Nick O’Leary   TE/HB   Florida St


Nick can catch a ball in a hurricane with a house falling on him. Add to that his football intelligence and his “will” to make impact plays when his team needs it the most and you have a player who shows just enough talent to become a core player, fan favorite and a teammate a quarterback will have a man crush on. His effort when blocking is solid and, although he might not be perfect, he seems to always get just enough of a block to be effective. Nick athletically lacks what you look for in a workout, but he doesn’t lack what you look for on the field. He shows leadership skills through his play on the field and is the type of player who will have a calming effect on a young quarterback because of his consistency to catch the ball in any contested situation. With the right quarterback and in the right system, Nick could become a big time touchdown maker. In the red zone and when a team gets over the 50 yard line is when Nick can do most of his damage to his opponent.

Nick’s athleticism is lacking for the “average” tight end or H-back. In fact, it’s lacking for a below average tight end or H-back. When you watch him play on film, you see him stumble sometimes and only get a piece of a block, but somehow during the game Nick makes at least three to four plays that make a big difference in a game, even plays that turn the game around for his team. He must improve his blocking and learn how to control going forward or “breakdown” better to make a block in open space. But don’t be fooled: Nick just seems to have a knack for making plays that other, more talented players lack. Nick has a knack.

Nick plays the game with his heart and head and although he may lack the athletic talent others have, when a player has the knack to play with effort, heart, and intelligence, that player always interests me. I think when Nick gets into an NFL team’s strength and conditioning program, he will improve athletically. However, let’s not fool ourselves, he is never going to run a 4.6 forty or have the agility that others may have to play his position. Nick is very much like the Bills DT Kevin Williams of this draft. Let me explain. Kevin Williams is not the most athletic or talented defensive tackle in the league and he certainly wasn’t the most athletically talented player when he was drafted. However, he has that certain knack to make impact plays when others on his team can not because of his ability to play with great effort and with his head and his heart. That’s the type of player Nick is. Playing the game with effort on every play is wonderful, but if you can direct that effort and play smart, THAT is the difference between a player who is just a back up player or special teams player. There are a lot of players who play with great effort, but what they lack is that one thing that will make them an important part of a team. Nick knows he can catch a ball in the middle of a hurricane with a house falling on top of him. He understands -- that’s his talent that he brings to the table and if he can’t hang on to the ball, he is of no use to a team. He’s just a guy who gives you great effort on every play and that guy is a dime a dozen. When a team is over the 50 yard line, that is when Nick is at his best because the field opens up in front of him just enough for him to have enough room to catch the ball and make yardage in chunks. He is excellent against zone coverage’s and sitting down in them and showing his QB his numbers for easy completions. He might not be an up the slot type of receiver, but against two deep zone coverage in the middle of the field, just underneath the safeties, is his territory. Nick will make a good living against that style of defense and if he is with the right offensive system, he will become a core player and a fan favorite because Nick just has that knack to play the game at a higher level than his athleticism suggest.

Drew Boylhart