Chris Gragg Scouting Report: NFL Outlook for Arkansas TE

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Chris Gragg Scouting Report: NFL Outlook for Arkansas TE
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Chris Gragg

Buffalo Bills

Seventh Round: 222nd Pick

Chris Gragg came to Arkansas as a wide receiver, and you can see it in his game. He has added blocking skills in the rough-and-tumble SEC, but Gragg has also struggled with injuries and failed to hit his peak during his time with the Razorbacks. After a great combine, Gragg is on the rise again. When healthy, he's not that far off the top wide receivers in this class. 

 

Strengths

Gragg is a downfield threat from the tight end position, with wide receiver-quality ball skills and a huge catch radius. His presence can keep a safety occupied and clear out the middle of the pass defense. He is a tough runner after the catch and can break tackles. Gragg lacks typical tight end size but is still a solid blocker on both run and pass plays.

 

Weaknesses

Eliminate in-line tight end as a pro position for Gragg at 6'3" and 244 pounds. That also means he'll never be a highly effective powerful blocker. Gragg is prone to concentration lapses and runs a limited set of routes. He is not particularly quick or sudden and won't create great separation with his route running or put moves on defenders after the catch. Gragg has missed a lot of time with injuries, and durability could be a big question mark.

 

Tools

 

Gragg put up numbers most wide receivers would be happy with at the combine but in a 6'3", 244-pound frame. His 4.5 40-yard dash blew away the field at tight end, as did his 37.5" vertical. Gragg's 33.625" arms along with his fluid athleticism combine to form an excellent effective catch radius. 

 

Intangibles/Character

Studying under high character player and current Green Bay Packers tight end D.J. Williams was a big factor in Gragg's development. He converted from wide receiver after one season at Arkansas and did a good job changing his body and playing style to fit the position. A dislocated ankle cost him one year, and he missed a lot of his senior year with a knee issue but Gragg appeared to be 100 percent at the combine.

 

System

Gragg was heavily used as an inline tight end, but he also lined up as an H-back or in the slot at times.

 

Release

Since he isn't a quick-twitch player, Gragg isn't that sudden getting off the line, but his build-up speed threatens the seam once he gets going. Gragg is skilled at altering his take-off angle to get around defenders in the box.

 

Routes

Gragg will kill a defense by ripping the seam, and he is lethal on wheel routes out of the backfield. Other than that, you'll mainly see him run crossing patterns with a few timing patterns mixed in. He isn't that experienced at finding dead spots in zone coverage or making catches on balls that are in the air before he makes his break. 

 

Hands

Gragg looks like the wide receiver he used to be tracking a ball over his shoulder.

Gragg's hands aren't a liability, but they aren't a strength either. He will drop easy passes occasionally, but he can also make great catches at extension and adjust to poorly thrown balls. Gragg's hands aren't strong enough to always come down with the ball that is competed for, and his ball security after the catch can be a concern.

 

Ball Skills

This is the one area where Gragg still looks like a wide receiver. He can contort his body to adjust to balls that are high, low or behind him. He adjusts well on the move and can haul in the pass without losing much downfield momentum. Gragg can still sprawl, leap and dive for passes like a wideout, and he tracks the ball over his shoulder like a classic deep threat. Gragg's effective catch radius is massive.

 

Run After Catch

It's going to take a strong tackle to stop Gragg. He can run through arm tackles and drag tacklers for extra yardage. Gragg gets low like a running back and churns his legs through contact. He absorbs hits with good balance. Gragg transitions to run-after-catch mode smoothly, even when he has to adjust to a bad ball. 

 

Blocking

He's not known as a great blocker, but Gragg can actually push his opponent back sometimes.

Gragg is an attacking blocker who can handle larger opponents. He is good at getting his arms extended to keep a defender at bay. Gragg can actually get some push in short yardage and even drive his opponent backward, but he doesn't usually land a punch with a good jolt off the snap.

He exhibits some offensive tackle qualities in his kick slide, and he has a wide frame with long arms to give him extra range as an edge pass-blocker. Gragg can also seal off his spot on runs to his side of the line, and he is good at finding a target at the second level of running plays. He is usually strong enough to stalemate his opponents, although he rarely, if ever, puts them on the ground.

 

Future Role/Scheme Versatility

Gragg is an ideal "joker" tight end who can line up all over the formation and be used to force the defense into pre-snap declarations and mismatches. He is a vertical threat who can also punish poor tackling on short and intermediate passes. If he stays healthy, Gragg could evolve into a mainstay of his team's passing game.

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