He is athletic for his size and presents a speed mismatch on linebackers and a size mismatch on safeties, which will ultimately define his value in this year's draft. If Egnew runs well at February's combine, look for him to ascend as a high-value mismatch-creator.
Though Egnew played in all 13 games as both a true freshman, depth on a prolific offense prevented him from making a huge impact (four catches, 22 yards). His contributions were limited in his sophomore year (3-25), as well. Coaches finally got him on the field in 2010, and he repaid them with 90 receptions for 782 yards and five touchdowns in an All-American and first-team All-Big 12 junior campaign. He was also a finalist for the John Mackey Award as the nation's top tight end, as well as Missouri's Most Valuable Player.
Egnew has shown nice athleticism for his size since being a football, basketball and track standout as a high schooler in Texas. That athleticism, as well as his height and strong hands, make him a valuable weapon down the seam as well as a red-zone target worth an early-round selection.
Release: Usually in a two-point stance in the slot, but shows fair initial quickness out of three-point stance as well. Rarely pressured off the line, must learn to use his hands to get off press coverage by linebackers. Does not have elite speed or quickness to separate from better linebackers.
Hands: Solid receiver capable of tracking passes from many angles. Good sideline awareness, taps quick feet to stay in-bounds. Height helps him snare high throws but he also adjusts to low ones. Allows some passes to get into his body when crossing over the middle. Has average strength, makes some grabs with a defender draped on him but they can separate him from the ball with big hits.
Route Running: Looks and runs like a tall receiver. Used on vertical routes down the seam, crossing routes over the middle, and speed outs as inside man on five-receiver sets. Shields defenders with his size, uses height advantage to make plays over them as well. Sits down between linebackers in zone, knows where first down marker is. Flashes quick feet to change directions on option routes. Runs high, does not sink his hips when making a cut. Long, lean frame makes it difficult to lose defenders with a shake in man coverage.
After the Catch: Best as vertical route-runner and red-zone threat to use his long strides against shorter defenders, but can be a tough runner with the ball in his hands. Spins off tackle attempts or lowers pads to take on defenders in the open field, able to drag them for a few yards. Used on quick screens in the flat, has some quickness to evade first defender but is not a breakaway threat.
Blocking: Not a coveted prospect because of his blocking, but is not contact-shy on the edge. Usually finds a target whether it is his assignment or if blocking downfield for a teammate, though quicker defenders will ran by him. Positions himself correctly to wall off defenders, uses length and footwork to hold them at bay. Not used in-line from three-point stance. Will seal the edge and get in the way as a blocker at the next level but needs work on bend, lateral agility and upper-body strength to do more.
Intangibles: Gives excellent on-field effort, playing much stronger than his wiry frame belies. Gains praises from coaches and teammates for his work ethic. No known character issues."
He possesses impressive coordination and body control for his size, gets into his route well for his size, has a nice feel for zone coverage in the pass game and works himself well into soft spots underneath.
Is a massive target to throw at, extends his arms well when covered up and can pluck routinely off his frame. He possesses average speed down the field and has the ability to run away from backers across the field, but there isn't a real explosive element to his game.
Gets a bit leggy at times out of his breaks, he keeps his feet under him on inward breaking routes, displays average fluidity in the hips and can be sharp out of his breaks.
He crosses the face of defenders quickly, snaps his head around and locates the throw quickly while maintaining the body control to snatch off his frame or drop his pad level and adjust. Loves to work the jerk route underneath as well, changing speeds in order to set up defenders and then quickly redirecting and separating in the other direction.
Exhibits solid ball skills and body control when asked to go up and make a play on the football at its highest point. Can be a major asset in the red zone. However, doesn't create much of a burst off the line and/or out of his breaks.
More smooth than sudden/explosive and is going to be limited as a route runner underneath because of his struggles to separate.
Isn't asked to block from a three-point stance or with his hand on the ground, and is used mostly in the bubble screen game where he can really handle defensive backs. Can drop his pad level and create a jolt into contact but is going to need time to learn to play with his hand on the ground and use that big frame to gain leverage.
Impression: Has a long frame and the skill set to learn to play with his hand on the ground, but is going to need time. Isn't the type of dynamic athlete either to simply out run NFL defenders and looks limited in the type of routes he's going to be able to separate in. More of a vertical threat guy who needs to adjust to the ball in order to make plays."
Speed: Egnew has above-average speed for a tight end. He can stretch the field vertically along with being dangerous after the catch. He has a shiftiness and burst to his game that make him dangerous with the ball in his hands.
Release/Route Running: Tough to tell on either category as he was most often lined up on the outside. He beat jams against DB’s but will have to play in-line in the NFL and beat OLB’s and FS’s. He could struggle a bit initially in-line to get a free release due to his lack of experience. Egnew will be hampered in terms of route running because of the system he played in. Missouri runs out of the spread so he’s not familiar with an NFL route tree. He’s not as explosive as I would have expected. He looks slow off the line and has to slow down to get into and out of breaks. Egnew will need a strong showing in pre-draft workouts in this area.
Blocking: Again, he was flexed out more often than not and rarely was asked to block in-line at Missouri. Due to a lack of experience, Egnew is going to be behind the curve in terms of blocking in the NFL. He’s a lunger and generally doesn’t have a solid base when asked to block. Major concern will be can he block in the NFL?
Bottom Line: Teams looking for 6’5 251 pound WR at the TE position could come calling earlier than they should on Egnew. Missouri TE’s have not translated into good NFL TE’s since Gary Pinkel took over the program. He will need to improve as a blocker and route runner in the NFL to be selected early. His production took a major hit in 2011 without Blaine Gabbert at the helm.
Draft Projection: 4."
Is deceptively quick to create separation with his body.
Has exceptional hands and ball skills and adjusts very well to the thrown ball.
Extends in traffic and shows great concentration plucking the ball out of the air.
Will sacrifice his body for the ball.
Runs hard after the catch and eats ground quickly with long strides.
Seldom lines up inside and will bring little as an in-line blocker.
Has played in a simplified, spread offense and is not required to make many coverage reads but can readily make an impact in the receiving game."
He has the ability to hurt a defense in the passing game. He is use to being covered by defensive backs and does a nice job creating separation. His good height gives the quarterback a nice target and he always attacks the football at its highest point. Egnew has a good feel of the defense and is able to sit in the open zones.
While Egnew has potential, he might not be overly effective in the NFL. Many teams will see him as an extra wide receiver and he lacks the elite speed to stretch the defense. He is not a 2 stepper and more of a long strider lacking elite speed. Ultimately, his career will depend on his ability to develop into an adequate blocker otherwise his mismatch potential will be limited.
Bold Statement: Egnew will be selected in the 2nd round of the 2012 NFL Draft
Games Viewed: Illinois ('10), Nebraska ('10), Kansas State ('10), Iowa ('10)
- Egnew has good height and quickness
- He is given opportunities to create in space
- Egnew has the ability find the open zone in the defense
- His hands are reliable as he routinely plucks the ball at its highest point
- He does a good job breaking off his routes and remaining balanced
- Egnew is not going to contribute in the running game
- He is a not a 2 stepper and more of a long strider
- The majority of his routes are underneath and screens
- He really has a thin build for the position and looks more like a wide receiver
- Rarely is faced with bump-n-run coverage and will likely struggle to get off the line"
Rangy target can find the soft spots underneath; also has excellent hands and will catch the ball in traffic; good athlete who was an outstanding long and triple jumper in high school, but lacks the speed and explosion to stretch the field; also not all that elusive after the catch; in fact, averaged just 8.5 yards per catch last season and only scored 5 times;
Also lacks the bulk to be a top-shelf in-line blocker; missed much of spring practice in 2009 after suffering a high ankle sprain late in spring camp that required surgery."