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Need to Know: Will a tight end be on the Redskins’ draft radar?

Apr 21, 2015, 5:05 AM EDT

Nick-Boyle

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, April 21, nine days before the Washington Redskins go on the clock at the NFL draft.

Question of the day

A few days a week I’ll give an in-depth answer to a question submitted by a fan on my Twitter feed, via the Real Redskins Facebook page, or in the comments section here. On Twitter address the questions to me at @Rich_TandlerCSN with the #NTK hashtag. There will be a comment thread set up on the Facebook page and if you’re asking your question here, put “for NTK” at the start of the comment.

Today’s questions if from the Real Redskins Facebook page:

source:

Tight end is not discussed much as a potential target area for the Redskins in the draft after the return of Niles Paul, who signed a new contract days before he would have become a free agent. But there are some factors that could make the Redskins look to grab a tight end at some point during the three days of the draft.

One is, as Brian noted in his questions, the issues that Jordan Reed has with injuries. A concussion and a hamstring have been the major problems that have made him miss 12 games in his two seasons in the league but there have been some other, nagging issues as well.

Injuries are hard to predict. Sometimes players can’t stay on the field early in their careers but they eventually figure out how to take better care of their bodies and how to protect themselves between the lines and the injury bug disappears. But others are plagued throughout their careers.

Will the Redskins roll the dice and hope that either Reed stays healthy or they can get by if he’s sidelined? Or do they spend a draft pick as insurance?

Another factor that could make the Redskins go for a tight end is that Scot McCloughan has said repeatedly that he will take the best player available. If that happens to be a tight end, then so be it.

When Reed was drafted in 2013 the Redskins already had Paul, Logan Paulsen, and Fred Davis under contract. That night Mike Shanahan was asked why he picked Reed with the team seemingly set at the position. Shanahan replied that Reed was simply too good to pass up in the third round. A similar scenario could play out again.

Brian didn’t mention Paulsen in his question but I believe that, unlike some fans out there, the team is perfectly happy with him in his role as the blocking tight end who is a heavy contributor on special teams as well. If they do draft a tight end I don’t think it will be done with replacing Paulsen in mind, at least not this year. Paulsen’s contract is up after this season so perhaps there could be changes on the depth chart then.

If the Redskins do go after a tight end I think they will go for a bigger body rather than a hybrid tight end/slot receiver like Reed and Paul. To throw one name out there, Nick Boyle of Delaware should be available in the latter stages of the draft. He’s not very speedy (5.04 in the 40 at the combine) or tall (6-4) but he is stout (268 lb.) and agile.

Timeline

—It’s been 114 days since the Redskins played a game. It will be about 145 days until they play another one.

Days until: 2015 NFL Draft 9; Redskins minicamp starts 56; Redskins training camp starts 100

If you have any questions about what’s going on at Redskins Park, hit me up in the comments. And I’m always on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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In case you missed it

  1. toothcoster - Apr 21, 2015 at 5:49 AM

    Blake Bell TE out if Oklahoma…..

  2. troylok - Apr 21, 2015 at 6:09 AM

    Boyle is built like a battering ram. He’s a throwback tightend. I would love to see the team take him.

  3. sidepull - Apr 21, 2015 at 6:26 AM

    Funchess

    • captblood3000 - Apr 21, 2015 at 8:03 AM

      Funchess is like a clone of Reed. Could he catch the ball at the Combine? He had problems catching the ball last season, but Michigan needed better quarterback play.

  4. captblood3000 - Apr 21, 2015 at 7:59 AM

    The 2015 draft class at tight end is supposed to be shallow. So each time the Redskins pick the chances that the best player on their Board will be a tight end are lessened.

  5. Skulb - Apr 21, 2015 at 8:20 AM

    OK I have yet another noob question I have been wondering about for a while: in other team sports you run around the entire time and if there`s a sub the replacement spends five-ten minutes warming up before entering the field. But in NFL people stand around on the sidelines a lot because there are two teams rotating being active. Isn`t this a source of a lot of unnecessary injuries? Let`s take Reed: ten minutes standing on the sidelines waiting for the D to get off the field and then kaboom he is supposed to run as fast as he can forward, change directions multiple times, jump for the ball and then dodge and skip his way as far as he can before being tackled by some enormous dude. I get sore hamstrings just thinking about it.
    I have seen some people ride bicycles while waiting a couple times and the kickers practicing with their little net. But usually there is just a giant posse of inactive players spectating before suddenly running onto the field when it`s their turn. People should be jogging up and down the sideline I think. Why isn`t this normal in the NFL considering how much money injuries cost? To me it looks like a single team sport changed to a dual team sport without anyone having noticed any of the consequences, which is weird for such a popular sport.

    • bangkokben - Apr 21, 2015 at 10:38 AM

      Skulb,

      Having played both soccer and football. The body responds differently but adjusts. Football requires a lot of power at all positions and soccer requires much more endurance. Even with all the change of pace in soccer it is fluid and is similar to a 10K in the need for endurance. Football is more like a series of sprints and is much more static. 10 seconds of explosion 150 times a game. Moreover with the change of formations on offense and the required adjustments made by the defense, players have to be ready at a moments notice. Therefore there is no time for ‘warming up’ and everyone needs to conserve energy so they can bring it on the filed.

      With the kind of stopping and starting in football – even without the contact – it takes a major toll on the body. This is why you need a week between games and why players hate Thursday games. So, occasionally there is someone who has trouble staying loose due to injury and has the stationary bike. Everyone knows the toll it takes on the body and trains accordingly throughout the year. The body adjusts and is ready.

    • redskinscaio - Apr 21, 2015 at 11:45 AM

      I totally agree with you Skulb, players should be on the side line stretching or running in place. It’s pretty dumb to be stationary for 10-15 minutes and then go out on the field and make some violent plays.

    • murphsman - Apr 21, 2015 at 3:41 PM

      Not all other team sports-what about hockey? You have four or five guys sitting down waiting for the coach to call a line change, they gotta be ready in a split second

      • Skulb - Apr 21, 2015 at 4:07 PM

        That`s true. I forgot about hockey. But my point was that if you`re not warmed up the likelihood of injuries, and particularly things like thigh strains, increases dramatically. It just strikes me as very odd that NFL players go from standing around doing nothing to the most frenetic physical activity and back again like 30 times pr game. I`m almost surprised that not all of them get injured in every game sometimes. This is like basic third grade gym stuff here. “Warm up first then stretch after!” “But it`s so boring! I`d rather chase girls!” “Do as you`re told you obnoxious brat!” “Yes sir”

        Ah, fond memories…

        • bangkokben - Apr 21, 2015 at 4:19 PM

          These guys do warm up and do all the things they’re supposed to do to avoid injury. Just not in the middle of the game. It’s not like they’re getting out of their cars and starting to play. Nor is it like soccer where if they’re a sub they’re sitting idle for over an hour.

        • Skulb - Apr 22, 2015 at 8:31 AM

          Yes but if you stand still for ten minutes you`re not warm anymore right?

        • bangkokben - Apr 22, 2015 at 9:01 AM

          No. I disagree with the time it takes for a professional athlete to get ‘cold.’ Think about it, if that is all it took wouldn’t there be plenty more non-contact muscle injuries?

  6. kenlinkins - Apr 21, 2015 at 8:49 AM

    Rich: Much was said last season about a core group of players who “just didn’t get it”. How much progress have the Redskins made to reduce this core group of players (25%, 50% 75%)? And of the guys who still manage to make the roster with the “just doesn’t get it” tag (for whatever reason) can the Redskins turn those guys around? (IMO and without naming names, I still see 5 guys on the roster who I question in this area, what would your best guess be)?

  7. shermanp79 - Apr 21, 2015 at 9:12 AM

    This is a position I feel really needs to be addressed on the 2nd day. This team needs a true#1 TE, a guy who can block and catch. The guy in the pic above, I think would be a great addition. I think he will get better catching the ball. He will immediately be the best blocker among the TEs. For his size he has some good athletic ability, watching him hurdle a guy showed it. How would he look to a QB running down the seam or in the RZ. I like Reed but he gives little blocking and Paul is a 6ft TE, not the big target ideally needed. Even Reed isn’t that guy at 6-2. We should use Reed like NE used Hernandez. They had Gronk as the #1 and that is what we need. The backs and TE need to be better blocking. So much gets put on the OL but those 2 positions could help improve the situation. I feel the TE position is a bigger need than some. I haven’t even mentioned Reeds inability to stay healthy. Another year of injuries this could be it for him depending on the time missed. Which is why having him as your 2nd TE could help him stay healthy. He wasn’t as big an impact last year either or at least that’s my perception in my memory. So an addition early makes sense to me. They might be able to wait past the 3rd round but it needs to before the 7th of last year. I think it’s a big need. Without even mentioning Gruden’s use of 2-3 TE sets, something he liked to use in CIN.

    • shermanp79 - Apr 21, 2015 at 9:41 AM

      I didn’t even mention Paulsen, at best he is a back up TE, he has been better than last year but he isn’t a guy who I wouldn’t replace. The ideal situation is take a guy who can be a true #1 that can both catch and block and have Reed as #2 with Paulsen as the 3rd guy. The problem is they won’t keep more than 3 with the use of Young. That would leave Paul on the outside. He is good on ST so not sure he is going anywhere. That new Contract is lighter than I thought, at some point he probably is a bubble guy. It’s clear they have to figure things out long term. Having 6-1 or 6-2 TE isn’t the norm in the NFL. They can use Paulsen to block but it’s another area where they become somewhat predictable. Knowing the other 2 are really WRs. Just like with the RB position last year. We basically had Helu in to catch and Morris rarely caught the ball. They have talked about flexibility and those 2 positions fail to have flexible guys. Our offense struggles at times and that could be one of the problems. It’s too easy for defenses to figure out what we are doing based on personnel.

      • Rich Tandler - Apr 21, 2015 at 10:45 AM

        Like the drop back QB, the all around TE is becoming extinct in college. Spread offenses want a guy more like Reed. They will line up a T at TE if they need to. The NFL is going to have to adjust to that reality.

        In short, next year is unlikely to be a better one to fins a TE who both blocks well and is a big receiving threat.

        • kenlinkins - Apr 21, 2015 at 12:42 PM

          Interesting point, this can only add to the “Bust Rate” of high draft picks. Rich, how much time is spent reviewing each College player a NFL team is thinking about drafting? (i.e. man hours). Any idea?

    • bangkokben - Apr 21, 2015 at 10:48 AM

      I’m going to disagree here: “This team needs a true#1 TE”
      There is only one Gronk. Only one team has a Gronk. There are no Gronks in this draft.

      Can the ‘skins upgrade their tight ends? Sure, there is definitely room for improvement but is there anyone in this draft that actually upgrades the tight ends? Would that person even be available? How much of a priority is upgrading the tight end position considering the other needs on the team as well as current weapons on this team?

      • pdxskin - Apr 21, 2015 at 10:58 AM

        I agree with Shermanp79….the Skins have lacked a prototypical TE for years now, the current “Smurf” lineup does not give you the mismatches you want in the redzone or as blockers. Of course there is only one Gronk, but does that have to mean you can’t take a tall TE somewhere in the early part of Day 3 who is capable of catching the ball in the redzone and doing some blocking…. this would not an instant starter, of course, but someone you could develop and have ready to be part of a 1-2 punch by next season? I’m not a fan of Funchess or Boyle, but I like Blake Bell and Jesse James as prospects I’d look at in the 4th-6th round area.

        • bangkokben - Apr 21, 2015 at 1:47 PM

          I’m not saying don’t draft a tight-end. I’m for BPA in every round and if that is a TE so be it.

          I’m saying two things: Just like Rich, I don’t think that kind of TE exists much anymore. Secondly, I don’t think that kind of player is necessary for a team’s success. Sure, every team would like a Gronkowski, a Mark Bavarro,or a Tony Gonzalez but that cat is hard to find. I’m not even including Jimmy Graham or Antonio Gates because of the blocking demands you bring up. Jordan Reed can be that red zone weapon and fits the modern day TE requirements and by the way is still developing; so develop another guy if you’re concerned with Reed’s progress/injury concerns but don’t sell me that it’s a top need.

        • pdxskin - Apr 21, 2015 at 5:08 PM

          @ BangkokBen – I understand where you are coming from, and to clarify, I’m not expecting them to find the next Gronk or Tony Gonzalez in this draft (those are guys who are the best of their generations at the position), but I certainly wouldn’t complain if we stumbled upon a Jimmy Graham or Antonio Gates type of TE to add to the roster (i.e. a taller, less injury prone version of Reed, in other words) who we could use in 2-TE sets.

          And I should have noted in my earlier post (and as you touched on in your response), I have zero confidence in Reed staying injury free, and so I do believe we need to draft a backup plan / eventual successor, to be ready when he inevitably goes down with yet another injury.

          Looking ahead to the 2016 draft – take a look at Henry Hunter (Arkansas) and OJ Howard (Bama) as a couple of TE prospects the Skins could look to target in the draft next year, even if we take a developmental guy in the mid-late rounds this year.

  8. renhoekk2 - Apr 21, 2015 at 9:44 AM

    Not the year to be looking for a TE in the draft. Unless you just want a body to throw out there and aren’t looking for production. JR can’t stay healthy. 9 and 11 game seasons isn’t good enough. My guess is they will limp through one more season with the status quo and fix it next season. Unless of course they trade down from 5 and get a few extra picks this season. Then maybe they spend an early rd pick on one of the top 3 TE’s.

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