There haven’t been five tight ends taken in the first two rounds of the draft since 2006, but that may change. That was the year that featured two in the first round in Vernon Davis going sixth overall to the 49ers and Marcedes Lewis being picked 28 by the Jaguars. That could happen again this year.
Alabama’s O.J. Howard locked up a spot in the first round long before the combine. Coming off an impressive Senior Bowl, Howard had exceptional timing numbers with the fastest three-cone drill (6.85 seconds) and 20-yard shuttle (4.16 seconds) for a tight end. Oh, and he ran a 4.51 40-yard dash at 6’6 and 251 pounds.
There is a chance we get to five tight ends in the first two rounds like in 2006. Miami’s David Njoku may not have had an overly impressive showing, but the big-play receiver who averaged 16.2 yards per catch last season should find a spot in the first round. Teams looking for their version of Jordan Reed could go after a player like Bucky Hodges of Virginia Tech or Evan Engram of Ole Miss as well.
The answer is that Van Mil can’t locate as well as Young.
The question is how a 7’1 pitcher can’t be as successful as a young Randy Johnson, who was 6’10, threw just as hard as Van Mil, and would have had troubles hitting a bus with his fastball from 60 feet away when he was younger.
The answer is that Van Mil doesn’t have a breaking ball that’s remotely comparable to Johnson’s slider.
If it sounds simplistic, it is. But it’s always worth remembering, and Van Mil provides the perfect opportunity. When analysts wanted to know why Young was successful throwing 85 mph a decade ago, they found half of the answer, and the other half was implied. The perceived velocity made Young’s fastball play up, and he had the command to put baseballs where hitters weren’t expecting baseballs. It seems like the command might be the less important reason for his success, except it most certainly is not.