Dan Vitale   RB/FB/HBack   Northwestern

Dan reminds me a lot of former Colt Dallas Clark. He has excellent quickness and very good speed, but what he brings to the table is that sneaky ability to get open and catch the ball with the same ease and natural ability your child has to catch a cold in his first year of day care. He has a big catch radius with soft hands and quick feet that allows him to separate from defensive backs and linebackers. Dan can be a big impact player in the red zone and moving the chains on third downs catching or running the ball. With his natural hand-eye coordination to catch the ball, quick feet, overall athletic talent and football intelligence, Dan can be used at multiple positions in a teamís offense if he can learn to improve one very important skill.

The important skill that Dan has to improve is his blocking. His techniques are very poor and it seems like a lot of times he is not sure who he is supposed to block because I think he is trying to do too much. Dan is off balance most of the time when he blocks and when he engages, refuses to keep his feet moving. He struggles with his lateral agility because he just wonít move his damn feet when heís engaged. He lunges and bends at the waist and, in general, his blocking is a mess which is surprising because there is nothing wrong with his athleticism, his effort or willingness to block. It seems to be just his techniques, so this shouldnít be a problem to overcome.

As I said, Dan reminds me a lot of Dallas Clark who was used mostly as an H-back/slot receiver and moved to the outside at times in the red zone. Dan can be as impacting as Dallas was if he is in the right offensive system that utilizes a player with his talent to catch the ball. As far as Iím concerned, there should be no offensive system in which he should not be considered as a potential impact receiver. However, in the NFL, throwing the ball for ten yards when you need five to make a first down has become a struggle for some coaches to accept when play calling. Dan fits the New England Patriots offense because they believe in moving the chains as a priority. They will use throwing the ball in short yardage situations to make first downs as well as the running the ball. The Packers have the same mindset when moving the ball down the field with passing or running on short yardage situations. Most offenses on short downs in the passing game will use a check down system on third and short, but the problem with that is the pass is being completed behind the line of scrimmage and most of the time the check down receiver winds up being tackled before they can gain the needed yardage. The key attributes for a receiver who gains the needed yardage on third and short is hand/eye coordination to catch the ball, lateral explosion and quickness to separate and an accurate quarterback. Dan has what he needs athletically to become an impact receiver with a team that believes in moving the chains. He just has to be selected by the right team that believes in his type of player.

Drew Boylhart  APR.2016