Jake Murphy – Utah
Originally signed with BYU in 2008, he went on a Mormon mission for two years and enrolled at Utah in 2010. He redshirted that year. He started two games but played in 10 in 2011 and played in all 12 games and started five in 2012. He played in eight games this year but missed four with a hand injury. He finished the year with 25 catches for 417 yards and five TDs. He is an older player at 24 and is married, with a child.
He looks bigger than his listed 6’4 – 252 and is an average athlete for the position with average play speed. I would estimate he runs no faster than 4.8. He usually lines up as a conventional “Y” tight end but will flex out at times. He is up on his toes in his stance. He has adequate initial quickness, but comes out of his stance a bit tall. He is not explosive off the line of scrimmage. He is an average route runner with average route quickness. He doesn't get much separation with his cuts, has good hands, and can adjust to the ball. He will compete for the ball in traffic and shows strength as a runner after the catch. While he is not fast or elusive, he is strong and can be tough to bring down. He is very willing as a blocker but can get tall and is inconsistent with getting movement. He does not show much “pop” on contact and is not explosive through his hips. He will drive his feet but you don’t see a lot of power.
Murphy has to be an inline tight end at the next level. He'll need to get strong and play with more bend to become an effective blocker at the next level. This is a competitive kid, but he has limitations. I see him as a late round type pick and a backup when he reaches the NFL.
Richard Rodgers – California
Rodgers is a third-year junior and a two-year starter at tight end. He was more of a conventional tight end in 2012 when he reportedly played at 270 pounds. He got down to 245 this year and played both flexed out and in tight. He had adequate production this season, finishing the season with 39 catches for 608 yards and one TD. He only has two total career TDs.
He has adequate athleticism for the position and play speed of around 4.75 with good body control. He shows some route quickness and can make sharp cuts to get some separation. He flashes good hands, and I have even seen him make a one-handed catch, but he will also have concentration drops. He shows inconsistent competitiveness in traffic going after the ball. He had some big plays, but they were due to blown coverage rather than innate ability. He shows a burst after the catch but is not a tough, hard runner. He is very disappointing as a blocker, can’t get any movement, and gives more ground than he gains. When blocking on the move or in space, he often hesitates before making contact.
Rodgers has some talent, but I don’t see a tough, competitive player. He cannot play in line at the next level. He doesn’t have the size, strength, or blocking ability. He has to be an H-Back type. He has the speed and athleticism required for that position, but is he tough enough? He could get drafted late, but I see him as more of a free agent type. Why did he come out early?
Follow me on Twitter @greggabe
Check out our partners at TiqIQ for the best deals on all games on the 2014 NFL schedule.
OCT 31 Seth Schwartz
Despite having scouts at every game, James Harris wasn't a lock to be drafted.
OCT 30 Seth Schwartz
From the NFL to the CFL to the WFL and the USFL, Johnnie Walton's career was one for the ages.
OCT 28 Jeff Fedotin
Hated on by fans, San Diego’s quarterback is having an MVP-caliber year.