Ryan is big, powerful tight end with good speed and excellent hands to catch the ball. He is a terrific in-line blocker and is a very good when blocking in space. He runs with a smooth gait that makes it look like he is not running very fast but believe me, he covers a lot of ground quickly with long, powerful strides. You will not push this kid off his route and he will out-fight you for the ball in the air. He uses solid techniques when blocking for both the run and the pass. He is not explosive off the line when running routes, but because of his long stride, he gets into his routes more quickly than you think to get good separation. He shows leadership skills through his play on the field and works very well when blocking with his offensive linemen. Out of all the potential players in this draft coming from this school, Ryan is the only one that jumps out at me from film study. His talent is unmistakable. His balance, soft hands, blocking, size and the powerful strides he uses to beat his man when running routes and dominate is remarkable. So tell me, did NFL teams made a mistake in not inviting Ryan to the combine or the Senior Bowl? To me, this kid is a clone of Jason Witten -- a complete tight end. There are some pretty good complete tight ends in this draft, but none that I would consider in the first round except Ryan. I call him Ryan (Despicable) Griffin because of the shameful way the draft is treating Ryan. In my best Daffy Duck impression, it's despicable!
The answer to the question of why the NFL did not invite Ryan to the combine and Senior Bowl is easy. The complete tight end position is no longer valued as high as it once was. Oh, wait...maybe it's because he is a criminal. No, no...that can't be it. (Unfortunately, many of those players are held in high esteem.) I think I know the real reason. Ryan is not a quick-twitch athlete that is going to blow you away when he works out with his speed off the line. I bet Ryan runs in the 4.9 area and right now, most teams are not looking for tight ends that run 4.9 and can block because they are not explosive enough off the line and into their routes. All I can tell you is this: turn on the film and see how quickly Ryan gets into his routes. It's impressive and much better than a 4.9 forty time will suggest.
In the 2003 draft, Jason Witten was drafted in the 3rd round by the Dallas Cowboys. He played for Tennessee and we all know they are an SEC team. It's obvious to me that level of competition, not receiving invitations to the Senior Bowl, the combine or the East-West Shrine Game may be reasons teams would use to not select Ryan in the first three rounds of this draft unless, of course, he goes out and commits a crime. #sarcasm Seriously, though, you can't turn on any Connecticut game and not see #94 dominating on the line of scrimmage, catching the ball, moving in and out of the backfield and making a difference on the field. He's even lining up in the slot and making impact plays at that position. I dare you to show me any game in which Ryan has played that he hasn't done more than his job. I mean, even a blind man can see this kid's talent and yet, no one talks about him or invites him to anything. NFL teams invite other players from that very same team who have not dominated or played consistently throughout their careers, but don't invite Ryan. This is not a knock on those players -- it's a knock on who ever looked at film of Connecticut and did not see this kid's talent staring them in the face. What now, you're going to suggest that the NFL didn't look at any offensive plays of Connecticut? If not, that's pretty sad because if they did, they would have seen that this kid has all the pass catching skills, athletic talent, size and strength to play in the NFL at a very high level. Keep track of this kid and let's see what happens at his workout -- that is, of course, if he is invited to his own college team's workout! Look at Rob's board for what round Ryan most likely will be drafted. I bet, unless he runs in the 4.6 area in his forty, he won't be selected in the first three rounds in spite of his athletic talent. Players like Ryan are just one of the reasons why THR invented the two board system to show you that there is potential talent and impact players in every round of the draft.
Drew “ The B.S. Detector” Boylhart