Welcome to the preview of what is the most underrated position when it comes to fantasy football and scouting future prospects in your leagues … it’s the tight ends. These players can often make or break your season. If you find a gem, you get a major boost to go alongside your top selections. If you end up picking some busts, then you are scrambling to make up the missing points week after week. So, where do you start when it comes to finding that roster-changing player? Yep, it’s the NFL draft.
In the forthcoming days, I will breakdown my top 10 tight ends in the 2014 NFL Draft.
7. Arthur Lynch, TE, Georgia (6-5, 258)
This is the point where we enter the lower half of the tight end prospects and the rest of the series will focus on draft picks in the late round or undrafted free agent range.
I believe that Arthur Lynch will be a useful player at the next level, despite some of his shortcomings. I’ve heard comparisons to Greg Olsen and I can see a bit of that in his game. So, let’s call him a poor man’s Greg Olsen. He has good size for a tight end and plays a bit bigger than his measurements. This ability makes him a good blocker at the end of the line. He does not have long arms to help him adjust to overthrown passes, but does his best to make up for that with anticipation of throws. He was a well-liked teammate at Georgia, being voted team captain in 2013. He is seen as a hard worker and someone that will put in the work to improve to help the team. This unselfishness will help him stick in the NFL as a special teams ace while he develops his skills.
On the field, Lynch is willing to take a beating to get the win. He is fearless across the middle of the field and holds onto the ball while taking some massive hits in coverage. His extreme toughness has him bouncing back play after play and this fight will inspire his teammates. He is a zone buster with the smarts to find the holes in the defense and expose them by posting up for big catches. He is physical against man coverage and uses his hands well to create the separation before his cuts. His cuts need some cleaning up and so does his consistency in making catches. He has the problem of turning up the field before securing the ball. I really like his ability in the open field to make defenders miss (see his leap over a Missouri defender). He does not possess great speed or acceleration, but has the craftiness and toughness to get the extra yards for the first down or touchdown. He can play on the line or in the slot and can be productive from both places.
When it comes to blocking, Lynch does need some work. He has the quickness and effort to keep defenders at bay, but his hands and moves need work to become more consistent. His angles are good and so is his positioning whether on the line or in the slot. There are questions regarding leverage and the ability to keep bigger defenders from dominating him.
Overall, I like Lynch as a guy that can produce on special teams and in special packages on the offensive end. He has the versatility to play in the slot or on the line. He is a good short route runner that can find the holes in the middle of the defense. He would be a good short-yardage guy and target on pick plays near the end zone. While he does not have the speed or jumping ability that the top prospects have in this class, he does have the ability to make an impact (and that is what you want out of late round picks). Lynch is a fourth round prospect with great plug and play uses.
Lynch’s highlights (credit to Fox Sports):