NFL Draft Profile: Ryan Otten, TE, San Jose State

Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE

The Eagles will almost surely be looking to draft a big target at TE to complement Brent Celek and James Casey. A prospect in the mid-rounds who fits the profile is San Jose State's Ryan Otten, aka David Fales' security blanket.

Name: Ryan Otten
School: San Jose State
Position: TE
Height/Weight: 6052 / 230 (Pro Day)
Class: Sr.

*According to an interview published on April 9 (http://www.walterfootball.com/draftinterview_ryanotten.php), Otten says he's now "over 240 [pounds]" and "close to 245."

2012 games viewed: @Stanford, vs. Colorado State, vs. Utah State, vs. BYU, vs. Louisiana Tech

Positives

Tall and long; has physical traits for TE position, but looks more like a big WR.

Top notch ball skills combined with elite body control, midair adjustment ability and awareness -- all of which are plus-plus and NFL caliber, really impressive and also necessary given certain athletic deficiencies (two best examples of this integrated skill set come in the BYU game: 1Q, 9:26, 1st & 10, just a ridiculous, special play by Otten all around; 3Q, 9:53, 2nd & 14, gets down the seam, jumps and reaches over top of LB's helmet to make catch before dragging him and another tackler nearly 10 extra yards).

Soft, natural hands; catches the ball out in front instead of letting it get into his body.

A "Y" TE with "move" characteristics who goes in motion a lot and lines up all over the formation: in-line, slot, split wide, H-back.

Unfazed by anything that could disrupt focus on the ball, concentration is a major attribute (makes difficult 1st down catch vs. Stanford, 2Q, 13:25, 3rd & 11, despite DB flashing in front of him and attempting to make INT at last instant).

Leaper with go-up-and-get-it mentality.

Flashes intermediate vertical threat ability and enough speed to work seam/get downfield (vs. Utah State, 3Q, 3:12, 2nd & 5).

Experienced as a blocker, willing and functional, gives tremendous effort, uses long arms to initiate and latch on, also uses angles well in walling off defenders to help open up running lanes, particularly on the edge (vs. Colorado State, 1Q, 14:06, 1st & 10; then again in 4Q, 10:19, 1st & 10); especially effective in space and gets push, doesn't give up after initial assignment, always looking for someone else to block. I actually found this part of his game to be quite endearing; even if I can't say he's VERY good as a blocker, he's usually good enough and can be run behind. Even blocked Ezekiel Ansah one-on-one -- and held his own -- a few times in the BYU game.

Typically crisp route runner; sharp/decisive breaks at top of stem and sells fakes, finds open space in the defense.

Really love and adore his toughness, especially at the catch point as he holds onto the ball while getting hit (vs. Stanford, 1Q, 4:24, 1st &10)

Unafraid to go over the middle and make plays in traffic, embraces working "dirty" areas of the field.

Always fights for extra yards, drags tackler(s), doesn't go down easily or on the first contact.

Steady and reliable target on 3rd down; served as invaluable security blanket for David Fales and had knack for making critical catches/moving chains in pressure situations. Carrying card member of the "I fucking get to the sticks" club. (To wit: Four of six total catches against Louisiana Tech came on 3rd down, each resulting in a 1st down. One of the other two catches was an 18-yard TD on an out-and-up in which he looked back for the ball at the goal line, stopped on a dime along the boundary and caught pass before DB even turned around).

Negatives

Despite solid movement skills, he is not a quick-twitch, explosive athlete and lacks quickness/suddenness in general.

Almost no burst off the line, has somewhat heavy feet and is a build-up runner rather than instant accelerator.

Had moments where sluggish and deliberate movement showed up while running routes, especially combination ones -- could be a tell to NFL LB/S in coverage and make it even more difficult for Otten to create separation.

Stiff and not elusive with the ball in space, YAC is confined to running forward and breaking tackles instead of making guys miss.

Average strength at best at POA on blocks and struggles a lot in pass protection; want him moving/attacking as a blocker instead of retreating/reacting.

Conclusion

Despite being of prototypical size, Ryan Otten lacks the explosive, "wow" athleticism that's all the rage at the TE position in the NFL these days -- but, man, I really like his overall game, and he might be the single toughest TE in this class, both physically and mentally (see: attempting to play through debilitating staph infection during Senior Bowl week). Willing and functional blocker who gives maximum effort and makes the most of his ability. Otten can get down the seam and is a consistent, reliable 3rd down target who racks up tons of 1st down receptions; an especially valuable weapon when needing to gain short-to-intermediate yardage to keep the drive alive. Excels with subtle nuances of being a receiver, concentration is preternatural, and his ability to adjust to balls in the air and contort his body, combined with his excellent hands, is a crucial aspect of his skill set that cannot be understated. I know it's cliche, but he's just a good, solid, smart, natural football player; one who will be a valued contributor on offense for whatever team drafts him, whose impact will be tangible especially in big moments.

Value: 3rd-4th round

Pro Day Results

40 Yrd Dash: 4.69
20 Yrd Dash: 2.75
10 Yrd Dash: 1.64
225 Lb. Bench Reps: 17
Vertical Jump: 33
Broad Jump: 09'04"
20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.62
3-Cone Drill: 7.50

Stats:

2012: 13 GP, 47 REC, 747 YDS (15.8 AVG / 38 LG), 4 TD
2011: 11 GP, 52 REC, 739 YDS (14.2 AVG / 64 LG), 5 TD
2010: 6 GP, 17 REC, 201 YDS (11.8 AVG / 50 LG), 3 TD
2009: 12 GP, 10 REC, 78 YDS (7.8 AVG / 14 LG), 0 TD

Bio (http://www.sjsuspartans.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=5600&ATCLID=1550635):

- DOB: April 7, 1990
- Hometown: Loomis, CA (HS: Del Oro)
- Two-time All-WAC First Team Selection (2011, 2012)
- One of four team captains in 2012
- Career leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns by a San Jose State TE
- Major/Degree: Business Management
- 2009 Academic All-WAC honoree and two-time San Jose State University Scholar-Athlete
- Missed last 6 games of 2010 with toe injury
- Came down with nasty staph infection at Senior Bowl; tried to battle through the illness but was rendered ineffective. Not making any excuses, toughing it out and still trying to compete at Senior Bowl definitely jibes with the type of player he is on the field. Lost a lot of weight, wasn't 100% for Combine, just now getting back to full strength.

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