In the National Football League, the tight end position has transformed from the quarterback’s last resort to one of the biggest playmakers on offense. And, as the position continues to produce more athletes, the blocking aspect of the position has become a lost art for most. But there is at least one tight end available in this year’s draft who takes pride in his blocking, Pittsburgh’s Nate Byham, and that pride has translated into intrigue.
A three-year starter at Pitt, the 6-foot-4, 268-pound Byham is the premier blocking tight end in this year’s draft. Byham can contribute in the passing game, but he was never utilized to his full capacity as a pass catcher at Pitt, because of the offensive structure and his responsibilities at tight end. There’s no question that Byham is limited athletically and doesn’t possesses the speed to stretch the seam, but he has good hands and can move the chains.
Byham’s best season statistically was in 2008 when he caught 20 passes for 260 yards and a touchdown.At the Scouting Combine, Byham ran a 4.97 in the 40, and a few weeks later at his Pro Day, he ran a 4.91. There’s not much explosion to Byham’s game, but when he latches onto the opposition, it’s hard to break from his grasp. Byham figures to be a solid No. 2 tight end at the next level, and with the work ethic and team-first attitude he possesses, it’s likely that he will be a much better pro than college player.
Byham is currently the 13th rated tight end listed on Scout.com's 2010 NFL Draft Rankings.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also now follow Chris Steuber on Twitter.