Fourth Round, 106rd Pick
Indianapolis took two tight ends in the 2012 NFL draft. Their early second-round pick, Coby Fleener, was a more athletic player with gaudier numbers. Their early third-round pick, Dwayne Allen, was just as productive but with more ordinary athleticism and better blocking. Allen has ended up being the better pick.
In this year's class, once again, flashier pass-catchers are ahead of a solid two-way tight end in Dion Sims. Will teams learn from the Colts' mistake?
Sims is a big, strong, physical tight end, who is equally adept at blocking and receiving. He runs and moves well for a player with his body type and playing style. He does not back down from physical confrontations and makes himself hard for a smaller man to bring down on their own after the catch. Sims can dominate his man as a blocker, driving them downfield or putting them on the ground. He also has good hands and ball skills, and Sims has some decent run-after-catch instincts and moves in the open field.
Even though he is more athletic than his body type suggests, Sims still lacks great balance and flexibility, and he sometimes looks a little clumsy. He doesn't have the speed to create great separation in his routes, and he probably won't be a big downfield receiving threat in the NFL. Sims' results as a blocker are usually great, but he does struggle to find targets at the second level and will revert to waist bending and lunging at times.
Sims' 6'5", 262-pound frame is his biggest asset, so to speak, along with massive 10 1/2" mitts. His 22 bench press reps at the combine illustrates his excellent upper-body strength, and his 35" vertical was also among the best tight end numbers at the combine. That vertical gives him a game "above the rim" as a receiver. His quickness and lateral agility are limited, which shows up in his 4.52 short shuttle and 7.36 three-cone time.
Sims was involved in a laptop theft scheme with his father and was suspended for a year in 2010. He spoke about the incident at the combine. He has a basketball background, finishing No. 4 for Michigan Mr. Basketball in high school. Sims played through a broken hand in 2011, so his toughness is not in question.
With the size and strength to play in-line tight end, Sims spent most of his time there at Michigan State, but he also lined up in the slot on some passing downs.
He's not a quick-twitch guy out of his three-point stance, but Sims isn't sluggish, either. He gets up to speed quicker than you would expect, and Sims can also make subtle moves to get clear of defenders in the box when he runs routes as an in-line tight end.
Sims was able to attack the seam in college and his ability to compete for high passes, along with his toughness and size, make him an excellent target over the middle. He understands how to sit down in zone coverage and come back to the quarterback when the play in extended. Sims wasn't used on a large variety of routes, and he isn't sudden with his breaks, but his ability to make contested catches could offset his inability to create great separation from better athletes.
This area is not a problem for Sims. He has soft hands on most targets and excellent hands on catches where he has to extend in the air for the ball above his head.
Sims is surprisingly explosive going up for a high pass and can snag them out of the air like a wide receiver. His leap timing and body control are both outstanding in these situations when you consider that he is 6'5", 262 pounds. Sims is not great otherwise at making tough adjustments to the ball in flight because of his body type.
Run After Catch
Even though he's not a quick/sudden runner after the catch, Sims has decent moves in the open field, and he is a very strong, stubborn runner. He has to be gang-tackled on most receptions, and Sims is terrific at powering through tackles and extending for extra yards at the end of a play. He will break weak tackle attempts and fire up his team by taking a tackler for a ride.
At his best, Sims can blot out his man or, even better, push them downfield like a blocking sled. He fires off of the snap and looks to land the first blow in the confrontation. Sims sustains his blocks to the whistle and will put his man on the ground when he can. He has very good feet as a pass-blocker, and he can do an adequate job of mirroring an edge rusher if asked. Sims anchors well against more powerful run defenders, and he can get to the second level in time to spring a big play, although he doesn't always find a target.
Scheme Versatility/Future Role
Sims is one of the few true two-way tight ends in this class, and he will serve as one in the NFL. He could also be an excellent red-zone specialist with his size and game in the air.
Tampa Bay (3rd-5th)
New York Jets (3rd-5th)