The most wonderful time of the year is here, that’s right, draft time! Let’s look at a small school tight end with big-time potential the Pittsburgh Steelers could take in April.
The Pittsburgh Steelers tight end position was held down by one of the best in their history for many years. However, since Heath Miller announced his retirement, tight end has been somewhat of a revolving door of guys trying to take hold of the job.
From Jesse James and Ladarius Green to Xavier Grimble and Vance McDonald, the Steelers have seen many try and none really succeed to fill the shoes of Steelers great, Heath Miller. The front office’s efforts have been there but the results have been lackluster.
With no first-rounder, the Steelers will have limited options on how to best attack the weaknesses still plaguing the roster. Tight end could end up being a high priority come draft weekend.
With the Steelers tight in cap space, Vance McDonald could be cut to free up space elsewhere. This would leave the Steelers with only Nick Vannett and Zach Gentry on the roster.
The Steelers like the unknown players and Adam Trautman is somewhat of an unknown, for now. That status could change, and likely will, between now and the end of the combine leading into the draft.
Adam Trautman played college ball at Dayton, which is a small school much like Javon Hargrave’s South Carolina State.
The Steelers loved the way Hargrave dominated the talent across from him consistently and aggressively. Trautman is more of the same in that he looks like a man among boys.
Trautman came to Dayton as a quarterback but red-shirted his freshman year in 2015 and was moved to tight end. His numbers kept climbing year after year and he capped off that climb with 70 receptions for 916 yards and 14 touchdowns in his senior season.
His quick transition to tight end and the dominance he displayed in his senior season was impressive. He is extremely athletic with the size and speed combination that many teams look for in tight ends in today’s NFL.
He stands 6’5” at 251 pounds, so he has the height and frame to be an NFL tight end. His versatility will be tempting to NFL teams as well as he can line up all over the field.
The problem with Trautman is that he did just become a tight end in 2016. That four seasons was good experience but taking the leap from FCS Dayton to the Nation Football League is an entirely different monster.
He will need to get better as a blocker if he wants to become a total package tight end. Some of the best in the league in recent years are/were great blockers like Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce and George Kittle.
Trautman has a very high ceiling if his potential is to be realized by whoever takes him. His floor is low though due to the inexperience and the possibility of the transition being too much for him.
His athleticism and size should get him picked early but, just how early will be determined by his combine and interviews. If he is somehow still around when the Pittsburgh Steelers pick in round two, it would be hard for them to pass up on the opportunity to get him.