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2011 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Luke Stocker, TE, Tennessee

Tight end will be an interesting position for the New York Giants in 2012. Will Kevin Boss, a free agent, still be a Giant? Can Travis Beckum be a full-time player? Will Bear Pascoe stay at fullback or move back to tight end, probably as the blocking tight end?

The New England Patriotswere the shining example of the ever-increasing role of the tight end in NFL passing attacks. The Pats completed 87 passes to rookie tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski in 2010.

Fact is, even if Boss stays -- as much as we love the guy -- you can make an argument that the Giants need an upgrade at this position. So, let's use today's 2011 NFL Draft prospect profile to look at a tight end who might be of interest. Today we will profile Tennessee's Luke Stocker.

In his last two seasons with the Volunteers Stockers caught a total of 68 passes, seven for touchdowns. Here is CBS Sports draft analyst Chad Reuter discussing Stocker's work during Senior Bowl practice:

Tennessee's strapping young tight end, Luke Stocker, today looked exactly like the clone of former Volunteer and current Dallas Cowboys starter Jason Witten. The 6-foot-5, 255-pound Stocker stood out as a blocker and a receiver, standing up Mississippi State K.J. Wright when setting the edge on the run then catching everything thrown his way when out on routes. Stocker does not have exceptional straight-line speed, but finds openings between linebackers in which he can sit down, and also between the second and third levels of the defense. His one-handed grab down the left seam was impressive, even more so considering he held on after taking a shot from Clemson safety DeAndre McDaniel in supposed light-contact seven-on-seven drills.

On to the scouting reports.

Luke Stocker
TE, Tennessee (Sr.)
6-foot-5, 255 pounds
Projection: Round 2 or 3

From Sideline Scouting:

Positives: Good size... Heady... Good short area quickness... Good body control and balance... Runs reasonably good routes... Good receiver... High points the pass... Smart and savvy... Good awareness... Security blanket... Red zone target... Finds holes in zone coverage... Adjusts to the ball well... Soft hands... Not afraid to go over the middle of the field... Good run after catch ability... Physical... Runs hard... Tough to bring down... Will break some tackles... Solid in-line blocker... Can pull and seal inside on the edge... Reacts quickly to stunts and blitzes... Very solid down field blocker... Does a solid job getting in the way of defenders at the second level and in space and sealing them from the ball... Leader... Played through multiple injuries in college... Blue collar... Does the dirty work... Could also be considered as an H-Back... From the same school and quite similar to Jason Witten.

Negatives: Not real fast... Struggles to create separation... Doesn't hit top speed quickly... Rounds off his routes... Lacks elusiveness in open field... Doesn't get thrown to enough... Not especially strong at POA... Marginal hand placement, hands tend to get too high... Allows his base to get too narrow... Will occasionally reach or lean on the edge versus good speed... Doesn't fire out, allows defenders to make first contact.

From Draft Countdown:

- Excellent height and good bulk with a large frame
- Soft hands and snatches the ball away from body
- A good route runner who knows how to get open
- Understands how to use size to his advantage
- Terrific concentration and can absorb a big hit
- Tough and isn't afraid to work across the middle
- A strong runner who is a real load to bring down
- Willing blocker and does adequate job in that area

- Does not have the type of arm length you'd prefer
- Is not really an explosive athlete and lacks a burst
- Just average speed and doesn't get much separation
- Won't get down the seam or stretch field vertically
- Unimpressive leaping ability, body control, ball skills
- Isn't shifty or elusive and won't make tacklers miss

The type who does everything well but nothing great, with the ability to contribute as a pass catcher and blocker but not necessarily standing out in either area --- Could compete for a starting job in the right situation but most likely profiles as more of a backup at the next level.