LUKE STOCKER, TE, TENNESSEE
Triangle Numbers: 6-6, 253, 4.8
• Excellent height and good bulk with a large frame
• Soft hands and snatches the ball away from body
• A good route runner who knows how to get open
• Understands how to use size to his advantage
• Terrific concentration and can absorb a big hit
• Tough and isn’t afraid to work across the middle
• A strong runner who is a real load to bring down
• Willing blocker and does adequate job in that area
• Smart with nice instincts and overall awareness
• A leader and competitor with a great work ethic
• Is still improving and got better every season
• Is durable with a ton of high-quality experience
• Does not have the type of arm length you’d prefer
• Is not really an explosive athlete and lacks a burst
• Just average speed and doesn’t get much separation
• Won’t get down the seam or stretch field vertically
• Unimpressive leaping ability, body control, ball skills
• Isn’t shifty or elusive and won’t make tacklers miss
Positives: Good size… Heady… Good short area quickness… Good body control and balance… Runs reasonably good routes… Good receiver… High points the pass… Smart and savvy… Good awareness… Security blanket… Red zone target… Finds holes in zone coverage… Adjusts to the ball well… Soft hands… Not afraid to go over the middle of the field… Good run after catch ability… Physical… Runs hard… Tough to bring down… Will break some tackles… Solid in-line blocker… Can pull and seal inside on the edge… Reacts quickly to stunts and blitzes… Very solid down field blocker… Does a solid job getting in the way of defenders at the second level and in space and sealing them from the ball… Leader… Played through multiple injuries in college… Blue collar… Does the dirty work… Could also be considered as an H-Back… From the same school and quite similar to Jason Witten.
Negatives: Not real fast… Struggles to create separation… Doesn’t hit top speed quickly… Rounds off his routes… Lacks elusiveness in open field… Doesn’t get thrown to enough… Not especially strong at POA… Marginal hand placement, hands tend to get too high… Allows his base to get too narrow… Will occasionally reach or lean on the edge versus good speed… Doesn’t fire out, allows defenders to make first contact.
Pros: At 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds, Stocker has the size needed to absorb hits over the middle at the NFL level, and he showed that he possessed the toughness to handle it during Senior Bowl week, when Alabama’s Greg McElroy threw him into an evil two-defender hit in practice, and Stocker held on to the ball. He was absolutely fearless in traffic during his Vols career as well.
Stocker has good second-level burst for his size, which allows him to angle past defensive backs in the open field, though he’s more conversant with just running people over. Sits well in zones and turns upfield with a good blast. Consistent route-runner with the slants, crosses, and seam routes tight ends see most of the time. Played for three different coaches in his last three seasons, going through different offenses with toughness and consistency. A willing and physical blocker. Fits all the traditional tight-end models.
Cons: However, if you’re looking for one of the new breed of hybrid tight ends who plays more like big wide receivers, Stocker is not your guy. He’s not a burner off the snap — it takes him a bit of time to get up to speed, though he’s surprisingly nimble in short spaces. And at times, his size leads him to look stocky and blocky in quick turnaround and comeback routes — he’s better as a strider after the catch.
Doesn’t get separation against faster corners who can press him in space; his option in those situations is to jump his way out of coverage. Best used in a balanced or West Coast system where the tight end is not required to get immediately vertical.
Conclusion: The rise of spread offenses in the NCAA has given birth to a new generation of tight ends who may have been possession receivers in previous eras. They can run, but they can’t block, and they’re more about getting downfield or taking stick screens upfield than chipping off the line and running the perfect slant or cross. Stocker is not that kind of flashy player, but he is absolutely the type of tight end you want if you’re looking for the do-it-all traditionalist.
Tough, consistent and multi-faceted, Stocker is just as much about the little things done right as the obvious flash points. Finished his collegiate career with 80 catches in 51 games for 898 yards and seven touchdowns.
[pro-player width=’530′ height=’253′ type=’video’]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpsJknfi0Vw[/pro-player]
Looking for a replacement for Bear Pascoe, who should be moving to fullback full time? Look no further than Luke Stocker. He’s big, he’s a good blocker, and can make plays. I’ve seen Jason Witten comparisons. I don’t think he’s that good. But, as a solid number two tight end, you can do a lot worse. He’s a 3rd to 4th rounder. Can probably get him in the 4th. The selection of a guy like Stocker will allow Travis Beckum to be more of a H-Back. Beckum can’t block. Stocker can (although, he’s a good blocker, not great). I think Stocker has the intangibles to be a great special teams player, good guy in the locker room, and a good player. He gets our vote.