Mark Andrews can be boring and this is a good thing.
The junior tight end from the University of Oklahoma shows everything that it’s
expected from a top tight end. At 6’6’’ and approximately 255 pounds, Andrews has the
body and ability to excel in his position, having such a high floor and a good ceiling.
The question that Andrews presents is if he can surpass his ceiling, in each he’s a good
player that has some flashes of playmaker. If he can be consistent, he’s a future star.
Let’s talk about the five aspects that are most important to scout a tight end and how he
fares in each of them.
Tight ends are normally divided between two types: the "Y" tight end, the in-line
blocking type; and the "U" tight end, the "move" tight end. A great TE is the one that
can help the team both as a blocker and as a receiver.
Andrews can be a starter in his first year due to his engagement in blocking and good
route running. He’s probably going to lose in some plays against veteran defensive
ends, but it’s hard to expect different from a rookie. It’s also noticeable how he is
diligent on each play, regardless of what is asked from him.
As I said, a tight end that can be a polished blocker coming out of college is rare and
this ability shows in Andrews tape. He loses against bigger defensive ends or fast edge
defenders when in line, but has shown an evolution that gives me confidence that he can
learn. Also, he can lose his assignment while in space, but when he finds it and engages,
he finishes strong (1) . It’s impossible to find a perfect prospect, so the next best thing is to
find a willing player that wants to get better – and this is Andrews’s case.
As a pass catcher is where Andrews makes his biggest highlights. There are three areas
of pass catching that are important: hands, route running and body control.
In seven games, it was possible to find only one drop by Andrews, which is remarkable.
He is a reliable player than can make catches in traffic and uses his body to protect. He
does tend to catch the ball with just his hands, instead of securing it against his body,
which increases the chance of drops, as well as pass breakups by defensive players.
It’s silly how much the description of smooth can appear when you think about
Andrews. He will kill defenses that use zone against his team by finding the spot zone. (2)
Also, he shows a good effort in selling a fake post or cutting routes to deceive
defenders. He’s also a reliable receiver in the intermediary routes over the middle of the
Spoiler alert: Baker Mayfield is an excellent quarterback. Even so, sometimes he is
erratic in his throws and places the ball too high. Mark Andrews has shown the body
control to go up in the air and catch the ball (4). This is what makes his catch radius so
good. In the end zone, he is dangerous with his combination of size and route running. 5
Playing tight end is a combination of size and athleticism. They need to be big enough
to win against defensive linemen and linebackers, and athletic enough to run and win
against defensive backs. In terms of size, Andrews, at 6’6” and around 255 pounds, is
comparable with well-known players as Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski. This is a
good list to be a part of.
Athleticism The Combine is going give us numbers that paint a clearer picture about his athleticism,
but Andrews has been constant in how well he moves laterally and having good speed
to be a vertical receiver. He has the strength to box out defenders to receive passes. I
expect good numbers from him, which is only going to confirm the belief that he’s one
of the best tight ends of this draft class.
How would he fit in with the San Francisco 49ers?
Mark Andrews can be the intermediary help to keep Garoppolo as good as he was last
year. He is a player who has shown the disposition to get better at all the facets of the
game. He is a safe bet to be a good and dynamic player that Shanahan can utilize in
creative ways to maximize this offense as he would want it to be.
If you want to watch some plays that I considered important to my evaluation, you can
find in this Twitter thread
1 0:29 of Texas 2017
2 0:51 of UTEP 2017
3 0:01 of Georgia 2018
4 0:01 of UTEP 2017
5 0:59 of Houston 2016