NFL Draft

2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Tennessee TE Jason Croom

From now until the 2017 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.

Jason Croom/Tennessee TE – 6’5” 246 lbs.

The Good:

– Does well with a free release when sent into motion
– Took some snaps as an outside receiver (his more natural position)
– More of a second tight end that gets used as an H-Back
– Could be used more as a big red-zone threat
– Nice stiff-arm that he uses to keep defenders off him
– Good burst in space

The Bad:

–Only started 13 out of a possible 38 games
–Converted to tight end in spring of 2016 after many years at receiver
–Looks and plays like a physical receiver instead of a powerful tight end
–Does not run block well as an inline player
–Play calls sending him in motion from an H-Back position are the most effective ways to get him into a position to succeed

Bio:

–Redshirted in 2012 after 3 games due to shoulder injury
–Reshirted in 2015, due to a knee injury suffered in the 2015 TaxSlayer Bowl
–Ran track and played basketball in high school, won state championship with basketball team
–Was a 3 star ESPN recruit and a 4 star Rivals and Scout wide receiver
–Finished his college career with 60 catches for 816 yards, 6 touchdowns and only averaged 1.5 catches a game
–Competed in Offense-Defense All-American Bowl out of high school
–Bulked up over 20 pounds to make the switch to tight end

Tape Breakdown:

He lines up as an inline tight end across from a defensive end. At first glance, Croom has a flat back which causes him issues as the ball gets snapped. The poor stance allows the defender to beat him off the line into the neutral zone, where #18 grabs the DE off balanced and with the opposite arm. That does not impede the defender, so Croom spins around and tries to block another defender high.

Goes into motion just before the snap of the ball. Joshua Dobbs fakes the give to Kamara while the tight end continues his motion. This opens up the right side flat where Croom catches the pigskin in stride and turns upfield. He reads a receiver’s block cuts inside and uses a stiff-arm to get a little more yardage before getting gang tackled.

Another fake handoff between Dodds and Kamara allows the h-back to dip into the flat without a defender on him. Crooks snares the ball in stride, bounces off one tackle, then spins while running downfield for a 30 yard gain.

After being repositioned to the right of the QB, Croom gets a clean release off the line from the H-back position. He finds a soft spot in the zone around the middle of the field. The Volunteer uses the referee to help him screen a defender away along with his stiff-arm. Croom then transfers the same stiff-arm to the awaiting safety Justin Evans riding him another five yards until forced out of bounds.

The former Volunteer did not make much of an impact during his college career averaging about a catch and a half each game. He still looks very much like a bigger possession type receiver, instead of a tight end/H-back. Croom could get play schemed into some success, but I highly doubt he could be a starter in the NFL. The Steelers brought him in for a visit, so I can only assume that it would be as a red zone target, H-Back, or a special teamer role.

Projection: Late rounder or free agent

Games Watched: @Vanderbilt, Nebraska, @Texas A&M

Previous 2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles
Deshaun Watson Haason Reddick Marshon Lattimore Corey Clement Tim Williams
Jourdan Lewis Takkarist McKinley Brad Kaaya Nathan Peterman O.J. Howard
Charles Harris Alvin Kamara Tyus Bowser David Njoku DeMarcus Walker
Chidobe Awuzie DeShone Kizer Marlon Mack Cameron Sutton Zach Cunningham
Corey Davis Carl Lawson Patrick Mahomes Kareem Hunt Evan Engram
Derek Rivers Ryan Anderson Joshua Dobbs Jordan Leggett Samaje Perine
Corn Elder Bucky Hodges James Conner Cooper Kupp Stanley Williams
Fred Ross Jamaal Williams George Kittle Ejuan Price Chris Wormley
Jeremy McNichols Joe Mathis Derek Barnett Amba Etta-Tawo Gareon Conley
Taco Charlton  Elijah McGuire Ryan Switzer Tanoh Kpassagnon Tre’Davious White
Brian Hill Matthew Dayes Donnel Pumphrey Josh Reynolds Nazair Jones
De’Veon Smith Davis Webb Obi Melifonwu TJ Watt John Ross
Jerod Evans Vince Biegel Josh Carraway Josh Malone Kevin King
Fadol Brown Chris Godwin Nate Gerry Jordan Willis Stacy Coley
Zay Jones Jimmie Gilbert Glen Antoine Tarell Basham Duke Riley
Rayshawn Jenkins Chad Kelly Trey Hendrickson Jeremy Sprinkle Joe Williams
D’Onta Foreman Carlos Watkins Damontae Kazee Wayne Gallman Willie Quinn
Xavier Woods Elijah Hood Malik McDowell Desmond King Solomon Thomas
Cordrea Tankersley Raekwon McMillan Josh Harvey-Clemons Christian McCaffrey Chris Carson
Montravius Adams Aaron Jones Mack Hollins Deatrich Wise Jr Adoree’ Jackson
JuJu Smith-Schuster Josh Jones Davon Godchaux Lorenzo Jerome Quincy Wilson
Stevie Tu’ikolovatu Mike Williams Ahkello Witherspoon Dede Westbrook Tedric Thompson
Marcus Maye Joe Mixon Taywan Taylor Tyson Fernandez Jarrad Davis
Ishmael Zamora Daeshon Hall CJ Beathard Kendell Beckwith Jalen Reeves-Maybin
Rasul Douglas Marcus Williams Devonte Fields Justin Evans Kenny Golladay
Marquez White Chad Williams Curtis Samuel D.J. Jones Seth Russell
Amara Darboh Noah Brown Malik Hooker Carroll Phillips Isaiah Ford
Marlon Humphrey T.J. Logan Jalen Myrick Chad Hansen Eddie Jackson
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