NFL Draft Prospect Profile: TE Troy Niklas All Green Bay Packers All the Time

Player Information:

Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame, 6-6, 270 pounds

Hometown: Fullerton, CA


Troy Niklas' physique is so imposing that his teammates have nicknamed him "Hercules."
Troy Niklas’ physique is so imposing that his teammates have nicknamed him “Hercules.”


NFL Combine:

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: 

  • 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.
  •   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


Video Analysis:

  • 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- or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn


38 thoughts on “NFL Draft Prospect Profile: TE Troy Niklas

  1. I’ve been able to get him in the second round of mock drafts. Some may question his speed based on his 4.84 forty, but Finley only ran a 4.82 coming out of college.

  2. I’d like to get him too, but not with either one of our first two picks. IMO the first two picks should be spent on a ILB and S. If Nilkas is available for us with our first pick in the 3rd round, draft him!

    1. I kind of agree but most big boards have Niklas rated much higher than the 4th safety & most have the first 3 gone by our second round pick. I’ve done a number (too many, kind of addicted to it) of simulated drafts on the Fanspeak site & it is going to be difficult to get immediate help at S, ILBER, & TE. Realistic to get help at 2 of the 3 though….however because TT tends to go with “best available” who knows if we will get help at any of those 3 positions!

      1. using Fanspeask simulator & Walter Football Big Board option, this is the best I could get “for need” draft for 5 rounds:
        OHIO STATE

        NOTRE DAME






        1. I like it, but I think S is much more of a priority for the Packers than TE. If you really want Deone Bucannon, I wouldn’t gamble he would be there in the 3rd round. Remember, Chicago draft before us and they need a safety too. The last thing I want to see in this draft is for the Bears to snatch away from us one of the players we really want!

          1. I too am concerned about safety. My hope is that Hyde pans out there. If he does, a high draft guy at that position may not see the field. On the other hand MM plays so many TE’s that you know Niklas would get plenty of snaps.

          2. “I like it, but I think S is much more of a priority for the Packers than TE.”

            You are advocating drafting for need over BPA. That is surest path to ruination when drafting.

            Who knows, maybe Niklas is too developmental to go R2 in a deep draft, but if he is, TT should still go BPA in the early rounds. Maybe he will go WR in R2 as he often has in the past. Certainly there will be value at that position in R2. Maybe we have to gamble that Niklas will be there in R3 and if not, we go with Fiedorowicz instead.

        2. I would like Lockett from Kansas ST at WR. He’s an excellent rec. with tremendous punt and kick return ability.I would take him over a good TE because it fills two great needs.

        3. Just drafted on fanspeak as well
          ILB C.J. MOSLEY
          S CRAIG LOSTON
          DT WILL SUTTON
          WR JEFF JANIS

          1. Mosley is in a free fall on most draft boards. Damaged goods. I think you will see Shazier go before Mosley and Shazier should last till at least pick 21.

        4. In my admittedly amateur opinion, I love this draft. I think McCullers is worth a shot. The potential to earn tens of millions just might motivate a guy to get in shape. And if he does he could be a heckuva nose tackle.

  3. We would need to get ahead of NE in 2 to grab him. If I have to pick between him and Buchannon in 2, Ill take Deone Buchannon over Chris Banjo as opposed to Niklas over Quarless/Bostic.

  4. Niklas isn’t going to be a Finley type player. He doesn’t have Finley’s overall athleticism to make plays in space. Niklas is more like a Bavaro / Gronk (very lite) type player. He’ll become a very good blocker but in the open field he won’t create plays. He’ll catch a pass and try to run over everyone.

    1. I agree that he isn’t like Finley, but I think he has the potential to be the rare kind of TE that can do anything you ask of him. He excels at blocking which will help open up our run game, but he can also slip down field to get open. He may not be as good as Finley in the passing game, but I’m more than willing to sacrifice catching prowess for the versatility that he could provide. I’d be very happy if TT nabs him in the second round.

      1. I agree Niklas has the ability to be the do everything player at TE. I’m just disagreeing that his game is in anyway like Finley’s. Which is what the article stated.

    2. Also, what’s wrong with catching passes and running over everyone? I don’t want a TE that can juke and make people miss or one that has blistering speed. He’s 270# for god’s sake, running over people with the ball is exactly what he needs to do.

      1. Nothing wrong w/ trying to run over DB/LB. I was disagreeing w/ this statement in the article.

        “He could be brought to learn the NFL while refining his game and transform himself into a Jermichael Finley playe”

        Just saying that Niklas isn’t like Finley in the ability to use athleticism in space. Niklas isn’t elusive but might run over a few more.

        But you won’t see this from Niklas…

        More of a Mark Chmura TE than a Finley.

        1. We haven’t seen that from YOTTO since 2009. His time has come and gone. He’s just about the money now. GB needs a stud 2-way TE. Niklas could be that guy but is he worth a R2 pick??? Finley was a R3 pick.

          1. Yotto started in ’11 and ended in ’12. Finley’s time in GB is probably over, I don’t deny that, but its possible he comes back on a prove it deal similar to Raji’s.

            If Niklas is there in the 3rd I have no problem drafting him. I see WR as more of a need than TE tho. We have 2 young TE that deserve a chance to take the TE job and own it. We have Nelson, Cobb and Boykin at WR but no one behind them that I trust and the Packers start 3 WR and almost never have fewer than 3 WR on the field.

    3. “Niklas isn’t going to be a Finley type player.”


      Finley’s injury has done exactly what I predicted it would do… cloud everyones’ memory of what he actually was – a frustrating player who always had SOMETHING preventing from reaching his supposed potential.

      Finley at his best wasn’t even the best TE in the NFC North.

      1. Whatever… Just saying their games are not at all similar. Niklas is the guy that lines up on the the LOS next to an OT and Finley is the guy that lines up and makes plays and is a threat downfield.

        For the Packers offense both have their strengths. But Finley is the more athletic downfield threat, while Niklas is a better short receiver that can only run over guys and is a better blocker.

      2. BTW let me know when you’ve seen any NFCN TE’s do anything like this…

        Just stats don’t measure what Finley brought to the Packers offense. He opened the field up for other receivers in a way no other recent NFCN TE’s could.

        I’m sure you’ll chose to ignore it, even tho its well documented!

        1. Of what relevance is a five year old highlight reel? You are living in the past. That was two surgeries and a million dropped passes ago. Finley is the past. Niklas is the future. Niklas is a 2-way TE, just what this offense needs now that it has E Lacy. It will be up to Teddy to decide whether R2 is too rich.

          1. I’m not talking about bringing Finley back am I? No. Yes its a few years ago, but that wasn’t the point. Packers need WR more than TE and if we don’t take a WR in rd 1 or 2, I don’t have a problem w/ Niklas in the 3rd.

            Niklas would be a good pick at that point and maybe CJ Feb in the 4th. ILB, Safety and WR are the biggest needs and hopefully are addressed in the 1st 3 rounds.

  5. Creates some tough choices. Do we draft one of the two top C/G or Niklas. Even though I love The TE, C/G is more of a need.

    1. From the mock drafts I’ve studied this year, we could get a really good C in the 5th round. This is a deep draft for most positions and good Centers should be available in the later rounds more than in previous drafts.

    2. We drafted Tretter last year as an upgrade replacement for EDS…now we are going to draft someone to replace him BEFORE he even plays? Does not make sense.

      1. It does when you take into account that the top two centers can and did play guard. So if Tretter is the real deal we have a back up at C and G

        1. But don’t you want a top draft pick, to contribute early in his career? I expect Tretter to be a very good Center after a year and surely be the starter next year. So then you use one of your top 3 or 4 picks on a guy that is destined to be a backup.

          I would wait to draft an OG/C till the late 4th, as it seems Thompson likes to do, and use the higher picks on positions that are going to make more of an impact.

          I like Niklas and CJ Fed at TE, but I don’t think the Packers should use a high pick on a TE. ILB, Safety and WR would be my top picks. We need depth at WR more than we do at TE where Quarless and Bostic should be given a chance to be the starting TE for the next 3-5 yrs. Behind Nelson, Cobb and Boykin we don’t have any WR that you can feel confident in. And the Packers start 3 WR. WR is much more a need than TE.

          1. Fully agree with getting a WR especially one that is a returner.As far as C, we have an opportunity to have a dominant run game so we need a good center. A later 3rd or 4th round pick at C who maybe turns into a backup at C and G is fine with me.

  6. I read another story about him that disclosed his nicknames are “Hercules and Thor” It said he is a beast in the weight room, and a very good blocker to go along with his receiving abilities. All of these things make me say: Yup, I like him for us.

  7. Rodgers turns good WR’s into great ones and will do the same with a TE drafted after round 2…….offense needs out patient tune up, defense needs major surgery.S and LB have to be first up IMO.

  8. Originally I was all over Niklas for GB in R3 but the buzz on him is so great I now think we would be lucky to get him in R2 at our current pick. He is not a replacement for Finley, that is Bostick. He is a replacement for Q. This guy is the real deal 2-way TE that MM has long longed for. He and AROD would be dynamite together as would he and Lacy. With he and Bostick in the game together, defenses wouldn’t know pass or run or left or right. My dream draft = Shazier/Niklas 1-2.

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