Nick Vannett among 3 buyer-beware TE prospects

NFL teams should think twice before drafting one of these three tight ends.

| 1 year ago
(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Nick Vannett among 3 buyer-beware TE prospects

PFF’s team of draft analysts has spent the past weeks and months putting together their overall draft board and positional prospect rankings, in preparation for the 2016 NFL draft.

In doing so, PFF has identified players at each position who qualify either as potential buyer-beware prospects, based on where these players are showing up on most evaluators’ draft boards.

Here are three buyer-beware prospects among this year’s tight end class:

  1. Nick Vannett, Ohio State

The tight end position has become a receiving one first and foremost in the NFL. Pouring over Vannett’s numbers and tape, nothing suggests a dynamic receiving threat. He’s painfully slow, running a 4.85 at Ohio State’s infamous fast track pro day, and showed zero ability to make plays after the catch breaking two tackles over the past two seasons. Vannett couples that with a good, not exceptional, run blocking grade that was mostly earned out in space and not in-line. He has a tight ends frame and nice hands (two drops in two years), but if he were at a lower FBS school with his tools I’m not sure anyone would give him a second look.

  1. Austin Hooper, Stanford

We described with Vannett how a reliable tight end isn’t terribly valuable if he’s not dynamic — the opposite is true as well and it describes Hooper to a T. The Stanford tight end has the athleticism to start from day one in the NFL, but I’d think twice about asking him to be a consistent chain mover. Hooper has 10 drops on 84 catchable passes over the past two seasons with five coming each year. He attacks the ball in such an awkward and unnatural manner that I’m not sure it’s something that can be fixed. Teams will have to weigh whether the big plays that Hooper can create are worth the gut-wrenching drops.

  1. Henry Krieger-Coble, Iowa

Just because a guy played a certain role in college, doesn’t mean he can do the same thing in the NFL –Krieger-Coble is a good example of that. The Iowa tight end lined up as an in-line tight end on 75 percent of his snaps and blocked for a pro-style rushing attack so he must be able to do the same in the league, right? Not quite. His -8.3 run blocking grade a year ago is among the worst in the draft class and his height (6-3) and short arms (31 ⅜ inches) won’t do him any favors against NFL defensive ends. Krieger-Coble will likely be limited to a move or H-Back type role and I’m not certain he has the requisite athleticism for either.

| Senior Analyst

Mike is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has also been featured on The Washington Post, ESPN Insider, and 120 Sports.

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