Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, heading into his senior year, projects as a safe pick in the middle rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft. However, unlike many players taken later on in the draft, Fiedorowicz complements his reliability with the chance to improve and develop into a starting-quality tight end at the NFL level.
His greatest asset is his tremendous size, which gives him the ability to be a solid all-around tight end. At the very least, Fiedorowicz should be able to contribute as a blocking specialist, and could parlay that skill into a long career as a niche player. Fiedorowicz is big and very athletic, though, and if he can continue to improve as a receiver, he could become a matchup nightmare in the mold of players like the New Orleans Saints‘ Jimmy Graham.
Fiedorowicz was much too inconsistent when the ball was thrown his way last year. He let defenders knock the ball out of his hands and dropped plenty of easy would-be catches. However, he had more success catching passes down the stretch, especially in the season finale versus Nebraska, when he led the team in receiving with six catches for 56 yards. If Fiedorowicz can build on this strong finish in 2013, maybe he can improve his draft stock.
- Fantastic size that few NFL tight ends can match
- Very physical run blocker
- Surprising amount of straight-line quickness
- Knows how to get open, provides a great mismatch against defenders
- Can become a good redzone threat if he is able to reel in the catch
- Seemed to become a more consistent receiver near the end of the season
- Gets a good amount of work out of the slot, though he looks a bit uncomfortable there
- Clearly not a natural pass catcher, has difficulty making catches and holding onto the ball
- Seems to drop the ball a lot in pressure situations; can’t come up big when it matters
- Slow off the line of scrimmage on many plays
- Looks hesitant when he is running sideline-to-sideline
Fiedorowicz should play a big part in an offense that could be determining head coach Kirk Ferentz‘s fate after a 4-8 finish last season. Unfortunately for Fiedorowicz, Iowa has assembled a pretty easy schedule aside from the few tough Big 10 matchups they have set, most notably Ohio State. It will be extremely important for him, especially against some of the lesser talent that he will be facing, to show that he has what it takes to catch consistently and make plays in the NFL.
2014 Draft Projection: Fourth round