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NFL Draft Scouting report: Nick Vannett, TE, Ohio State

Former Ohio State tight end Nick Vannett is profiled and evaluated for the 2016 NFL Draft.

Nick Vannett – Ohio State Buckeyes

Position: Tight End

Height: 6’6’’

Weight: 257

Year: Senior

Hometown: Westerville, Ohio

Experience: Sr. – 1 year starter

 

Measurables:

40 yard: ---

Broad jump: 111 inch.

Vertical: 30.5 inch.

3-cone: 7.05 sec.

20yd. Shuttle: 4.20 sec.

Bench Press: 17 reps

 

Career Notes:

Only a one-year starter at Ohio State, Vannett made an immediate impact in the Buckeyes ground game as a run blocker on the edge in 2015. His senior receiving numbers were only modest, recording 19 receptions for 162 yards and zero touchdowns.

However, Vannett’s production in the passing game was severely limited by the inconsistent quarterback play in OSU’s offense last season. The Buckeyes focus on heavily running the ball also lowered his number of targets, but he still made the most of his opportunities in the passing game.

Playing primarily a reserved role as a junior behind starter Jeff Heuerman in 2014, Vannett still managed 19 receptions for 220 yards and five touchdowns, getting a lot of his action in the red zone and short-yardage situations. Over his four years in college, the Ohio native managed 15 starters, 55 receptions, and 585 yards receiving for a 10.6 ypc average.

Vannett enters the 2016 NFL Draft as a top-five tight end prospect and a probable day two draft selection. After an impressive week down in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, Vannett solidified himself as one of the more complete tight ends in this draft.

 

Injury Report:

*No significant injuries in college that caused him to miss a start.

 

Career Stats:

 

Analysis:

Speed/Quickness: (3.5/5.0)

On film, Vannett shows decent straight-line speed. He can streak down the seam and create separation from the second level of the defense. He also demonstrates adequate quickness breaking out of his route. He’s an above-average athlete for his position, and probably faster and more explosive than people give him credit for. He possesse enough speed to get open over the middle of the field, but he’s not going to burn defensive backs in one-on-one coverage.

Route Running: (4.0/5.0)

Vannett does a nice job creating separation with polished route running. He looks smooth in-and-out of his breaks, demonstrating good ability to change direction in the open field. He also shows a proficiency in the entire route tree, and despite the limited opportunites, Vannett frequently got open on his first break. He also does a nice job settling down in between zone coverage, taking advantage of the soft spots in the defense, and then working back to the quarterback to bail him out if the quarterback flushes out of the pocket.

Hands: (4.0/5.0)

The modest production in college does not honestly reflect Vannett’s ability to consistently catch the ball. He consistently demonstrates soft hands, plucking the ball out of the air or catching the pass out in front of his body on crossing routes. Vannett’s large catch radius also works to his advantage, as he adjusts to the ball well in the air and will haul in passes thrown away from his body. Vannett also shows tremendous courage running over the middle of the field and making receptions in traffic, not flinching or pulling up with a defender rushing in to strike.

YAC Ability: (3.5/5.0)

Vannett does a nice job turning upfield after a reception to gain as many positive yards as possible. He’s a tough player who will lower his shoulder and try to run over a defender getting in his way, or he’ll lunge forward to gain extra yardage. However, Vannett doesn’t show an ability to shake defenders loose in the openfield, or possesses the quickness and explosive ability to turn a short pass into a big gain downfield.

Blocking: (5.0/5.0)

Despite being a very solid receiver, the best part to Vannett’s game is without question his run blocking ability. He’s viscous in the trenches, not backing down against defensive linemen much larger than him, and once he gets his hands on a defensive end or linebacker, they’re washed out of the play. He’s very strong at the point of attack, showing a good base, footwork, and arm extension to keep the defender in front of him and out of the play.

On several plays against Notre Dame, he even drives defensive tackle Sheldon Day several yards off the line of scrimmage, and against Michigan in 2014, he completely de-cleats current Packers linebacker Jake Ryan. Vannett is one of the stronger tight ends in this draft class, and perhaps, the top run blocker of the group. Impressive, considering he began his collegiate career as a wide receiver.

Summary

Vannett is a tough, physical tight end that should make an immediate impact in the NFL as a dominant run blocker, but also a guy who will surprise some people as a receiving threat in the passing game. He’s versatile enough to play as an in-line tight end, H-back, or line up in the slot. As a better athlete than people give him credit for, Vannett should have better production as a receiver in the NFL once his skillset is better utilized in the right system and he plays with a more consistent quarterback under center.

Overall: (4.0/5.0)

 

If drafted by the Packers:

Even though Green Bay needs a big receiving target to make plays over the middle of the field from their tight end position, which Vannett could help alleviate, the Packers also need a consistent run blocker on the edge.

Richard Rodgers made gains in the passing game in his second year, but he’s still a long way away from becoming a reliable blocker for the Packers ground game. In fact, the Packers really don’t have a player at the position, who excels in blocking.

Vannett would immediately upgrade the Packers run game, and could play on early downs until coaches feel more comfortable using him in the passing game. The former Buckeye has the potential to be a complete tight end in the NFL, but considering his minimal experience in college, it might take him a bit to get his footing as a receiver at the next level.

Early on, the Packers would still probably favor Richard Rodgers on third down over Vannett, but the Ohio State product has better overall athleticism and speed and would eventually work his way into the lineup to split snaps with the Packers third-year veteran.

 

Video:

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Comments (7)

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Evan's picture

March 13, 2016 at 08:49 pm

Color me intrigued. Very interested in his 40 time, but if he's there in the 3rd, he seems like he'd be a great fit.

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TheLegendary52's picture

March 13, 2016 at 09:18 pm

At the Ohio State pro day, Vannett was clocked at 4.85 and 4.90 in the 40 yard dash.

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dandahlke's picture

March 14, 2016 at 02:39 am

His forty time was very disappointing.

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Evan's picture

March 14, 2016 at 06:44 am

Yea, less than good.

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RCPackerFan's picture

March 14, 2016 at 07:19 am

The 40 time, while can say something, isn't the end all be all for TE's.

Jermichael Finley ran a 4.82 40.
Vannett ran a 4.85.

I really do like Vannett. The 2 TE's I like in the 2nd-3rd round area is Jerell Adams and Nick Vannett. I would be tempted to take either player if available.

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lou's picture

March 14, 2016 at 12:25 pm

Both Finley and Baclkman are much faster, I heard nothing but praise from Greg Olsen on Vannette at the Combine but he appears to have Richard Rodgers speed.

Per Bob McGinn in July, 2010 on Finley;

Physically, Finley has it all.

His overall size and huge wingspan, 4.65-second speed in the 40-yard dash, graceful gait and soft hands could allow him to surpass Paul Coffman, Mark Chmura and Ron Kramer as the finest tight end in club history.

Per Acmepackingcompany.com when Backman was drafted;

At UAB's Pro Day, Backman measured in at 6 feet 3 inches and 243 pounds. He also ran his 40-yard dash in 4.66 seconds, which is faster than all but two tight ends who ran the 40 at the Scouting Combine.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

March 14, 2016 at 04:56 am

I like his tape. Really can block and find the soft spot in zones. Not so hot when covered man to man.

I am in the minority. I want a TE who can block and has good hands - a dual threat. I am not as concerned about speed. More speed would be nice, but I still like him. Maybe he times faster at private workouts. Probably late 3rd or 4th rounder to me.

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