Jake Stoneburner Scouting Report: NFL Outlook for Ohio State TE
Ohio State is not an easy place for a receiving tight end to make a name for himself, so even an iconic name like Jake Stoneburner was not well-known in college circles. Stoneburner didn't have a lot of opportunities, but when he did get targeted, he showed signs of skills that could lead a decent career in NFL. See the story on Stoneburner that the stats don't tell.
Stoneburner has underrated speed, and he plays with a rugged edge. He can move around the formation and play multiple spots, which is becoming more common in today's NFL. His quality hands and ball skills reflect his wide receiver background, and he can threaten a defense downfield and effectively work between the hashes.
Stoneburner also has a knack for finding the end zone, with a score every 4.1 times he touched the ball.
Stoneburner isn't particularly quick, agile or explosive. He probably lacks the bulk and strength to play in-line tight end in the NFL, and he wasn't a featured part of the pass offense at Ohio State. His speed is build-up speed without great acceleration, and he is an average blocker at best.
His 4.62 40 time was one of the best among tight ends at the combine, and his size—6'3", 252—makes that even more impressive. His 4.27 short shuttle and 34.5" vertical are also solid numbers that paint the picture of a player who might have been underused in the passing game at Ohio State
Stoneburner had his scholarship revoked after an incident last summer that involved public urination and running from the police. He'll have to answer questions about that, but otherwise, he seems like a tough, high-effort player on the field who can learn and play multiple positions.
Stoneburner came to Ohio State as a wide receiver, moved to tight end and H-back and then ended up back at wide receiver in 2012. He did still line up at H-back and tight end at times, but he was not heavily targeted in Ohio State's run-first offense.
He's not quick out of his stance, so Stoneburner isn't going to immediately threaten the seam. He sometimes stands straight up before going into his route, although his build-up speed helps compensate for his slow get-off later in the play.
In a small sample size, Stoneburner demonstrates some very good route-running skills. He can drift to the soft spots in a zone defense, and he also gets inside position and separation over the top on linebackers. He sets up his breaks like a wide receiver, but he can also bang with a defender in a route and not get disrupted or taken off course or timing.
Stoneburner's hands fit with a receiving tight end profile. He's very smooth going for balls above his head and is a natural hands-catcher.
Again, you see the wide receiver come out in Stoneburner's game. He has a big effective catch radius and the body control adjust to poorly thrown balls. He presents a good target for his quarterback and tracks the ball to make his catches look easier than they really are. He is fluid extending for the ball and catches very well outside of his frame.
Run After Catch
Stoneburner's good hands and ball skills make it easier for him to transition to run-after-catch mode quickly. He runs hard and doesn't shy away from contact. Stoneburner will break tackles with effort, but he is not elusive after the catch. He does have the speed to pull away from the linebacker when he gets behind them.
Although he lacks the bulk and functional strength to really move his opponent, Stoneburner stays after defenders as a run-blocker. He churns his legs and extends his arms to at least stalemate them, if not continue to pester them as they attempt to pursue the play. He isn't going to be a lead blocker or asset, but he's not a liability either.
Scheme Versatility/Future Role
This is a good time for a player like Stoneburner to come into the league. His versatility and speed will help him find a role as a "joker" tight end in a multi-faceted pass offense.
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