Henry Krieger-Coble, TE
Height: 6-foot-4 Weight: 245 Age: 24
40-yard: 4.8 Bench: 10 (225 lbs)
In Iowa Hawkeyes tight end Henry Krieger-Coble, the Broncos landed one of the many potential draftees that straddled the line between the seventh round and free agency. Instead of hearing his name called on day three of the draft, Kreiger-Coble was able to choose his own destination. By signing with the Denver Broncos, he finds himself in the middle of a tight end group with no clear-cut leader.
Krieger-Coble isn't the freak athlete that stumbled onto the tight end position after dominating the boards as a power forward in college like so many other that have found success in the pro ranks. However, he is a fundamentally-sound, reliable, and tenacious player who fits the Broncos zone-blocking scheme.
Although he played four years at Iowa, Krieger-Coble didn't become a regular starter until he was a senior. When he finally did crack the starting lineup, he came through, catching 35 balls for over 400 yards and three scores. In a run-heavy offense, his 35 grabs were good for second on the team.
Rather than consistently torching defenders one-on-one, Krieger-Coble made his living in the middle of the field by finding soft spots in zone coverage and running careful routes.
(4:30) Iowa is in an empty shotgun formation with Krieger-Coble in the flex position. The Pitt defense is in zone. When the ball is snapped, the Pitt linebacker (Matt Galambos, 47) latches onto Kreiger-Coble, who is running a simple five-yard dig route. Krieger-Coble gets his separation at the top of the route for one primary reason; an excellent head fake. As is the case on any good double move, the upper body sells the fake, but the hips and feet show the true intent. Krieger-Coble keeps his hips square, but when he just barely shoots his head to the left, Galambos gets caught shuffling too far to his right, and is completely off balance when Krieger-Coble breaks off his route and heads inside. Beathard puts it on the money and Krieger-Coble turns upfield and picks up a first down.
Those are the little things he does well to offset the fact that he's not a dominant athlete. Attention to detail and route precision consistently move the chains.
As a run and pass blocker, Kreiger-Coble isn't afraid to lower his pads and get dirty. Oftentimes, on play-action passes, he would stay put as an in-line blocker in max protection situations. Also, nastiness is never an issue, as Kreiger-Coble makes a habit out of finishing blocks until the whistle is blown and the play is dead.
If you want an idea of the profile he fits, think of a guy the Broncos let go earlier this offseason, Owen Daniels. Both tight ends are a bit undersized and certainly aren't burners, but will fight at the line of scrimmage and run excellent routes.
What you see with Henry Krieger-Coble is likely what you'll get; he doesn't have a particularly exciting upside. That might not necessarily end up being all that much of a negative for him, however, as serviceable tight ends often find themselves on the roster while the project-type players are relegated to the practice squad.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1688594-mhh-premium-how-you-can-s...As I mentioned earlier, at six-foot-four and 245 pounds, he can be over-matched at times when he has to take on defensive ends in the run game. If he stands straight up at the line, which he did on a handful of run plays I saw, he'll be easily discarded by NFL-caliber defenders. But if he can consistently stay horizontal and drive with his legs, run blocking won't be much of an issue.
Another thing that will limit Krieger-Coble is his top-end speed. Simply put, no one will be mistaking him for Vernon Davis, especially safeties. His route tree is probably going to be limited to short and intermediate passes, which is where he excels. If the Broncos were running a play-action pass with two tight ends, Krieger-Coble would likely be the one to stay in and pass protect while someone like Jeff Heuerman might run a deep drag or wheel route. Although different in nature, both roles are important.
Krieger-Coble's best shot to make the 53-man roster is to beat out Garrett Graham. Graham and Krieger-Coble cut roughly the same figure and do many of the same things, while Heuerman and Virgil Green both provide a diverse array of abilities at tight end. It won't be easy to unseat a veteran like Graham who has experience in the Kubiak offense, but if it's close, the front office may opt to go with youth.
Should the experienced Graham outshine him in camp, Krieger-Coble could be a potential practice squad candidate. To secure that position, he'd have to beat out Manasseh Garner, whose athleticism and background as a wide receiver makes him an intriguing project to be developed.
Ultimately, his fit in the offense and professional approach should keep him employed come September.
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Will Keys is an Analyst for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @WillKeys6.