Second Round: 47th Pick
Although he wasn't known to most football fans, San Diego State tight end Gavin Escobar applied to enter the NFL draft this year. The relative unknown should still be one of the first five or six tight ends drafted. What will take this Aztec's game from under the radar to the national stage on Sundays?
Escobar is massive with long arms and soft hands. Combine those gifts with outstanding ball skills and you have a very large catch radius. He's a fluid athlete when it comes time to make the grab, and more fluid that a typical 6'6" player. Escobar is a good enough athlete to threaten the seam and get open on short and intermediate routes.
Blocking is a problem area, as Escobar can't sustain blocks and even gets thrown to the ground by stronger opponents. In general, Escobar isn't a very physical or aggressive player. He's not going to make anything happen after the catch with speed, quickness, or elusiveness. He also won't create separation downfield against NFL safeties or linebackers in a footrace.
At 6'6" 254, Escobar is going to tower over most of the players who try to cover him. He has 33 5/8" arms and his hands and ball skills make them give him a distinct advantage. His long stride is deceptively fast off of the snap and eats up ground quicker than his 4.84 40 time indicates. His 7.07 three-cone and 4.31 short shuttle times were among the best at the combine at tight end, although that lateral agility helps him more in his routes than after the catch.
Escobar has a basketball background, but doesn't have the "my ball mentality" of a Jimmy Graham or Tony Gonzalez. There are no known black marks on his record to cause worry about his character.
Escobar lined up all over the formation at San Diego State. He was an inline tight end, slot receiver, and H-back, sometimes changing his position before the snap.
Escobar gets up to speed quickly with a good burst out of his stance. He even gets a good launch out of a three-point stance. Cushion from linebackers and safeties gets eaten up right away when Escobar rips the seam.
Escobar has an excellent throttle-down and break in his routes and finds lots of soft spots in zone defenses with these abilities. He can get up the field quickly, but lacks a second gear to separate downfield. Still, with his height and ball skills, he can be a viable target in tight coverage.
Escobar is a natural hands catcher who almost never lets the ball get into his body. He can fluidly extend and go high for a catch as easily as he can get low to snag an errant pass. Escobar might have the best hands of any tight end in this class. He'll gain the trust of his quarterback very quickly.
Adjusting to the ball in flight is a routine exercise for Escobar. He can go high, low, or twist around to make his effective catch radius as big as any player in this class at tight end, and all but a few wide receivers. Escobar doesn't quite maximize his ability here, as he lacks a "my ball mentality" and does not attack the ball upon arrival.
Run After Catch
Escobar has very little to offer after the catch. His long stride does gobble up yards after the catch when he gets open against bad coverage, but otherwise, he is ineffective. Escobar has no moves or strategy to elude tacklers, he's not a strong enough runner to break tackles, and his balance is subpar.