While people come in all different shapes and sizes, specific football positions have ideal traits. Each position has a range of size and specific tools evaluators key on. However, nothing is set in stone and different systems require different type of players. This series of articles is going to focus on what we look for in an ideal prospect while trying to remain as generic as possible. We always love feedback so be sure to include some things that are important to you.
Position: Tight End/ H-Back
Weight: 250lbs- 260lbs
Blocking: A In-line tight end is expected to be a very good blocker. He is usually bigger and stronger than the typical tight end. His playing time is dependent on the ability to help open running lanes and protect the passer. Technique and balance are needed so he can be a successful blocker. You want a nasty player that will work to the whistle in order to make a block. This player will often be asked to stay in and help protect on passing downs. This is why it is important for him to have a strong base and good balance. He will be looked at as an extra offensive lineman.
Routes/Release: While the main job of an In-line tight end is to block he also needs to be able to impact the passing game. If he is unable to run decent routes and create some separation the defense will bring more men in the box. He doesn't need to be a dynamic playmaker but should run balanced and dependable routes.
Hands: The ability to catch the football is what separates an In-line tight end from an offensive lineman. Again he needs to provide somewhat of a threat to the defense. Otherwise the offense should just put another offensive lineman on the field. You want him to pluck the football out of the air and be able to adjust to poorly thrown footballs. He needs to be reliable and provide the quarterback with a late option.
Run after catch: This is not a player that is going to gain much yardage after the catch. He just needs to make the catch, secure the football, and gain the yardage available. Do not expect this player to make people miss or break off long runs.