Some teams are looking at San Diego State's Gavin Escobar as high as the second round because he's a massive receiving tight end with good hands and ball skills. Just up I-5 at UCLA, they could find a very similar talent in Joseph Fauria who could be available four or five rounds later.
What makes Fauria one of the biggest possible steals of Day 3?
Fauria towers over any defender who is trying to cover him. He is a fluid athlete with good hands and concentration, and he has surprising strength for a tall receiver. He is a trump card in the red zone who teams will struggle to stop because he is very good at high pointing the ball and making catches in tight coverage.
Fauria is also quicker in his routes and a more effective blocker than his body type would lead you to believe.
While he is a good athlete for a 6'7" player, Fauria is still somewhat stiff and slow, and no threat to rip the seam. He doesn't create great separation, and aside from an occasional hurdle of a defender to make a highlight reel, he doesn't do much after the catch. He is marginally effective to adequate as a blocker, although not a liability.
The main tools here are the 6'7", 259-pound frame with 33.75" arms and giant 10.875" hands. His 4.72-second 40-yard dash is a bit faster than he looks on film. Fauria's 35.5" vertical makes his length an even greater weapon.
Fauria is yet another 2013 draft prospect with NFL bloodlines. His uncle, Christian, was a tight end in the NFL. He did transfer from Notre Dame after a semester-long suspension for a "non-academic" violation, so teams will want to know what was behind that development.
He spent most of his time in the slot, but Fauria also lined up at H-back or in-line tight end and did not look totally out of place in the trenches.
Fauria is smoother out of his stance than you expect him to be. He's not sudden by any means, but Fauria has enough foot quickness to get into his route right away and present a big target.
Even though he is big, Fauria can be bumped by smaller opponents and doesn't always fight for inside position. He very instinctively gets to the outside and positions his body to high-point the ball on the fade and will be a weapon on this route in the end zone.
Since Fauria isn't a long strider despite his height, he gets in and out of his breaks quicker than expected and can create the necessary separation to get open, which isn't that much considering his size. He doesn't have the speed to run downfield routes and create separation.
Fauria's hands aren't exceptional, but they're good enough for a receiver his size. He has reliable hands when he is diving and leaping, and Fauria also brings in the low pass better than a 6'7" tight end should be able to.
He doesn't have sticky hands and can bobble the ball, but his excellent concentration kicks in and he usually makes the reception.
Fauria is able to build on his size advantage with good leap timing and body control to create a huge catch radius. He will compete for a ball when he is well-covered, and Fauria can secure the ball even when he doesn't initially get both hands on it. Fauria can bend and slide to get under passes that don't have enough air under them.
Run After Catch
While he's not gangly or clumsy, Fauria lacks great balance or burst to make a lot happen after the catch. He is competitive, so he will do things like leap over a defender that lowers his head and goes for the thigh.
Fauria is strong and will generate a few yards after contact, but he is not hard to tackle and won't be a threat to break big plays.
Fauria's big frame gets in the way, but his effort and strength help him do a little more than that as a blocker.
He can get grabby, but Fauria does usually get his hands on his assignment and at least delay their contribution to the play. He does have trouble with battles of leverage as a blocker, and it causes him to get beaten. He's reasonably effective as a run blocker in-line and doesn't get jolted back on the snap.
Scheme Versatility/Future Role
The team that takes Fauria might use him as a slot receiver to create some mismatches in nickel defenses, but he'll make most of his noise in the red zone as a second tight end that can move around the formation.
He's probably not a dynamic enough receiver or good enough blocker to start or be a core piece for an offense.