Throughout the offseason, we’ll be profiling players who may end up in Denver when all is said and done with the 2017 NFL Draft. The Broncos clearly have plenty of holes to fill before they get back to Super-Bowl form and we’ll be examining a long list of players they may choose to help the franchise do just that.
At first glance, Jordan Leggett is reminiscent to former Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas. Leggett and Thomas have nearly identical body frames—Leggett checking in at 6-foot-5, 258 pounds and Thomas standing at 6-foot-5, 256 pounds—however, that just cracks the surface on the similarities between the two.
Leggett, a four-year star from Clemson, found all of his success on the football field through the passing game, much like Thomas in Denver, even though he is technically a tight end. Although he is a dominant receiving tight end, his inability to block lowers his stock to a third or fourth-round grade in a very strong tight end draft class. However, if he ends up with the right team, he could have a much higher value.
As a former wide receiver in high school, Leggett’s strengths start and stop with his receiving abilities. Leggett’s ability as a receiving tight end rivals that of any other tight end in his class, including sure-fire first round pick O.J. Howard. As a receiver, Leggett has a knack for working the middle of the field and can stretch the defense with his seam route. Additional characteristics that highlight Leggett’s receiving ability include his crisp route running, ability to line up anywhere on the field, and his knack for tough catches with receiver-like hands.
Additionally, what set Leggett apart on the national stage the past two years was his big game performances. In the past two national title games, Leggett played potentially the best football of his career, combining for 12 receptions for 173 yards and one touchdown again two top-notch Alabama defenses.
While Leggett has the receiving abilities similar to Thomas, his attitude and commitment have also been questioned. Coaches and scouts have been very wary of players who they don’t think have the heart for the game as this is not something that can be taught.
However, his passion for the game may fall second to his inability to block. Whether it’s that he doesn’t want to block, or he can’t block, Leggett proved in college that he couldn’t be counted on in the running game. Although he has the physical skills to matchup well in the running game, even in the NFL, teams can’t initially count on him as an every down player because of this.
Also, even with his exceptional size for the position, Leggett isn’t a freak athlete even though he sometimes makes highlight reel plays. Due to this, he relies on his fundamentals, which could mean he is close to his ceiling as a receiver.
How he fits in Denver
Although for many teams Leggett many be a multi-year project, he could have an immediate impact with the Broncos. Last season, Denver was the only team in the league without three 300-yard receivers on the year. Although one-dimensional, Leggett’s superb ability in the passing game would be enough to get him on the field regularly.
However, if he is unable to develop his pass blocking, he would end up much like Thomas in the way that he isn’t on the field as often. If Denver wants to add another offensive weapon for whoever their quarterback will be, Leggett could be a great value in the middle of the draft. But, if they are looking for an every-down tight end, they will likely pass on the former Clemson star.