Sometimes, the first two rounds of the draft are about players who are fairly anonymous and/or played for smaller schools. Mostly, though, the opening frames of the annual selection meeting are centered around the big-time players from the big-time schools. Tight end Anthony Fasano of Notre Dame, who visited Redskins Park on Monday, fits into the latter category.
|Redskins Draft Target Fact Sheet|
|#5 @ Tight End|
(out of 5 's max)
|Scout.com Video||Fasano Video|
|Visit to Redskins Park
A starter for two years for the Fighting Irish, Fasano certainly is accustomed to the spotlight he will playing in when he makes his pro debut next fall. He claimed the starting tight end job in his sophomore season. In 2005 he caught 47 passes for 576 yards (a nice 12.2 average) and two touchdowns.
He made the tough call to come out with a year of eligibility left at Notre
Dame. "It was always a dream of mine to play in the NFL," Fasano said.
"Comparing myself to opponents and critiquing my play, I think I was ready
to take the step."
Was it a tough decision? "Yeah, it was very tough. I love going to Notre Dame," he said. "It's a great school and we have a great chance at having a great season next year. Those things really played a tough part in me leaving."
Fasano is very much a polished player as a receiver. He runs routes smoothly and precisely. When the ball is released, he zeroes in on it and when it reaches him he nestles it in as though he'd been doing it all his life. If a pass is off target he can adjust and extend as needed to make the reception. On third down, he's been Notre Dame's money man with a knack for making the drive-extending grab. Fasano looks like a pro when he's catching the ball and has looked like one for two years.
He's considered to be more quick than fast. He didn't run the 40 at the combine due to a hamstring injury. That placed all of his eggs in the basket of Notre Dame's pro day.
"Coming in, I knew I had to run my 40 because I didn't do it at the combine," Fasano said. "I was kind of nervous about it before my pro day. I knew I had to run, but I was still worried [his hamstring] would give me problems. Luckily, it didn't and it feels great now."
Fasano turned in a decent 4.74 and 4.71 seconds time in his 40-yard sprint.
What keeps him from being a first-round prospect are his blocking skills, which are not as nearly NFL-ready as his receiving ability is. He will have to get stronger to become an NFL starter.
His visit with the Redskins was somewhat surprising. It was not thought that the Redskins would be looking for a tight end that high in the draft. Perhaps Al Saunders will modify his offense to accomodate what is already a crowded group of tight ends with the presence of Chris Cooley, Mike Sellers, and Cristian Fauria.
One of the unknowns about Saunders' offense is how much he will utilize the H-back position. Fasano feels he is well-suited to the position."In my first two years with coach (Tyrone) Willingham and his staff, I moved around a lot and was blocking on the run," he said. "I got away from that a little bit this year, but I also moved around a lot, stood up and played some different positions so I'm real comfortable going from a stand-up (position) and also moving around a lot from the H-back spot."
Anthony Fasano Nitty-Gritty
40: 4.73 Year: 4Jr
Bio: Full-time starter the past two seasons. Junior totals were 45/564/2 after 27/367/4 the prior year.
Pos: Athletic tight end and natural pass-catching threat. Quickly releases into routes, adjusts to the errant throw or lays out for the difficult reception. Extends making the reception away from his frame, displays solid concentration and works to pick up yardage after the catch. Consistently finds the open space in the defense. Blocks with excellent pad level, jolting defenders at the point of attack.
Neg: Does not always win out in battles. Marginally strong and cannot finish blocks.
Analysis: Possessing a solid combination of intelligence, athleticism and intensity, Fasano offers starting potential at the next level as a move tight end. Could be an effective blocker in time as he physically matures.
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