That in itself is invaluable, as this makes it more likely that he'll be on the same page as our QB when his number is called.
You must also take into account who his QB is. When you've got a guy who's as accurate as a Chris Redman and who absolutely loves his TE, then it's just a matter of time before those two make a deadly combination.
Redman in college had a guy by the name of Ibn Green and worked so well with him that Green had one of the best stats for a TE that year even though he wasn't considered anywhere near one of the best TE's in college football.
Now give him a guy like Heap who's head-and-shoulders better than Green in all phases of the game and you've got yourself one heck of a potentially devastating combo.
Redman runs his offense in sort of a pivot and that 'point' in every pivot is the TE. I only have his college days to go from but regardless of the offensive structure every QB has certain tendencies that they rely upon.
In college, if the primary guy wasn't open Redman would find a way to get it to the TE. He was always his most dependable target and while Redman does have a propencity to try and stick the ball in places where they don't belong, he does a heck of a job getting his TE more than his share of receptions.
Now don't get me wrong, Redman will take his shots downfield, but in college he was one of the most deadly accurate 3rd-down QB's in the game that year.
And the main benefactor was his TE Ibn Green. Now I don't know about you, but that gives me a little bit of comfort knowing that our TE made his money from his receiving skills.
In the end I think that as long as Heap stays healthy he's gonna have one heck of a year. Lately in the league there just hasn't been too many TE's that play a major role in their offenses.
Sure you can name top TE's, but after the first couple of guys the number of scores drop dramatically and that's what it's all about, the points.
There were only 5 TE's who scored over 5 times last season:
Bubba Franks- 9 TD's
I figure that Heap will be among this list if he stays healthy by the end of the 2002-2003 season.
I have a great deal of faith in Heap, not only because of his tremendous abilities but also because he wasn't rushed into being the 'savior' and had a chance to sit and learn before assuming the role.
Heap will fullfill all of the expectations that come with a first round pick and then some.