Combine Winners and Losers – Tight End

Winners

Evan Engram | TE | Mississippi | 6’3” | 234

Evan Engram not only proved that he was possibly the best athlete in the draft, but that he’s a complete prospect at the position.  Engram had Day 2 buzz already but his smallish size gave people their doubts.  Engram silenced them Saturday afternoon running a 4.42 40 that would have placed him as the fourth fastest wideout.  He added in a 36” vertical and 125” broad jump to make it even more impressive.  In the blocking and receiving drills, Engram looked comfortable.  He showed sound technique with his blocks and showed some of the best hands at the position in the gauntlet and route tree drills.  Engram has worked himself towards a possible Day 1 trip up to the podium.

The Human Race

At one point during the 40’s, I paused the TV and took a walk outside to grab some air.  These guys are pure specimens.  The fact that we as a society are churning out young adults at this size with this level of athleticism is why America is the best nation in the world.

Wide Receivers’ Hands

As impressive physically as the tight end class was, they dropped a lot of balls.  I found myself wondering during the 40’s “will there be a time when we just play these guys out wide?”  And then they went to the drills and seemingly dropped 50% of the balls thrown their way.  You can’t teach size and athleticism, but you can improve technique.  But let it be known, the receiver will live on for at least another year.

 

Losers

David Njoku | TE | Miami | 6’4” | 246

Don’t get me wrong, Njoku looks like he’s been carved out of marble.  He’s the youngest player in the draft and is as explosive vertically (37.5”) as anyone in the league, let alone the draft.  He’s as impressive a specimen as you’ll find in the Underwear Olympics.  But during the route drills, Njoku really struggled.  I’ve liked him as a prospect for some time now, but he really struggled to catch the ball.  He let the ball come into his body and really looked like he was trying too hard to make perfect, clean catches on each throw.  Njoku is still worth a high pick, but he gave teams at least some room for doubt.

Wide Receivers’ Feet

Seriously these guys were fast, I can’t stress that enough.  I don’t see how guys carrying in some cases 60-70 pounds more on their frame than their receiving counterparts could run so fast.  I’m sure offensive coordinators were drooling seeing these mammoths sprint down the field and thinking of the possibilities.  Every year I watch the combine and feel insignificant as a human.  This year was no different.  I even did a few push-ups during a commercial break to compensate – but then I got tired, cracked a beer, and returned to the couch.  Because I am the everyman and they are the titans.

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