With their sixth-round pick (213th overall) in the 2015 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers select Kennard Backman, tight end, UAB.
CAREER NOTES (from UABSports.com):
Has made 25 starts at tight end in his first three UAB seasons … athletic tight end who will be again be counted on heavily in 2013 … has emerged as one of top tight ends in Conference USA and garnering national attention as well … enters senior season with 57 career receptions for 580 yards … named to 2014 Watch List for John Mackey Award.
4.66 40 yard dash, 17 reps on bench press, 1.65 10yd split, 35.5-inch vertical, 9 foot, 9-inch broad jump, 7.23 3-cone, 4.49 20yd shuttle.
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com describes Backman as a good receiver down the seam and in traffic. He’s not the largest player, but he works hard and was a solid contributor for the UAB squad over his four-year career. Zierlein also suggests Backman needs to work on his route running and blocking techniques, and therefore projects more as an H-back.
While working with our friends at Cheeseheadtv.com on their draft guide, I also scouted tight ends. Honestly, Backman wasn’t on my radar, or many other draft analysts radars, either. I thought there were better tight ends on the board when the Packers selected Backman, but we all know that Ted Thompson has a keen eye for talent and finds diamonds in the rough that others miss.
Backman is an interesting pick who appears to be undersized and lacks the straight ahead blocking ability to play inline tight end. He does seem to have a knack at getting open in traffic and has confidence grabbing the ball in traffic. With his 40-yard dash time of 4.66 seconds, he brings more speed to the position than Richard Rodgers and Andrew Quarless. Since he’s not known for his blocking ability, I suspect the Packers plan to use him as a faster receiving tight end, possibly in the mold of an H-back. He’s most likely a Brandon Bostic replacement on the roster, so he’ll probably get the same number of snaps per game and will be relegated to special teams duties.
On a slightly sad note, Backman will likely be the last player to ever be drafted from UAB since the Board of Regents decided to cancel their football program after the 2014 season.——————