Saturday, May 3, 2014

Scouting The 2014 NFL Draft: CJ Fiedorowicz

CJ Fiedorowicz might as well be Chuck Norris to Iowa Hawkeye fans. In most fans' minds, CJF can do anything on the football field. Just throw him the ball and good things will happen. First downs, touchdowns, probably a cure for cancer; anything is possible with CJF. Unfortunately, through his four years at Iowa, it never quite came together like Iowa fans had hoped. Still, this guy is a specimen. At 6'7" and 265 pounds, he is an absolute monster, and he should be a very useful piece for a team.

Maybe his biggest strength was his biggest weakness when he entered college, and that is his blocking. There are a lot of tight ends that look like floppy messes when they try to make blocks, just relying on their size to get in the way of a rushing defender to slow them down enough so they can stay in the game to catch passes. CJF is not like this He's basically a lighter left tackle out there as he uses excellent technique to complement his size to stop blitzers and takes it to the defense when it comes to opening up holes in the run game. He's an old school tight end, and there's nothing wrong with that. He also blocks down field, as is shown here.

He seemed to get open over the top and then ignored, but it didn't matter, as he makes a block on one guy while still being long enough to slow down the progress of another. That's good hustle.

So along with him using his size for good in blocking. He also does a really nice job of using his size to post up on defenders. If he gets inside leverage on a route, there isn't a defensive back with long enough arms to do much with a pass coming to CJF.

Now with him being an old school tight end, this also means that he is not the most explosive athlete. He's a fine athlete, but he's not going to get confused with the new breed of tight ends like Jimmy Graham and Jordan Cameron. Still, he's mobile enough that he won't get confused with strict blocking tight ends. Also, his hands are not great. He dropped some passes he should have had, but he also made some really nice catches while stretching out. The consistency is not great, but it's also not worrisome.

Fiedorowicz will likely have far more real world value than fantasy value. Early on, he's probably going to be brought in to be a bruising blocker, but he has the size to be a big time threat in the red zone. Although he isn't a great athlete, it was often frustrating to see him get separation from his defender and an Iowa quarterback never look to his side of the field. Still, he has all of the necessary tools to be in the top half of starting tight ends in a few years. I'm not great at comparisons, so I'd say he's somewhere between a plodding Jason Witten and a dynamic Dwayne Carswell. I'm guessing he'll get picked in the third round, and I think he provides nice value for a team that wants a good blocking tight end who is a threat in the red zone. I think just about any team could use a guy like that.

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