Tight ends have become a premium in the NFL. Now more than ever, teams are looking for an athletic guy to stretch the field and create mismatches out of the position.
Rice's Vance McDonald is relatively unknown, but his name is gaining steam after a strong Senior Bowl week and pro day. The two events have helped his draft stock skyrocket over the last few months.
Here are five things you should know about Vance McDonald.
Vance McDonald walked on to the Rice football team in 2009. The Kinesiology major played all four years and ended his career as a consensus All-C-USA tight end.
McDonald is from Winnie, Texas and is the son of a former linebacker at the University of Texas. In high school he won district titles in both his junior and senior year, and he also competed in track and basketball.
Vance McDonald ranks sixth all-time in school history with 119 catches. He had over 1,500 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns during his time at the school.
McDonald's sophomore year was his best season. He had a career-high eight touchdowns to go along with 396 receiving yards and 28 receptions.
At the Scouting Combine, Vance McDonald measured in at 6'4'', 267 lbs. He ran a 4.60 40-yard dash and bench-pressed 225 lbs 31 times.
At his pro day, he started slowly with a couple of drops but came on strong and caught everything after. He showed good movement and was explosive through the hips. He helped himself with a strong showing in the blocking drills.
A total of 40 representatives from 30 NFL teams were on hand during his pro day at Rice.
Despite Vance McDonald's size, his time in the Rice offense was spent primarily in the slot receiver position. He was widely considered an unknown prospect until he turned heads during Senior Bowl week.
McDonald not only played out of position on offense, but also finished his last year at Rice as the team's long snapper.
His hometown of Winnie, Texas has a population of less than 3,500 people.
Vance McDonald's size and experience in the slot could mean a team would like to use him as a mismatch on the edge. His ability to block out of the position could help a NFL offense in the running game or read option game.