#81, Visanthe Shiancoe, TE
(6043, 251, 4.58-4.70) Morgan State
Notes: Born 6/18/80, in Laurel, Maryland. He played his high school football for Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland gaining All-County honors as a wide receiver, quarterback and tight end.
College: Was originally recruited by several bigger schools but preferred the smaller-campus environment when he went to Morgan State. Redshirted in 1998. He caught 2 passes for 55 yards in 1999. Had just one catch, a 23-yard touchdown in 2000. Hauled in 24 receptions for 413 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2001. Caught 31-518-6 in 2002, earning first-team All-MEAC honors. Finished his college career playing in 30 games with 52 receptions for 1001 yards and 12 touchdowns. Majored in information technology. Has since given back to his alma mater with a generous donation to help upgrade the Morgan State weight room. The gift is an invaluable addition to the continued development of not only Morgan State football, but all of Morgan State University athletics have benefited.
Shiancoe really jumped out at scouts during his combine workout at Indianapolis, as he ran a 4.58 forty, posted a 39 ½-inch vertical jump and put up 28 reps at 225 pounds.
Pro: Originally a third-round (No. 91 overall) by the New York Giants in 2003. Started 7 games and played in all 16 as a rookie, catching 10 passes for 56 yards and 2 touchdowns. Started 7-of-16 games in 2004, catching 5-25-1. Started 5-of-16 games in 2005 with 8 catches for 91 yards. Started 4-of-16 games caught 12 passes for 81 yards in 2006. Was usually the No. 2 tight end and played in the shadow of Jeremy Shockey with the Giants. Also contributed on special teams.
Targeted by the Vikings as a priority free agent for his athletic ability and his potential fit as a pass-receiving tight end in the West Coast Offense, Shiancoe signed a five-year, $18.2 million contract. The deal included $7 million guaranteed. He will make $8.2 million in 2007 and close to $12 million over the first three seasons.
Positives: Very impressive-looking physical specimen with nice height, a tall, angular build and superb body definition. Really looks the part. Good overall athlete. Has long arms, good hands and can pluck the ball. Has tremendous overall pass-catching ability. Turns the ball upfield after the catch and can pick up positive yardage after the catch. Good speed to get downfield. Effective in the red zone because of his size and reach. Good effort as a blocker. Sustains his blocks nicely and stays on his feet. Willing worker with a good attitude. Has been very durable, never missing a game since coming to the NFL.
Negatives: Isn’t super-quick or nifty and takes a little while to get rolling. Does not have great initial quickness or change of direction skills. Drops a few passes. Is not overpowering as a blocker. Struggles beating the jam and getting separation at times. Still lacks some refinement in the nuances of the passing game and seems to lapse in concentration occasionally. Needs some reps.
Summary: Has shown flashes of big-time potential and could really emerge as a Pro Bowl-caliber tight end in the team’s offense if they can get the right supporting cast that makes the passing game effective.
What they said:
“When we sat there and broke down tape on him, you see a lot of things from the pass-catching standpoint and some of the knocks on him have been as a blocker, but as you watch him progress from when he first came into the league to where he is now, he’s grown so much in the position. I think playing behind a Jeremy Shockey-type also improves him, but when you watch him on tape and see how he gets into and out of his cuts and how he catches the ball, those are things that really impressed us when watching him on tape. He’s a solid enough blocker that you can line him up and block at the line of scrimmage. So he gives you the versatility on the receiving side, but also on the blocking side as well.” – Vikings VP of Player Personnel Rick Spielman
“I think he’s well rounded. I think he can play on the line of scrimmage. I think he can play away from the tackle extended. I think he can block and I think he can catch, so he gives you a little bit of everything, I think.” – Vikings head coach Brad Childress
“Our mission [at Morgan State] is not only to produce good football players, but we endeavor to produce great men who become productive citizens. Visanthe is the ultimate example of that model. Shiancoe has gone on to not only represent Morgan State well in the NFL, but he's reached back to help current and future Morgan State athletes enjoy the same success. He embodies the spirit of what it means to be a Morgan Bear.” - Morgan State head coach Don Hill