Nick Vannett, Tight End
The Ohio State University
6’6″ 256 lbs.
- Well built – muscular frame
- Good pass blocker and in-line run blocker
- Lots of experience in run heavy offense
- Dangerous in the redzone
- Good hands, and good at making tough catches
- All-around game
- Limited experience as a pass catcher
- Separation issues
- Tentative downfield blocker
Nick Vannett certainly has the look of a good NFL all-around tight end. I’ve seen some say he has a Gronk-like build, but he’s not as big as him, but still a big muscular guy with long arms. Vannett is definitely a guy that could end up being a much better pro than college player.
Anyone that’s watched the Buckeyes the past couple of seasons knows that Ezekiel Elliot was the centerpiece of their offense, which is why Vannett got a lot of experience as a blocker. Vannett has good feet and is an impressive pass blocker when he stays in to pass protect. He also is an impressive blocker when he’s in-line or as a lead blocker. Where I have some concern is when Vannett has to block at the second level. He tends to slow up, and shows tentativeness, rather than really laying into defenders.
As a pass catcher, there’s really not a ton of tape to break down of Vannet. He does have some soft hands and some instances where he works well against zone defenses. He shows great concentration in coming away with the ball in traffic and in jump ball situations. Where we really got to see what Nick was capable of, was at the senior bowl where he turned a lot of heads. Vannett’s skills at going and getting the ball was on display in Mobile where he was nearly uncoverable in the red-zone. In the NFL, Vannett would thrive in that area right away, but will need to work on his route running to get better separation.
How he Fits (or doesn’t) with the Steelers
I think that Nick Vannett is really a guy that the Steelers would like having on their roster, but the question is how high of a pick would they have to spend to make it happen. The Steelers aren’t interested in these new-NFL receivers playing the tight end position like Jimmy Graham or Jason Kelce. Vannett fits what they want; and all-around guy that can block as well as he can catch the ball.
Vannett’s strength is also one of the team’s biggest weaknesses, which is converting red-zone opportunities in 6 points instead of 3. In that part of his game, he could likely come in and make an impact fairly quickly. That being said, I think that Vannett is still a project, and I’m not sure that’s what the team will want at the tight end position suddenly looking very thin. In short, I see a lot of tools in Vannett’s arsenal that haven’t been fully developed yet.
I think that he’s probably a 3rd or 4th round prospect… that will be drafted late in the 2nd or early in the 3rd due to a weak tight end class. If he runs well at the combine, I could see the hype on him really exploding. Personally, I would pass unless he’s still on the board for Steelers’ pick at the end of round 3.
Draft Range Prediction
Late 2nd-Early 3rd