Tight End is among the most important of the emerging positions in the ever changing NFL. Teams from coast to coast are incorporating them into offensive schemes more than ever before. Years ago, Tight Ends were glorified offensive tackles whose sole responsibility was “sealing the edge”. Now we see them lining up in various offensive formations and over the course of a season, playing more of a wide receiver role than their own. Scouting against and planning to defend Tight Ends has become even more difficult as the position continues to evolve.
Football’s version of “Transformer”
NFL teams yearn to find the prototypical dual threat Tight End; a strong blocker, one who is fast and can get after the football. They want a player who can do a little bit of everything well and cherish them once they are found. Those in the front office not only want a player who is a force to be reckoned with, but a team first guy that holds exceptional values. Free agent Tight End – Kyle Auffray is exactly the type of player both on and off the field that has no business NOT being on an NFL team right now.
Meet Kyle Auffray, Tight End – New Hampshire
Auffray is a 6’6’’ 255lbs monster on the gridiron. The product from New Hampshire runs a mid to upper 4.6 forty-yard dash and can hold his own in the trenches. He also has the unique skill set that allows him to run routes and catch passes (very well I should add). At the NFL’s Super Regional Combine Kyle stole the show (in back to back years). Auffray bench pressed 225lbs 30 times – which was more than most lineman posted! He can bench 315lbs 16 times, showing his elite strength and that his 225lb numbers were not inflated. He outlasted 2,600 other hopefuls and reached the last event of the combine.
A Tough Row to Hoe
His outstanding performance earned him a tryout with the New England Patriots and he excelled in all the drills he was put through. The team was impressed and promised their interest once they saw how the draft board fell. A few days later, the Arizona Cardinals called and sniped the Patriots like an eBay bidder would. He spent almost 3 months with the team where he showcased all his skills before being released – which was completely out of his control. Even though Kyle played well, Arizona’s defense was plagued with injuries and he was a casualty of a roster merry-go-round.
A couple of weeks later, the New York Giants called and asked him to workout at their facility. Kyle injured his hip while running the 40-yard dash and was sent home without a contract. Not too long after, New England called back and wanted to sign Kyle following a physical. He did not have enough time to heal from his injury suffered at the Giants and could not be signed. But now, Kyle is 100% healed and ready to go.
A conversation with Kyle Auffray
I had the opportunity to call Kyle and had an insightful conversation with him. Below are some excerpts of our discussion.
Josh: How would you describe your play as a tight end?
Kyle: “I’m a versatile player and can do different things on different teams. I can block, run routes, am a deep threat as well as a viable red zone target. I am a physical hardnosed player but also a smart and intelligent one that can do anything teams asks me.”
Josh: You were a member of the Cardinals, what was that like?
Kyle: “It was great. With a whole new offense HC and GM, it was a fresh start for the whole organization. It was awesome being around with some great guys. My locker was 2 feet across from Larry Fitzgerald, it was great being around him. He is a first class person and I learned by listening to his press interviews about how to handle oneself in the locker-room. Having an offensive leader like Carson Palmer and a great locker-room environment was very helpful. Bruce Arians is a great coach; he’s savvy and runs a complicated, but hell of an offense. I love being in advanced offenses where I can become a student of the game in order to be successful. On the other hand, I also learned business in’s and out’s of the NFL. I was released because of defensive injuries. Even though I played lights out, being cut was out of my control. Another lesson I learned was do your job and do it well.”
Josh: What component can you immediately bring to an NFL locker-room?
Kyle: “Well, I’m a team first guy who gives back to the community. In Arizona I worked with children hospitals and local charities. I want to be an ambassador for the game off the field. Some people have a negative image of the NFL and I see myself as a positive image of the league. I’m a family, team and community orientated person. As Duke Basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski said, “Rule #1: do the right thing” and I’ve always took that to heart and for me that goes on the field, in locker-room, weight room or outside with the guys.”
Josh: What does your workout regime and training consists of?
Kyle: “I train 2 times a day 4 days a week. Monday mornings I work on my speed and footwork, afternoons are spent doing upper body lifts. Tuesdays I work on upper plyometrics and lift lower body in the PM. Wednesdays are my pool workout recovery day. On Thursday I run routes, catch balls and get as much field work in as possible. I also catch passes on Fridays and use heavy sleds to gain strength. I run hills on Saturdays. I am a strong believer in eating right, sleeping an appropriate amount of time and have a strict workout regime. This keeps me well prepared for any workouts or for OTA’s.”
Josh: What Tight End in the NFL would you most compare your game to?
Kyle: “I feel that I am very similar to Baltimore’s Dennis Pitta. I’m versatile, athletic and have more speed then people give credit for. We’re too speedy for linebackers, too big for safeties and are great red zone threats and inline blockers. We can do a little bit of everything because we are hard workers and a bit of a mismatch for defenses.”
Josh: Is there anything at all you feel has been left unsaid that you’d like to share with our TFE readers?
Kyle: “After everything I’ve been through the past few years – one thing really keeps me going. I had a private workout with the Patriots. Following the workout I shook Bill Belichick’s hand and thanked him for having me workout in his presence. What he said to me was: “I was very impressed about your workout. Good job.” For me, having a multiple time Super Bowl winning Coach shake my hand and appreciate my work ethic is a driving force for me. I recognize that I didn’t have the stats coming out of college but I do have the tools to be a starting tight end in the NFL and the smarts to play the game. All I can ask for is an opportunity.”
Kyle hopes to be signed by April 21st, the day in which teams can hold their first offseason practice. He wants to sign early so he can learn the team’s offense and playbook as soon as possible. Kyle is an exceptional person and it’s easy to see how smart he truly is. I also spoke to Nathan O’neal who works for and is going to coach a National Spring Football League team and knows Kyle very well.
“For a college kid that is 6’6’’ 260lbs and runs a 4.6 forty, it’s unheard of. He creates mismatches and problems for defenses which puts points on the field.” O’Neal later added “Kyle has a great attitude and performs on the field. He deserves to be in the NFL with everything he does. He can come to a team and earn a spot and contribute right away. He won’t be a practice squad guy or 3rd or 4th on a depth chart.” When asked about Kyle as a person, Nathan could not say enough good things about him. “I love the dude. He’s a great guy. I’ve had many conversations with him from football to his life growing up. He has a chip on his shoulder, a lot of players do, but he doesn’t have an attitude to go with it. He just wants an opportunity.”
His talent, work ethic, personality, and intelligence are unquestionable. Kyle Auffray has every reason to be on and compete for a starting Tight End position on an NFL roster. Kyle’s workout tapes are phenomenal and can be seen below. He is exactly the dual threat Tight End that teams are so deeply searching to find.
Note – Kyle Auffray was signed by the New England Patriots as a free agent on June 9th, 2014. We wish him well!
Links of Kyle’s workouts
Workout 3/13/14: http://bit.ly/1ex77Vs
Route running 10/29/13: http://bit.ly/1gbMWkD
Dallas Super Regional 4/8/13: http://bit.ly/11vf9s6
You can follow both Kyle Auffray and his agent Brad Berkowitz on Twitter; @KyleAuffray and @BradBerkowitz
Follow Josh on Twitter @JoshElkin