Goodness gracious Jean Sifrin has some potential.
I know O'Leary doesn't have the upside and height some people want, but he does it all and is as tough as any player in college football. IMO this kid comes in day 1 and is ready to contribute and be very productive.
Reminds me of a TE version of Chris Borland, he will always do the right thing, will always give it his all, and will help you win ball games.
He not only improves from season to season, but from season finale to the following spring practice, and from spring practice to the start of the following season. Then he steps up his game as the season progresses. Must be a dedicated guy.
His frame was quite odd as a sophomore. I think I commented on it here. It's steadily become more normal for the position.
Walford's strength is the ability to fetch the ball in traffic at high point. He's now very dangerous in that role. Brad Kaaya sensed it and depended on Walford routinely on those plays. I'm not sure if Walford's arms are longer than standard for the position. He certainly makes it appear that way.
He can get downfield although it's more one gear than a burst. I'll be interested to see how he times, particularly coming off a serious leg injury. The 40 number might push Walford lower than warranted.
There have been some fumble issues. He makes the grab and scans downfield, believing he's more of a juke threat than actual. Walford loses sense of defenders alongside or tracking from behind. They poke or pry it away.
Canes tight ends have been so effective in the league I have to allow benefit of a doubt. Even guys who barely saw the field like Richard Gordon and Chase Ford have made rosters and contributed recently.
Regarding O'Leary, this goes way back but he reminds me of Todd Christensen.
Christensen was a very prominent fullback at BYU. He terrorized defenses because the college game wasn't accustomed to fullbacks who were used primarily as receiver. It didn't seem strange at all when the Raiders shifted Christensen to tight end.
O'Leary is more of a pinball than Christensen, who generally played high. O'Leary often appears considerably shorter than his listed height. Otherwise I detect quite a few similarities, including feisty playing style and niftiness in traffic. Both of them could disappear for long stretches and then make decisive plays when needed most, and in bunches.
O'Leary has had some minor off field issues. On the field he's versatile, smart and reliable, the type of guy who is perfect for the spotlight position in fielding an opponent's onside kick, for example.
Jeff Heuerman from Ohio State seems to run well for a 6-5 250 pound tight end and has decent receiving skills. Any thoughts on why he's rarely mentioned in draft discussions concerning the tight end position. I'm seeing projections saying 5th round for Heuerman but I think he should go higher. Also how would you rate Arthur Lynch compared to the top 5-10 tight ends in this year's draft?
Rich Gannon was raving about Maxx Williams from Minnesota (he lives up there). He sees him as a late 1st round pick and the best TE in the Draft. He's young, big and tough.
Minnesota doesn't produce a lot of top rated players. For him to excel and get attention as an underclassman ahead of guys like Walford and O'Leary, he's done something right. His Dad was a former NFL player.