NFL Draft Scouting Report: Nick O'Leary

A look at how the top tight end in FSU history projects for the NFL.

O’Leary arrived at Florida State in 2011 as a four-star prospect from Palm Beach Gardens and was FSU’s most heralded tight end recruit since Brandon Warren (2006) and lived up to the expectations, breaking every FSU receiving record at the position.


O’Leary is a gritty, throwback type of player who gets the most out of his physical potential. He’s a quiet but fiery competitor who loves contact and loves to play the game. Has worked very hard to add weight and strength and will have a high work ethic at the next level.

O’Leary twice crashed his motorcycle while at FSU, narrowly avoiding disaster in the summer of 2013 and missing more time after a second minor crash in the spring of 2014. Any NFL team will want to include a motorcycle clause in his contract. Oh, and have you heard about who his grandfather is?

Production

O’Leary shattered every FSU receiving record for tight ends and was Jameis Winston’s go-to receiver in 2014, with Winston actually getting in trouble at times forcing the football to his tight end. Almost never drops a football—I don’t remember five drops in his career at FSU.

Receiving Rushing Scrimmage
Year G Rec Yds Avg TD Att Yds Avg TD Plays Yds Avg TD
*2011 13 12 164 13.7 1 12 164 13.7 1
*2012 13 21 252 12.0 3 21 252 12.0 3
2013 14 33 557 16.9 7 0 0 0 33 557 16.9 7
*2014 14 48 618 12.9 6 0 0 1 48 618 12.9 7
Career 114 1591 14.0 17 0 0 1 114 1591 14.0 18
Provided by Sports-Reference.com/CFB: View Original Table
Generated 4/30/2015.

Scouting Report

Strengths

Very good option route runner. Outstanding against zone coverage and reads quickly. Uses contact to create separation very well. Understands how to present himself to the QB and creates a sure target. Maybe the best hands in the draft. Can high point the football in the red zone. Uses body to shield against the defender. Became a good blocker by the end of his career and fights through the whistle. Great feel for finding space when play breaks down. Good pass blocker.

Weaknesses

Below-average measurables for the position. Stubby build with short arms. Tight in the lower body and lacks dynamism and bend. Not a vertical threat and lacks the size and speed to stretch the defense. Lacks suddenness and struggles to create separation without contact. Will struggle to get open against man coverage in the NFL. Not an overpowering in-line blocker and works better from off the LOS. Frame lacks room for much more weight.

Combine/Pro Day Results

Combine Results

Ht

Wt

Arm

Hd

40y

10y

Bench

Vert

Broad

SS

3Cone

6’3

252

29.75

9 3/8

4.93

1.78

21

30.5

110”

4.50

7.40

Put bluntly, O’Leary will be drafted in spite of his athletic numbers. His speed and explosion numbers were likely affected by the torn hamstring injured before the Rose Bowl against Oregon, but the film suggests that he still would not have run sub-4.8, which is still sub-par for a 6’3, 252 pound TE.

The vertical and broad jump further reinforce the explosive limitations visible on tape. Here's how he compares to his peers:

Floor/Ceiling

In terms of ceiling, O’Leary could continue to grow as an in-line blocker and become a reliable starting tight end.

In terms of floor, O’Leary projects as an offensive utility player and special teamer.

Overall

O’Leary projects as an H-Back/utility player rather than as a pure tight end due to his measurables and deficiencies as an in-line player. If I drafted him, I would be interested to see if he could line up in the backfield as a fullback in some offenses to see if I could get more value out of him. Although he doesn’t project as a TE1, his versatility, outstanding hands, and instincts as a receiver will make him a solid asset. He also projects as a willing and capable special teamer both as a blocker and on coverage units.

Grade: 5.35 (Quality backup)

Compares To

James Casey

Overview and Draft Prediction

Potential Range: Fourth round

O’Leary is most likely a fourth round selection but could slide into the end of the first or the beginning of the fifth depending on team needs and how the draft progresses.

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