NFL Draft Preparation – Kicking the tires at Tight End

All the talk the past couple seasons has been centered on the re-emergence of the “dual threat” quarterback and the questions surrounding the injection of “read option” principles into offensive schemes within professional football.  Players such as Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick, and Russell Wilson appear to be redefining the quarterback position and forcing NFL scouts to rethink how to insert these talents into a traditional pocket-minded playbook.  

But I’m not totally convinced that general managers and head coaches are going to want their face of franchise running around the field five or six years into their careers.  Furthermore, are you willing to pay the going rate of $20+ million and let them do so?  Factor those two elements into your decision making and will you have the same player you signed with a rookie contract when it’s time to assess a mega free agent deal?

I’d argue that the bigger transition in offensive football is importance of the tight end.  Not that these players haven’t played a major role in successful offensive schemes of the past, but rather if you get caught without one it’s like riding a bicycle with a flat tire.  You might still get from point A to point B, but the ride isn’t nearly as smooth.  

With all the talk of the importance of Personnel Departments finding their quarterbacks big playmakers at the wide receiver position, or having a “bell cow” running back to relieve some of the pressure, scouts are quietly scouring the college talent pool for impact tight ends.  The Football Educator posted this article last season – The trending of Tight Ends.

So with the 2013 college football season set to kickoff shortly, lets take a look at some of the top prospects at what TFE feels is the TOP trending position in the National Football League.  Brendan Leister of is off to a great start with his early assessments of the tight end talent pool.

 2014 NFL Draft Preseason Scouting Notes: Colt Lyerla Editor: Brendan Leister

TGC Colt LyerlaSchool: Oregon

Position: Tight End

Jersey number: 15

Class: Junior

Size: 6’5″, 246 lbs.

Colt Lyerla is one of the most versatile players in all of college football.  Not only can he line up as an in-line tight end, but he also has experience lining up in the slot, as an H-back, as a fullback, and even as a tailback.

During Colt Lyerla’s freshman season in 2011, he only caught seven passes in 11 games.  However, he made good use of those seven catches as he produced 147 yards (21 yards per reception) and five touchdowns.  During Lyerla’s sophomore season in 2012, he caught 25 passes in 13 games and produced 392 yards (15.68 yards per reception) and six touchdowns.  He also carried the ball 13 times for 77 yards (5.92 yards per carry) and a touchdown during his sophomore campaign.

As a blocker, Lyerla displays the focus to consistently execute his assignment and the strength to move defenders off the point of attack in the run game.  He does a great job of keeping his hands inside of the defender’s shoulder pads and driving his legs on contact.  Lyerla’s versatility not only shows up in where he lines up, but it also shows up in his blocking responsibilities.  There are times when Lyerla is expected to lead block, kick out backside defensive ends, and simply take on defenders at the point of attack.  Lyerla gives good effort play-in and play-out and looks to really take his blocking responsibilities seriously.  All in all, Lyerla has the makings of becoming an excellent blocker.

Click here to read the rest of the original evaluation. 

TGC Brendan LeisterGoals of working in football Talent evaluator/editor @draftbrowns Contributor to  Follower of Christ FWAA Member

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