31. Seattle Seahawks: Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon
The Seahawks used a 2013 fifth-round pick on TE Luke Willson. Lyerla’s way, way better. There is very little the Ducks’ star cannot do on offense, and coming from that Oregon system would put him ahead of the curve in Seattle’s attack.
Walter Report profile:
6-5, 246 lbs
Skill-Set Summary: For the next level, Lyerla looks like a serious mismatch weapon. He has the ability to line up in a variety of places, so offensive coaches can use his special skills to exploit weaknesses in pass coverage. Lyerla looks like a perfect fit for an aerial NFL offense that likes to utilize the tight end.
As a receiver, Lyerla is an asset. He has good hands and is a strong route-runner. Lyerla gets off the line quickly and is adept at finding soft spots in zone coverage. He is a real weapon in the middle of the field running slant routes and getting deep down the seam. Quarterbacks also have used Lyerla as a nice check-down option in the flat; he generally rewards them with yards after the catch.
Lyerla has great quickness to gain separation in his route-running with a second gear to burst into the open field after making a reception. He is extremely explosive as a receiver and his speed takes defenses by surprise. Lyerla is tough to bring down once the ball is in his hands. He sheds lots of tackles and carries defensive backs for extra yards before going down. Lyerla is a physical runner who can punish defenders.
Lyerla has the athletic ability for the next level to be used as an H-back and play some fullback. He could continue to run the ball in short-yardage situations. Lyerla has amazingly quick feet to cut and move as a ball-carrier. Offensive coordinators should have fun using him in a variety of ways and catching defenses by surprise. Lyerla could be a tight end who is similar to former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who was called a swiss army knife because of his dangerous versatility.
Lyerla needs to improve his blocking for the NFL. He doesn't pack much of a punch at the point of attack. Lyerla gets pushed into the backfield by defensive linemen and physical linebackers. He does much better blocking defensive backs in the second level. The junior's blocking will be scrutinized in 2013, and he needs to show the ability to contribute as a blocker in pass protection as well the ground game. Lyerla's blocking would be better suited to a zone-blocking system.
Overall, Lyerla is an athletic tight end who should be a dangerous weapon in a NFL offense. Any team that needs an athletic pass-receiving tight end should be interested in selecting him next May in the 2014 NFL Draft.