Comparing top TEs, Williams isn’t first

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.

 

 
TIGHT END TALE OF THE TAPE
PLAYERSCHOOL CLASSHEIGHT WEIGHT40-YD
Jeff HeuermanOhio State Senior6:05.1 2544.80
Nick O'LearyFlorida State Senior6:03.2 2524.93
MyCole PruittSouthern Illinois Senior6:02.2 2514.58
Clive WalfordMiami Senior6:04.0 2514.79
Maxx WilliamsMinnesota Junior6:03.7 2494.78


RECEIVING STATISTICAL COMPARISON CHART
PLAYERGP NOAVG RKYDS AVGRK TDAVG RKSP AVGRK PTSTOT
HEUERMAN15 0171.21 50207 13.805 020.13 508 0.535 045
O’LEARY14 0483.43 30618 44.144 060.43 417 1.213 104
PRUITT12 0816.75 10861 71.751 131.08 128 2.331 201
WALFORD12 0443.67 20676 56.332 070.58 320 1.672 152
WILLIAMS12 0363.00 40569 47.423 080.67 213 1.084 113
NOTES: 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
PLAYER1st PCTRK 3/4PCT RKRZ PCTRK 10+PCT RK20+ PCTRK PTSTOT
HEUERMAN009 52.945 0529.41 203 17.654 0741.18 402 11.765 105
O’LEARY033 68.753 0714.58 505 10.425 2552.08 309 18.753 114
PRUITT048 59.264 2125.93 315 18.522 3138.27 511 13.584 123
WALFORD032 72.732 0818.18 408 18.183 2659.09 110 22.732 182
WILLIAMS028 77.781 1233.33 108 22.221 2055.56 211 30.561 241
NOTES: 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
PLAYERTDR AVGRK PTSTM PCTRK PRFTM PCTRK PTSTOT
HEUERMAN06 0.405 012613 00.995 048613 07.835 035
O’LEARY14 1.003 042451 09.314 107451 23.734 074
PRUITT24 2.001 080352 22.731 182352 51.701 151
WALFORD17 1.422 042347 12.103 128347 36.892 112
WILLIAMS12 1.003 047316 14.872 087316 27.533 103
NOTES: 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
PLAYERTG CTPCT RKPB DPPN FMTFL NGTOT PCTRK PTSTOT
HEUERMAN024 01770.83 302 0003 0000 0005 20.834 054
O’LEARY078 04861.54 413 0001 0000 0014 17.952 063
PRUITT114 08171.05 207 0101 0101 0314 12.281 091
WALFORD054 04481.48 105 0104 0100 0011 20.373 082
WILLIAMS067 03653.73 513 0003 0001 0017 25.375 025
NOTES: 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
PLAYERGP KDAVG RKTD AVGRK DFAVG RKGD 90RK PTSRK
HEUERMAN15 07304.87 209 0.602 110.73 487.09 042 142
O’LEARY14 06104.36 307 0.503 110.79 386.73 033 123
PRUITT12 04503.75 506 0.503 100.83 184.57 014 114
WALFORD12 07906.58 110 0.831 100.83 187.20 031 201
WILLIAMS12 04703.92 405 0.425 070.58 583.33 005 055
NOTES: 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
PLAYERGP RECRK BPRK SORK RCRK BKRK PTSRK
HEUERMAN, Jeff15 045 105 035 054 142 0365
O’LEARY, Nicholas14 104 114 074 063 123 0464
PRUITT, Mycole12 201 123 151 091 114 0672
WALFORD, Clive12 152 182 112 082 201 0721
WILLIAMS, Maxx12 113 241 103 025 055 0523
AVERAGE13.0 12.0  15.0  09.2  06.0  12.4  54.6
NOTES: 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
PLAYERGP RECBP SORC PTSRK
HEUERMAN, Jeff15 0410 0305 0225
O’LEARY, Nicholas14 1011 0706 0344
PRUITT, Mycole12 2012 1509 0561
WALFORD, Clive12 1518 1108 0522
WILLIAMS, Maxx12 1124 1002 0473
TOTAL13.0 12.015.0 09.206.0 42.2
NOTES: 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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