Shortly after declaring for the 2012 NFL draft—a little late, I might add—Orson Charles was considered the top tight end prospect in the draft.
How the times have changed.
An untimely (as if there is ever good timing) DUI arrest caused Charles to see his draft stock plummet a great deal. He also underperformed at the scouting combine in Indianapolis and had a pedestrian pro day in Athens.
So, where is his draft stock right now? Charles is the fourth-ranked tight end on my board behind Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen and Ladarius Green. He could still probably be drafted in the late second round.
The reason why Charles is still considered a relatively high pick is because he possesses awesome raw talent and looks like another in a long line of new-breed tight ends hitting the National Football League.
This article is going to focus on six strengths and weaknesses as they relate to Charles' game.
Orson Charles is a new breed of tight end in the mold of Vernon Davis and Jermichael Finley. He has the ability to dominate at the line of scrimmage, consistently causing issues for opposing defenders, especially in jam situations.
He can sprint down the field like a wide receiver and usually dominates between the hashes against linebackers and safeties.
Defenses are going to have to plan against him as if he were a wide receiver, not a tight end. This causes a tremendous amount of matchup issues.
Orson Charles struggles a great deal in route running. He doesn't have the capability to run tight, fluid routes as of yet.
This is something that he is going to have to fix in order to become a more complete player. This is also something that can be fixed with experience and the right coaching.
Expect whatever team that draft the Georgia product to make this their first order of business during offseason activities and in training camp.
I mentioned before that Orson Charles was pretty much an athletic freak. This slide is going to expand on that a little bit.
Charles is a type of tight end that is going to be able to spread the field between the hashes, making big plays down the field.
This is another reason that I believe that Charles is going to go in the second round. Simply put, the upside is pretty huge at this point.
Charles might be a willing blocker, he just isn't too great at it yet. He struggles in terms of technique and allows defenders to disengage from the block too consistently.
This is something that most young tight ends do tend to struggle with. At the very least, we know that the Georgia product is willing to get dirty in the trenches. You cannot say that about some of the top tight ends in the National Football League.
Orson Charles is pretty much a wide receiver in a tight end body. At 6'4", he tends to play like a receiver more than a tight end in the passing game.
This has drawn some criticism in regards to Charles and his inability to play larger than his size, but that doesn't seem to hold much weight to me. Instead, the Georgia product can act as a weapon both on the outside and between the hashes.
There are going to be a lot of mismatches created by his mere presence on the football field. Defenses aren't going to be able to rely on linebackers or safeties to cover Charles. Additionally, smaller corners are going to struggle going up against him on the outside.
A brief lapse in judgment might have cost Orson Charles millions of dollars. A DUI arrest following the 2011 season sent his stock dropping a great deal over the ensuing months and leading up to the draft later this week.
It doesn't seem to be a chronic issue like we see with some "troubled" prospects in the draft, but it is important nonetheless.
Teams are taking more of a look at character issues this season than in the past. I am not sure why this it, but it will be a factor in regards to Charles moving forward this week.