Position Preview - Tight Ends

Position Preview - Tight Ends

The Bears have zero career catches at the tight end position as they replace two senior co-starters. How does this position look for 2014 and beyond?

Jordan Najvar and Jerod Monk have taken their combined career 55 catches and 10 total touchdowns to the next phases of their lives. They combind for 73 games appeared in for the Bears. That is a lot of experience to lose at one position. In their place is a former offensive tackle that shifted to tight end when Najvar was injured for a few games last year, a junior college transfer from 2013 that played very little last year, and two true freshman.


CURRENT STARTERS – 7

Tight End Depth Chart

Starter

2nd String

3rd String



Tre'Von Armstead
Sophomore
6-5, 280



Gus Penning
Junior
6-5, 240



Jordan Feuerbacher
Junior
6-3, 250

Appeared in all 13 games as OL and Special Teams 2nd year JUCO transfer, redshirted in 2013 True Freshman, Early Enrollment

Tre'von Armstead is a large, and angry looking football player. Serriously, look at that profile image of him. The snarl, the glare and the all-around attitude. That is your starting tight end right now. He has lost some weight since transitioning outside from tackle, and looked quite good during the Spring game. He caught the ball well in warmups and had a great catch and run in the early scripted session of the scrimmage. Armstead will be a tremendous blocker for the position, something he did well in spot-duty last season. That is the primary role for a tight end in the Bears offense. Can they seal the edge on running plays, and catch a little bit underneath.

Every year, some fans and experts (including myself in either category) expect the Bears to pass more to their tight ends, the last two years especially. The thinking went that the coaching staff is working with a new quarterback and would give him easier throws and work him into the offense. Wrong. As Coach Briles says, they are trying to score a touchdown on every play. Doesn't matter if Nick Florence with his at best average arm-strength is out there, or Bryce Petty with little to no experience. So, what should we expect from Armstead? A lot of blocking with maybe 10 or so receptions.

POSITIONAL DEPTH - 8

Tight End Eligibility
Name
Scout Ranking
SR
JR
SO
rFR
FR
Commit
Gus Penning

Tre'Von Armstead

Jordan Feuerbacher

Blake Mahon

It is unproven depth, but the Bears do have some intriguing options for the tight end spot. Gus Penning is currently listed as a co-starter with Armstead. The junior is much more of a pass-catcher than Armstead, and at 40 pounds lighter, will not have the same blocking strength. Penning was 3rd string last year and did not register a catch or any statistics.

The Bears will also have two freshman on the roster, with Jordan Feuerbacher graduating early and being with the Bears through spring drills. Joining him in the fall will be Blake Mahon, a fellow 3-star tight end. Both are right around 6-3, 250 pounds. The Bears will have some big bodies to put in as that extra blocker.

CLASS BALANCE – 8

With a junior, sophomore and two freshman, the Bears are pretty balanced. More than likely, Feuerbacher or Mahon will redshirt, givin them some seperation in their eligibility. With all four players having at least 2 years left in Waco, the Bears are doubtful to take a tight end in the 2014 class.

NEXT YEAR – 8

With all four tight ends returning next year, barring any transfers or injuries, the Bears should be very solid at this position next year. Armstead has a chance to be a 3-year starter for the Bears, and develop into a dominating blocking tight end. He has exceptional size for the position, and if he can even be an average receiver, he has a chance to be a professional. Penning and the two freshman are rather large question marks, as we have simply not seen anything from those three.

FUTURE YEARS – 3

The Bears should have two of their tight ends on the roster for four or five years, but the big question is, how do those two 3-star recruits project? Also, how much do the Bears need from either of them, considering Briles refusal to integrate the position into the passing game more than as a redzone "trick". This is a tough one for me to project, so I am playing it safe.

IMPORTANCE –2

Are you big and can you block? Good! Then you are a capable tight end in this offense. Jordan Najvar is a fringe NFL tight end, and he could only muster 10 catches each of the last two years. He is an All-Big 12 player, with good blocking and good receiving skills. This is just not a critical position for Baylor.

TOTAL – 36

The Bears have a tight end unit that should be together a while, just like the last duo in Jordan Najvar and Jerdon Monk. We are going to see a lot of career games for Armstead, Feuerbacher and Mahon, though probably not a lot of statistical production. The tight ends don't have the glammor and the upside of some other positions, but they are setup very well for the future of this team.

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