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‘Preview’ scouting reports are when I take a look at a small amount of tape and overall output data we have on a non-QB prospect before the NFL Combine and complete a preview report on what I’m seeing before I do a larger scouting study after the NFL Combine or Pro Days. Our computer scouting models cannot function properly without the NFL Combine and/or Pro Day data, so I’m not committing to these scouting reports being my definitive word on the prospect. Using what we have, I wanted to take a glimpse at some of the bigger names to share what I see initially.
This is my quick-take on players from watching 20-30+ minutes of game film on each and looking over their college production numbers in our computer scouting models. I don’t have the measurables and I’m not watching several of their games and getting in-depth. This is just quick hit scouting to provide some context for watching the college all-star bowls.
Senior Bowl TE prospects (in no particular order)…
North and South Team:
NORTH TE Jeremy Sprinkle, Arkansas (6’4.6″/256, 10.6″ hands)
Best Season: (2015) 27 rec. for 389 yards and 6 TDs (11 games)
— Quick Tape: Not the smoothest hands in the world, but has higher-end athleticism at the TE spot…he just looks imposing…looks may be deceiving. Has a nice speed/pop after the catch for a tight end. I’m worried he is not a good enough receiver in traffic to stand out as an every down TE in the NFL. Solid blocker.
NORTH TE Michael Roberts, Toledo (6’4.3″/261, 11.6″ hands)
Best Season: (2016) 45 rec. for 533 yards and 16 TDs (13 games)
— Quick Tape: His two catches in the East-West game ramped my excitement level higher than it already was going into that game. Roberts is a bigger, tougher, maybe more athletic version of Jeremy Sprinkle (above). Looked like a faster Antonio Gates at the E-W game. 11.6″ hands…are you kidding me? Shows the hands and athleticism, blocking is his question mark…but that’s a minor issue.
NORTH TE Jonnu Smith, Florida Int’l (6’2.6″/245, 9.3″ hands)
Best Season: (2014) 61 rec. for 710 yards and 8 TDs (12 games)
— Quick Tape: Intriguing. Looks like a WR, wore #87 in college. You think he’s a WR, but he played a TE/WR hybrid role…he’s a muscular WR more than a TE. He has great burst after the catch for a TE. I’d be inclined to shave 10 pounds off him and make him a scary, plus-sized WR. If he stays as a TE it will be as a TE/WR hybrid weapon. Has NFL athleticism.
SOUTH TE O.J. Howard, Alabama (6’5.5″/249, 10.0″ hands)
Best Season: (2016) 45 rec. for 595 yards and 3 TDs (15 games)
— Quick Tape: If he played at a school that featured the TE more, he’d have even more draft buzz. I studied him last summer and loved him. I watched a bunch of his work at Senior Bowl practice Day-1…awesome. He’s the best TE in this draft – he has terrific hands and a perfect body with athleticism. He’s a top 10 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft before this is over…I don’t care where people are mocking him to go in January. One of the best TEs to enter the draft in years. No way teams can sit and wait on him from pick #20 overall on. Never going to happen. Mock drafters ought to stop kidding themselves right now – he’s a top 10-15 pick in 2016. Hell, if Eric Ebron went top 20, and he can’t catch a football properly that often…imagine where Howard is going to get drafted.
SOUTH TE Evan Engram, Mississippi (6’3.1″/236, 10.0″ hands)
Best Season: (2016) 65 rec. for 926 yards and 8 TDs (11 games)
— Quick Tape: Nice hands, great vertical, nice after the catch. He’s a like a WR playing TE. Jordan Reed-like. I didn’t think I’d like him as much as I did. He’s really good…just doesn’t look like the traditional TE. Has to go where a smart head coach is that will use him like Jordan Reed.
SOUTH TE Gerald Everett, So. Alabama (6’2.6″/227, 8.3″ hands)
Best Season: (2015) 41 rec. for 575 yards and 8 TD…and 7 rushing yards and 4 TDs?? (12 games)
— Quick Tape: I don’t see how he’s an NFL TE unless he’s going to add some bulk. He’s a WR more than a TE…he’s sleek/slender/wiry like a big WR. He displays terrific hands and athleticism but stopped everyone in their tracks when he measured with 8.3″ hands…not good. He’s a legit receiver, but the big question is – what do NFL teams view him as – – big WR or small TE receiving threat? He has skills to offer but may get lost because he doesn’t have a natural fit at TE or WR.