If nothing else, former Michigan State tight end Brian Linthicum is solid. Linthicum battled through injuries and a transfer from Clemson in his career before finally making a significant impact in East Lansing last year.
The newly signed undrafted free agent will join the New York Jets with the hope of becoming the team's No. 2 tight end behind Dustin Keller.
At 6'4", 249, Linthicum has decent size for the position, though he could stand to add a little more weight. This past season the 24-year-old hauled in 31 catches for 364 yards, but no touchdowns. He finished his career with 80 catches for over 900 yards and six touchdowns.
To be a steady contributor at the next level Linthicum will have to prove he can stay healthy and build upon his success from 2011.
He will have a great chance to beat out Jeff Cumberland as the Jets' backup tight end in 2012.
Pro Day Results:
40-Yard Dash: 4.87 sec.
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.62 sec.
3-Cone Drill: 7.37 sec.
225-Pound Bench Press: 28 Reps
Vertical Jump 27.5"
Broad Jump: 9'
What the Experts Are Saying
Dan Kadar, a contributor for USA Today's 2012 Draft Magazine had this to say about Linthicum's strengths:
"Does the little things (head fakes, shoulder leans) to get open on a route. Gets good body position to make the catch. Good at making a play on the ball."
ESPN's Scouts Inc. liked these things about the tight end's game:
"Zone buster that locates and settles into seams. Good sideline awareness. Flashes the ability to open up and adjust to passes thrown behind him."
CBS Sports wrote this about the weaknesses:
"A bit inconsistent with his release off the line of scrimmage. Possesses only average straight-line speed and is a bit stiff as a route-runner, showing only average flexibility and burst out of his breaks."
Although he will never become a top flight fantasy tight end in the NFL, Brian Linthicum could make himself a decent living by sticking it out in the league for at least the next half decade.
It is hard to find any glaring faults in Linthicum's game. He is a solid, if unspectacular, tight end. The Jets' coaches will find value in his consistency, and that trust will earn him solid playing time over the next few seasons.
Linthicum is reminiscent of Miami's Anthony Fasano and New England's Daniel Fells. Both are solid blockers and have a knack for finding open windows where quarterbacks can get them the ball.