Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame, 6-6, 270 pounds
Hometown: Fullerton, CA
40 time: 4.84
Vertical jump: 32″
225 lb. bench: 27 reps
Broad jump: 9’06”
News and Notes:
Began his career at Notre Dame as an outside linebacker and started one game as a freshman. … One of five Notre Dame receivers to tally multiple catches of 25 yards or more in 2012 … Had a career-high six catches for 76 yards and a touchdown in a 41-30 loss at Michigan on Sept. 7, 2013.
What they’re saying about him:
- CBSSports.com: Prototypical build for today’s matchup nightmare at tight end. Excellent height, long arms and a well-built frame. Experience on the defensive side of the ball is shown with his physical nature on the field. Uses his height and strength to get open against tight coverage, consistently winning the physical battle with opponents to create space. Good leaping ability, flashing the ability to extend and pluck. Used in a variety of roles for the Irish, including as an inline blocker from both sides, split out wide and even used as an occasional H-back or as a third tackle in pass protection. Secures the football quickly and turns aggressively upfield, dragging would-be tacklers along the way. Good bloodlines. Nephew of Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews.
- NFL.com: Work in progress as an in-line blocker — lacks ideal base strength, grip strength and overall body power. Bends at the waist and falls off some blocks. Route running needs refinement. Is still learning to use his frame advantageously — inconsistent traffic player. Lacks elite top-end speed. Average elusiveness and creativity after the catch. Could stand to play with more physicality and become a better finisher
- This is a highlight reel so don’t forget, it doesn’t show the plays he missed.
- It is scary how much Niklas resembles Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
- Does a good job of coming back to the ball.
- Has developed soft hands after transitioning over from defense.
- Sheds and can give blocks with ease.
- Is a little slow getting out of his break, which forces him to post-up his huge frame.
If drafted by the Packers:
It’s really amazing how far Niklas has come with the tight end position in just two short years. There are guys in college that have been playing the position their entire life that cannot catch like he can, or block like he can. Very raw when it comes to route running. He was able to win a lot of one-on-one battles in college because of his sheer size. In the NFL, he will need to win the majority of those at the line of scrimmage. Niklas would be a perfect project tight end for the Packers. He could be brought to learn the NFL while refining his game and transform himself into a Jermichael Finley player that Packers fans unfortunately never got to see.——————
Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn