Missouri TE Chase Coffman (Missouri.edu)
As the 2009 NFL Draft approaches, the editorial staff at Buffalo Rumblings will begin profiling draft prospects that may end up being potential targets of the Bills. MattRichWarren gets us started this morning by profiling Missouri TE Chase Coffman.
One of the positions of need that has been clearly stated by the Rumblings community this year is a pass-catching tight end. As we've discussed, the best way to adequately address the position is in the draft. I've been assigned the task of scouting the tight ends expected to go in rounds two through four. Today we'll look at Missouri tight end Chase Coffman.
Chase Coffman - Tight End, Missouri
6'6", 252 lbs, 4.85-second 40 yard dash
Strengths: Pass-catching ability
Coffman has the greatest set of hands I've ever seen. And when I say "greatest hands I've ever seen," I don't mean for a college tight end. I mean for any football player ever. Yes I'm biased and yes this sounds like hyperbole, but ANY ball put in Coffman's general vicinity was caught, often times in a ridiculous manner. Coffman certainly has question marks and red flags going into this draft, but anyone who has his hands as one of them doesn't know what the hell they're talking about.
Weaknesses: Playing with a hand on the ground
In Mizzou's system, Coffman's hand was never on the ground. Yes, feel free to start the "tight end vs. big wide receiver debate" here. Coffman isn't going to blow people up on the line of scrimmage, but he has proven himself fairly adept on the blocking front. Missouri has received fantastic downfield blocking from its wideouts and tight ends, particularly in 2007 with Will Franklin and last year with Coffman. However, I do understand the limitations here. Blocking an Iowa State strong safety 20 yards downfield is far different than blocking an NFL defensive end at the line of scrimmage. I wish I had a more complete answer for you, but the real truth is that no one will know what Coffman can do as an NFL-type tight end until someone plugs him in the system.
NFL Comparison: Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
Coffman certainly doesn't have Antonio Gates-type speed, but I would classify him in the Jason Witten category of "sure thing" receiving tight ends with an uncanny ability to move the chains. If you covered him with a linebacker, Coffman was able to easily separate, especially on 8-10 yard crosses. If you lined him up with a defensive back, it was essentially a free jump ball along the sideline. Same personality [as Witten], same style of play, but with more athleticism and comparable if not better hands.
His dad Paul was also an NFL TE with the Chiefs and Packers... known as someone who "came in with his mouth shut and went to work - for four years"... broke the NCAA record for career receptions for a tight end in Missouri's game against Colorado this past season...has had some injury concerns with his ankles... won the Mackey Award in 2008 as nation's top TE.
Does Coffman "Fit the Bill"?
I am frankly scared of Coffman's (in)ability to put his hand on the ground and block or release into a pattern through traffic. We're going to see this a lot with this year's second tier TEs. Now if the Bills want him to line up on the weak side opposite of Derek Fine and roll with two TE formations I could be all for that. That could force him to be covered by a linebacker creating a mismatch. If he slips to the third round I don't know how the Bills could pass on him. I would draft him in the second round if we dealt with at least two of remaining big needs in free agency (OLB, DE, OG).
Collected Scouting Reports for further information:
Many thanks to rptgwb over at Rock M Nation for the help.