While Maxx Williams dominated the big-play comparisons, he didn’t end up as the top overall tight end because he was lacking in other areas. Scout.com’s Dave-Te’ Thomas examines the many different areas of the top tight ends’ production.
These charts compare the performances of the top-rated tight ends eligible
for the 2015 Draft, using their 2014 season statistics for this project. Each
of the players listed below are considered to be early-round draft
selections. I examine each athlete’s performance in detailed categories,
based on game averages or percentage of plays.
|RECEIVING STATISTICAL COMPARISON CHART|
GP indicates games played…NO indicates amount of receptions…AVG indicates average receptions per game…RK indicates rank in that category…YDS indicates yards gained receiving…AVG indicates average yards gained receiving per game…RK indicates rank in that category…TD indicates touchdown receptions…AVG indicates average touchdown receptions per game…RK indicates rank in that category…SP indicates amount of big plays via receptions that led to the receiver’s team capping that possession with either a touchdown or field goal…AVG indicates average big plays via receptions per game…RK indicates rank in that category…PTS indicates points for each ranking category, players receive points based on their finish;-5 points for first, 4 for second, 3 for third, 2 for fourth, 1 for fifth…TOT indicates that receiver’s final ranking vs. the other receivers listed.
|BIG PLAY STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN COMPARISON CHART|
1ST indicates receptions resulting in first downs…PCT indicates percentage of first downs among passes caught…RK indicates rank in that category…3/4 indicates conversions of third- and fourth-down receptions…PCT indicates percentage of third- and fourth-down receptions vs. passes caught…RK indicates rank in that category…RZ indicates receptions caught inside the red zone/goal-line plays…PCT indicates percentage of red zone receptions vs. passes caught…RK indicates rank in that category…10+ indicates amount of receptions that gained at least 10 yards… PCT indicates percentage of 10-plus yard receptions vs. passes caught…RK indicates rank in that category…20+ indicates amount of receptions that gained at least 20 yards…PCT indicates average of 20-plus yard receptions vs. passes caught…RK indicates rank in that category…PTS indicates points for each ranking category, players receive points based on their finish;-5 points for first, 4 for second, 3 for third, 2 for fourth, 1 for fifth…TOT indicates that receiver’s final ranking vs. the other receivers listed.
READING BETWEEN THE LINES
Tight ends need to be chain movers – the quarterback’s “safety valve” over the middle of the field needs to be conscious of sticks and boundaries. I look for the tight end to average at least
10 yards per reception, but by doing so an acceptable level for first-down conversions (1ST) is 60
percent of their reception totals. Williams, Warford and O’Leary were quite successful in attaining first downs. Pruitt was lined up at tight end, in the slot and out of the backfield, with most of his catches coming in the short-to-intermediate area. Any receiving production from Heuerman should be considered to be a bonus, as Ohio State relied upon him mostly for blocking assignments.
While Pruitt might not have converted at least 60 percent of his receptions into first downs, he was very good on third-down snaps, along with Heuerman, thus compensating for their lower first-down conversion numbers. Pruitt continued to be successful in one important area for a tight end – inside the red zone (RZ). This is an area where teams will usually rely upon their ground game to move the ball, but to have a viable receiving target within 20 yards of the end zone adds a dangerous element for any offense’s attempts to keep the defense honest.
|SCORING OPPORTUNITY BREAKDOWN COMPARISON CHART|
TM figures are for only the games the player competed
in...TDR indicate receptions that resulted in touchdowns (total caught by the receiver and big plays that set up touchdown drives only)…AVG indicates average touchdown drives responsible for per game…RK indicates rank in that category…PTS indicates points scored by the receiver during the season…TM indicates total points scored by the receiver’s offense during the season…PCT indicates the percentage of points scored by the receiver compared to the total points scored by the offense…RK indicates rank in that category…PRF indicates total points responsible by the receiver via receptions only during the season (based on touchdowns scored, big plays on touchdown drives and big plays that set up team field goals)…TM indicates total points scored by the receiver’s offense during the season…PCT indicates the percentage of points responsible for by the receiver compared to the total points scored by the offense…RK indicates rank in that category…PTS indicates points for each ranking category, players receive points based on their finish;-5 points for first, 4 for second, 3 for third, 2 for fourth, 1 for fifth…TOT indicates that receiver’s final ranking vs. the other receivers listed.
READING BETWEEN THE LINES
As table-setters, tight ends that can score on their own regularly are highly sought, but when you throw in their ability to set others up (TDR), you have yourself a weapon so many other teams continue to search for. Generally, if a tight end accounts for 15
percent of a team’s offensive output, you have an asset at that position, but only Pruitt went beyond that mark.
As a table-setter (PRF/TM), you hope that those opportunities allow the tight end to be involved in at least 30
percent of those scoring drives. Based on the lack of confidence Ohio State coaches showed in their tight end, seeing Heuerman suddenly turning into a scoring machine at the next level is highly doubtful.
|RECEPTION CONSISTENCY BREAKDOWN COMPARISON CHART|
TG indicates total passes targeted to the receiver…CT indicates amount of those targeted passes the receiver caught…PCT indicates the percentage of targeted passes caught by the receiver…RK indicates rank in that category… PB indicates passes the opposition deflected that were targeted to the receiver…DP indicates amount of passes thrown to that the receiver dropped…PN indicates amount of times the receiver was penalized…FM indicates amount of times the receiver fumbled the ball…TFL indicates amount of times the receiver was tackled for a loss…NG indicates amount of times the receiver was tackled for no gain at the line of scrimmage…TOT indicates total amount of negative plays (pass deflections/dropped passes/penalties/fumbles/ tackles for loss/tackled for no gain)…PCT indicates percentage of passes targeted to the receiver that resulted in negative plays…RK indicates rank in that category…PTS indicates points for each ranking category, players receive points based on their finish;-5 points for first, 4 for second, 3 for third, 2 for fourth, 1 for fifth…TOT indicates that receiver’s final ranking vs. the other receivers listed.
READING BETWEEN THE LINES
As with any pass catcher, it is not the amount of passes you catch, but how many of those targeted to the player that he is able to secure (TG/CT). Since these type of passes are a shorter version of what a flanker or split end will run under, the tight end should at grab at least 65
percent of those targeted throws. Walford showed off his Velcro-like hands and actually has pulled in 77.92
percent of all passes thrown his way during his career. Williams, on the other hand, has left
plenty of thrown balls out there for defenders to feast on. He seems to have an indifference for competing for the ball in a crowd, but a 250-pounder who acts like he does not want to get his uniform dirty has me openly questioning his ability to perform at the next level. Hopefully, this entire comparison research project will end talk from the uneducated that are calling him the next “Gronk.”
With Williams and O’Leary, what concerns me is the amount of passes defenders have batted away from them (PB). Williams also needs to be more alert on the field, as he is prone to off-side penalty issues (PN).
|BLOCKING CONSISTENCY PERFORMANCE CHART|
This chart lists the statistics compiled by each player during their respective season…KD indicates Knockdown/Key Blocks registered by the blocker…AVG indicates average per game… RK indicates the offensive tackle’s ranking vs. the other four offensive tackles used for this evaluation…TD indicates Touchdown-resulting blocks registered (run and pass)…DF indicates Down field blocks… GD indicates player’s Blocking Consistency grade…90 indicates amount of games blocker registered 90% or higher for blocking consistency… PTS for each ranking category, players receive points based on their finish-5 points for first, 4 for second, 3 for third, 2 for fourth, 1 for fifth…FINAL indicates that player’s final ranking vs. the other players listed.
READING BETWEEN THE LINES
Blocking is a big part of a tight end’s makeup and Heuerman is generally regarded as the best in this draft class. I look at the tight end’s ability to stalk and neutralize second-level blockers (DF), as I want a tight end that can clear running room for my ball carrier, or “set the pick” for a receiver to get open down field. A passing grade for any blocker is 80
percent, but from a quality tight end I expect marks of 85 percent or better.
That grade encompasses a player’s total knockdowns, downfield blocks, touchdown-resulting blocks, in-line blocking, sacks/pressures allowed and missed assignments. With all that to tabulate, Heuerman and Walford are the leaders of the pack. Williams will never be a great blocker and might frustrate a few of his coaches if he does not show better urgency in this area. Pruitt will likely be a motion tight end, so technique refinement as a blocker is needed.
|OVERALL REPORT CARD|
This chart lists the statistics compiled by each player during their respective season…REC indicates points scored in the above Receiving Statistical Comparison category…BP indicates points scored in the above Big Play Statistical Comparison category…SO indicates points scored in the above Scoring Opportunity Breakdown Comparison category…RC indicates points scored in the above Reception Consistency Breakdown Comparison category…BK indicates points scored in the above Blocking Consistency Comparison category… PTS indicates total points scored from all of these categories…RK indicates final ranking, based on total points scored.
|RECEIVING ONLY REPORT CARD|
This chart lists the statistics compiled by each player during their respective season…REC indicates points scored in the above Receiving Statistical Comparison category…BP indicates points scored in the above Big Play Statistical Comparison category…SO indicates points scored in the above Scoring Opportunity Breakdown Comparison category…RC indicates points scored in the above Reception Consistency Breakdown Comparison category… PTS indicates total points scored from all of these categories…RK indicates final ranking, based on total points scored.
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