crisp routes and does a nice job finding the weak spot in zone coverage.

Ball Skills: Reliable hands. Does a really nice job adjusting to poorly thrown balls. He’s shown the quick reaction skills to handle the quick release from a quarterback under pressure when he’s the check down option. Lacks the elite athleticism to be a real weapon in jump ball situations, but he does know how to use his size to shield defenders which makes him adequate in this area.

Blocking: Gives a strong effort, but like most college tight ends he struggles to sustain his blocks. Could benefit by adding a few pounds of muscle, so long as it doesn’t significantly cut down on his agility.

Intangibles: Nothing positive or negative of note.

Durability: Suffered a broken hand in 2011.

Comments: Escobar isn’t anything special as a prospect, but he’s fairly well rounded and can definitely contribute at the next level. His straight-line speed is very average, but he’s quick and agile for a guy his size, which he demonstrated at the combine with strong showings in the three-cone and short-shuttle drills. He’s not the next great pass-catching tight end, but if he improves his blocking, he could be a rare three-down tight end in this era.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2013 Leave a comment

Jordan Reed scouting report

Jordan Reed TE Florida #11
Ht: 6’2″
Wt: 236

Size/Athleticism: Shorter than the average tight end. Won’t be great in red zone situations. Dangerous runner after the catch. He can break tackles but also has the athleticism and speed to make guys miss. Could be a dangerous weapon when used as an oversized receiver in the slot due to matchup issues.

Separation Skills: Route running is mediocre. He needs to be much quicker in his breaks to separate from more athletic linebackers. He also needs to show more awareness on the field, especially in zone coverage. He needs to recognize when he’s in the soft spot and make himself available to the quarterback. His routes are lazy when he knows he’s not the primary target.

Ball Skills: Reliable, but not elite hands. Has large hands for his size which undoubtedly helps. Not asked to compete for many jump balls in coverage, but seems to have the athleticism to excel in this area if given more opportunities.

Blocking: Blocking skills leave a lot to be desired. He’s just not big or strong enough to really be effective. Not very quick off the snap when blocking and struggles to get a consistent initial pop on the defender. He’s essentially an oversized receiver and will always struggle against defensive ends and bigger linebackers.

Intangibles: Benched during 2013 Sugar Bowl for his attitude. Showed a noticeable lack of effort at times during games and definitely isn’t the type of player you can rely on as a three-down tight end because he just doesn’t put in the effort when he’s not fully involved in the play.

Durability: Knocked out of 2012 Kentucky game with a shoulder injury but returned the following week. Missed time with a sprained ankle in 2011.

Comments: Reed is relatively new to the tight end position, after originally playing quarterback and then running back. With his size and athleticism, he’s essentially a clone of former Gator Aaron Hernandez. However, Reed lacks the maturity and fundamentals of Hernandez at this stage of his career. He definitely has the raw tools to be a weapon at the next level, but development is needed in multiple areas of his game. He would purely be a luxury pick if selected before the third day of the draft.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2013 Leave a comment

Zach Ertz scouting report

Zach Ertz TE Stanford #86
Ht: 6’5″
Wt: 249

Size/Athleticism: Prototypical build for a traditional tight end. He has the size to contribute as a blocker. Height can make him an asset as a possession receiver. A physical runner with the ball in his hands. Not very elusive, but he’ll break some tackles and drag defenders for an extra yard or two.

Separation Skills: Adequate straight-line speed, but not enough to stretch the field. Not exceptionally quick in his breaks, and won’t shake free of the better coverage linebackers at the next level. Slow off the line of scrimmage and takes time to get up to full speed. His limited speed and athleticism makes him strictly a possession receiver. Doesn’t seem to have great field awareness; he missed some opportunities to find the soft spot in zone coverage.

Ball Skills: Fairly reliable hands, but he’ll drop some easy ones along the way. Looks stiff and doesn’t show the athleticism necessary to adjust to the poorly thrown ball. Slightly smaller hands than the average tight end and it shows in the way he struggles to quickly secure the football sometimes. He has too many double catches, which will lead to more drops at the next level when more of his receptions are contested.

Blocking: Gives a reasonable effort as a blocker, but struggles to sustain his blocks. Also whiffs far too often, especially when going for a cut block, which really shouldn’t necessary in the first place given his size.

Intangibles: Has a reputation as a team leader.

Durability: Missed time with a knee injury in 2011.

Comments: Ertz has been hyped up as a true pass-catching tight end but that evaluation is more based on his stats than his actual performance. He’s limited athletically, especially compared to the new breed of tight ends in the NFL. He has the size and strength to contribute, and could definitely start for some teams, but he isn’t a difference maker. He and Tyler Eifert have drawn comparisons, but Eifert is well ahead of Ertz in my evaluations of the two.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2013 1 Comment

Tyler Eifert scouting report

Tyler Eifert TE Notre Dame #80
Ht: 6’5″
Wt: 250

Size/Athleticism: Built like a traditional tight end. Big enough to contribute as a blocker but also possesses just enough athleticism to be an asset as a receiver. Notre Dame utilized his versatility by lining him up all over the field (in the slot, out wide, in the backfield, as an h-back).

Separation Skills: Lacks the speed to stretch the field, but runs crisp routes and knows how to use his size to his advantage. Does a great job using his body to shield the defender when in tight coverage. Can be a real asset in the red zone. His size and leaping ability makes him a dangerous weapon in jump ball situations and he’ll win against most defensive backs. Lacks the athleticism to lose defenders with quick breaks, but is very consistent in his routes and gives quarterbacks a nice target.

Ball Skills: Very reliable hands. Does a great job high-pointing the ball on deep routes. Consistently catches with his hands and quickly secures the ball. Has enough athleticism to adjust to the poorly thrown ball and will make some difficult catches. Impressive body control along the sideline.

Blocking: Strong enough to get the job done, but definitely not a dominant blocker. Does a nice job against defensive linemen; uses leverage well to hold his ground against stronger defensive ends. Struggles at times with more athletic linebackers, especially when they aren’t lined up over top of him and come at him from angles. He needs to work on his footwork as a blocker to get into better position more quickly in these situations. When lined up wide, he needs to do a better job locking up defensive backs. He can overpower them, but lets them off too easy and the more aggressive defensive backs will shake free and occasionally slip past and make a play. Appears hesitant at times. Needs to explode off the line as a run blocker and engage his assignment.

Intangibles: Team captain as a senior.

Durability: Missed majority of 2009 season with a back injury, but has been healthy since.

Comments: Eifert lacks the elite athleticism of many of the tight ends we’re seeing enter the league these days, so he’s more of a throwback. But unlikely many of today’s pass-catching tight ends, he isn’t useless as a blocker. His blocking definitely needs to improve, but he has shown a willingness to develop in this area and could be groomed into a true three-down tight end. The best comparison in today’s game is probably Jason Witten. Like Witten, he’s mostly a possession receiver, but just athleticism enough to pose some matchup problems.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2013 Leave a comment

Christine Michael scouting report

Christine Michael RB Texas A&M #33
Ht: 5’10”
Wt: 221

Size/Athleticism: Prototypical size and all-around athleticism for a feature back.

Vision: Demonstrates the vision to be a strong between-the-tackles runner, but trusts his athleticism too much. He tries to create too much on his own and needs to do a better just of taking whats given him. But when he isn’t trying to be Barry Sanders, he’s does have the ability to be very patient and wait for the hole to open up.

Power: Willing to lower his shoulder to pick up some tough yards. He does a great job running low to the ground and using leverage to deflect would-be tacklers. He can hit holes with a burst, and at his size he’s tough to slow down on first contact. Even when he’s well contained, he’s able to fall forward or push the pile for a yard or two. Never stops moving once he hits the hole; he keeps his legs churning and consistently picks up the extra yardage that can really add up over the course of a game.

Speed/Agility: He’s deceptively fast and can pick up chucks of yards when he gets into the open field. Sneaky athleticism. He’ll slip through some holes between the tackles that you don’t expect a guy his size to be able to maneuver through. Gets out of control occasionally, he’ll lose his balance on a spin move sometimes, or when trying to juke a defender at full speed.

Passing Game: Contributes as a receiver, but needs to work on his technique. He catches with his body a lot, and at the next level he’ll have more contested passes and be more likely have them broken up. He’s not a great athlete when it comes to adjusting to the ball. He has the perfect compact build for a feature back, but it definitely hinders his fluid athleticism and ability to adjust to poorly thrown balls. Has the size to be a much better blocker than he’s shown. It appears to simply stem from a lack of effort and dedication to learning the nuances of being successful in pass protection.

Intangibles: By his own admission, struggled to get along with coaching staff in 2012 and wasn’t happy with his role in the offense. To his credit, he has publicly owned up to his mistakes in handling the situation and spoke openly about how he needs to improve in this area at the combine. Worked hard to come back two major injuries.

Durability: Suffered season-ending broken leg in 2010. Suffered season-ending turn ACL in 2011.

Comments: Michael’s stock will depend a lot on how he checked out medically and how he handles himself in interviews. He didn’t respond well to a change in offensive philosophy at Texas A&M during his senior year and it resulted in him effectively being benched in the final game of his career (zero carries in the Cotton Bowl). Ignoring the off-field stuff (injuries and character), a case could be made for Michael as the most talented all-around running back in this class – and worst, he’s right behind Eddie Lacy. If a team is comfortable with his medical report and the “coachability” concerns, he could definitely be given a shot to earn a starting role and contribute in a big way from day one. But when you factor in these concerns, he is definitely a bust risk.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2013 Leave a comment