A new feature we're excited to start today here at MTC.
With the draft just 19 days away, we're going to run draft profiles of several first-round prospects.
I've contacted beat writers, who covered the players in college for a set of questions and answers. Then we'll run through some mock draft projections, and hopefully a YouTube highlight video.
We start with Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew.
Measurables: 6 foot 5, 263 pounds; 4.83 forty at the combine (14th among tight ends)
Unlike other top-rated tight ends we've seen in recent years, Pettigrew's athleticism and ability as a receiver are not what make him stand out. Instead, draft gurus point to his size and ability as a blocker.
He was a four-year starter with the Cowboys, but ran into some off-the-field trouble last year. Per Dave Hutchinson of The Newark Star-Ledger:
In June he pleaded guilty to a reduced charge in connection with an attack on a Stillwater, Okla., police officer five months earlier. He had been charged with felony assault and battery on a police officer, but in a plea bargain pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of assault and battery. Pettigrew also pleaded guilty to public intoxication in the incident, a misdemeanor. Along with getting fined, he was put on one year's probation.
Q: Describe Pettigrew’s strengths and weaknesses as a receiver.
A: Since the NFL Scouting Combine, there has been a lot of concern about Pettigrew's speed, running in the mid-4.8s in the 40. But just because he isn't a sprinter doesn't mean he won't be extremely valuable in the passing game. He has good hands and he's a load to take down when he has the ball. He's a move-the-chains type of receiver, and a good red-zone target, even though he didn't catch a TD pass his senior season.
Editor's note: Extra points to Scott for using "move-the-chains" in his response.
Q: What was Pettigrew like as a blocker in college?
A: Pettigrew was a big-time blocker at Oklahoma State. He's a big part of the reason OSU led the Big 12 in rushing the last three years. If he wanted to put on 40 pounds, he'd be a first-round draft choice at left tackle. It's the combination of blocking and receiving skills that make him special. He's the type of tight end that can be on the field on every down, regardless of the situation.
Q: What is his personality like? Is Pettigrew good with the media? Did he have a good relationship with teammates and coaches?
A: I wouldn't say Pettigrew is good with the media, but he isn't bad. He's very friendly, but a little on the quiet side. On the team, people love him. He's a guy other players looked to for motivation and leadership. I haven't heard any stories about other players or coaches ever having run-ins with him. And according to all my sources and my own experiences with him, the arrest in early 2008 was an isolated incident, not a character trait. He hasn't had any other off-field issues, legal or otherwise.
Q: What was Pettigrew’s signature moment at Oklahoma State?
A: You have to go back to 2007, when Pettigrew caught a four-yard pass and broke free for a 54-yard touchdown with less than two minutes left against Texas Tech. He ran through a couple tackles, stiff-armed a DB at the 10-yard line and dove into the end zone, earning the nickname "Superman" for the rest of the season. He also had a similar scoring play later in the year. The TD against Tech turned out to be the game-winner in a classic 49-45 shootout that was immediately forgotten.
Here's the YouTube link of the touchdown.
And here's why it was forgotten.
Editor's note: The second clip is one of my all-time favorites. I don't want to give it away, but I quote it at least once a week in conversation. Definitely worth a click.
Q: Do you have a story/anecdote about Pettigrew that stands out from having covered him? Is there something about him our readers might not know?
A: Too many tight ends in the college game want to be receivers and view blocking as a job requirement. Pettigrew enjoys blocking almost as much as catching passes. I was once told a story from a game a couple years ago when the offense came to the sideline during a drive and Pettigrew was begging the offensive coordinator to call a specific running play, a counter draw that required him to seal off the edge. In essence, he told the coach, "Run this play. I'm killing my guy." Not many tight ends beg their coordinators to run the ball behind them, but Pettigrew puts winning ahead of all else.
Links, projections, mocks, etc.
NFL.com's Mike Mayock names Pettigrew his top tight end, saying "Old-school TE like Jason Witten, not a blazer."
SI.com's Don Banks has the Falcons taking Pettigrew with the 24th pick:
With both Cushing and Matthews gone, the Falcons aren't going to get the outside linebacker help they covet. That makes Pettigrew again a prime target. Atlanta's ground-heavy offense could use a blocking-first tight end who's physical enough to seal off defensive ends in the running game.
The National Football Post has the Eagles taking Pettigrew with the 28th pick:
The Eagles need to find a tight end who can handle defensive ends on the edge. Pettigrew is a receiving/blocking option who would instantly upgrade the position in Philadelphia.
Steve Wyche of NFL.com has Pettigrew dropping out of the first round.
Scott Wright of draftcountdown.com has the Eagles taking Pettigrew with the 21st pick:
Brandon Pettigrew is the consensus top tight end in this draft and while he isn’t a dynamic receiving threat like Kellen Winslow or Vernon Davis he is a very good all-around player who excels as both a pass catcher and blocker. There are some who feel Pettigrew could go earlier than this but his lack of speed may keep him out of the Top 20.
Scouts, Inc. ranks Pettigrew its top tight end and 18th-best player overall.
Chris Steuber of Scout.com has the Eagles taking Pettigrew with the 28th pick:
The Eagles have to add a TE who can block and catch, and even though Pettigrew isn't the fastest option, you can't deny his talent on the field.
The National Football Post has Pettigrew as its second-best tight end behind Shawn Nelson of Southern Miss.