2018 NFL Draft Prospect: Mark Andrews
2018 gets off to a flying start with the Oklahoma Sooners taking on the Georgia Bulldogs in the Rose Bowl on January 1st. There is no shortage of star power on display for both teams, with Georgia’s running back duo of Nick Chubb and Sony Michael on one side and Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield on the other. But there is also one of Mayfield’s favorite targets, tight end Mark Andrews.
Andrews has already laid his hands on one trophy this year, winning the John Mackey Award as the most outstanding TE in the nation. Andrews caught 50 passes in his first two years with the Sooners for 807 yards and 14 touchdowns. He wasn’t able to replicate his astonishing TD rate in 2017 (a 28 percent market share after two years), but he was able to blow past his yard and catch figures. He led the team with 58 receptions, and his 906 receiving yards trailed only Marquise Brown (981). His three-year tally of 1,713 yards is the most by a TE in school history, while only former first-round-pick Jermaine Gresham scored more than Andrews’ 22 TDs. He goes into the Rose Bowl with four TDs in his last three games.
COMPARED TO THE 2018 CLASS
Andrews has certainly benefited from the play of Baker Mayfield this season and the incredibly efficient passing offense he operated. The Sooners attempted 30.5 passes per game, the 75th-highest mark in the nation, but only two teams were able to post more yards per game than the 367.4 Mayfield guided them to. While Andrews was a major contributor to the offense, the fact that he wasn’t their only weapon may work against him when holding him up against his peers. Below is a look at how Andrews’ 2017 numbers stack up against his rivals, according to CBS.
|Mike Gesicki||Penn State||6'6||252||18.9||14.6||30.0|
|Dallas Goedert||South Dakota State||6'5||260||27.4||30.2||20.0|
|Jaylen Samuels||North Carolina State||5'11||228||23.3||16.8||25.0|
His numbers do not paint a picture of a player who was called upon down in and down out, but they do indicate a player that was bloody efficient whenever his number was called. I previously made mention of his incredible TD rate after two seasons, and this number is still an impressive 20.3 percent. Given how difficult it can be for TEs to make an early impact in the pros, a player with a proven talent for finding the end zone could certainly be an asset.
COMPARED TO THE PROS
At 6-foot-5, Mark Andrews is the same height as a number of TEs already in the NFL. Below you can see how he compares in the major categories against these players. I stress that a comparison does not automatically become an identity, and the players below are but possibilities of what Mark Andrews could become. But they still serve a useful purpose as a tool. 1
|Player||Height||Weight||40 Yard Dash||College Games||College Recs||College Yds||College TDs|
With the exception of Julius Thomas and Cameron Brate, all of the above players played between 34 and 38 games at college. Andrews boasts similar receiving yards to Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Hunter Henry and has more TDs than all of the above players. However, as with quite a few of the major prospects this year, his speed could be an issue.
While the above 40-yard dash time is only an estimate, the need for speed cannot be understated in a modern TE. In his article regarding the combine drills that matter most for the position, the first indicator Kevin Cole looks at is the 40 time.
Speed was also vitally important in determining if a prospect had a chance to become a viable NFL starter in the prospect model created by Phil Watkins. Given that he is already heavier than his professional comparisons, one would hope that he has the necessary strength to pass the bench press threshold, but his size may be an impediment to his explosiveness in the broad and vertical jumps. His 40-yard-dash time will be one to keep a close eye out for.
Mark Andrews is not a senior, and as such does not yet feature on the NFL Draft Scout rankings for 2018, but they have him as their No. 1 2019 TE prospect. Assuming he does enter the draft, there is little doubt that he’ll be one of the first at his position to have his name called. In the Dynasty Command Center Rookie Draft Guide they note that:
“Blocking could certainly be something to key in on in terms of being difficult for year one, but (Mark Andrews) receiving skills should get him immediate snaps.”
There are certainly teams who could use an upgrade at TE, especially from a pass-catching point of view. The Bengals could use another playmaker with Tyler Eifert doubtful to return to fitness. The Miami Dolphins are expected to say goodbye to Julius Thomas almost as soon as the season ends. Whether they want to use what will be quite a high pick on a TE remains to be seen, but Mark Andrews is certainly a name to listen for on draft day. If he can just nail that 40-yard dash, of course.