Oklahoma tight end Mark Andrews lit up the Big 12 with his big-play ability. Will his skills transfer to the NFL?
The Sports Quotient’s annual Draft Preview series returns! Over the course of the eight weeks leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft, we will take a look at the top NFL prospects at each position.
This week, we dive into the tight end position. Today, we take a look at Mark Andrews from the University of Oklahoma.
The 2017 All-American took home the John Mackey Award for college football’s best tight end last season and had just 3 fumbles during his three-year college career. Andrews also cracked the top ten in touchdown catches in the pass-happy Big 12 conference all three seasons.
Mark Andrews Receiving Stats - Oklahoma Sooners
Andrews clocked a 40-yard dash time of 4.67 seconds at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine, tying for second in a group of 13 tight ends and putting him ahead of wide receivers Auden Tate and Tavares Martin. Andrews’ speed and size (6‘5”, 256 pounds) make him a nightmare when he’s running at defensive backs with the ball in his hands.
He shows great resilience while shedding tackles and consistently picking up yards after contact. His height and long arms (33.5”) give him the range to snatch balls from all directions, making him a big mismatch on the goal line.
Andrews’ ability to find the open space in zone coverage is something that jumps out on film. Andrews has quick feet for such a big guy. He can run complicated routes like a slot receiver and has demonstrated the ability to make defenders miss. His average of nearly 16 yards per catch in college illustrates his ability to make huge plays down the field.
Andrews finished in the middle-to-low end of the tight end group in strength and agility tests at this year’s combine. The big man also has type 1 diabetes, which is tough enough to overcome for a quarterback like Jay Cutler, but is another challenge entirely for a player exerting as much energy as a tight end.
Finally, Andrews is viewed by scouts as a one-dimensional tight end who does not block well. Putting him on the line of scrimmage on running plays and in pass-blocking situations will put an offense at risk.
When it comes to a position, like tight end or outside linebacker, that requires great versatility, NFL teams first look to players who embody the entire package and check all of their boxes. At the end of the day, Andrews is a specific type of talent who can thrive in certain role-playing situations. He needs to develop by leaps and bounds as a blocker on the line of scrimmage if he hopes to become an NFL team’s TE1.
Andrews’ proven ability to produce big plays and his value as a red zone target will attract many teams to scoop him up in the third round. He will likely land on a team with a hole in the tight end depth chart following free agency. Teams that would most benefit from adding competition to the position right now include the Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, and Houston Texans.
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