Sports Outside the Beltway

NFL Draft 2008 – Round 1 #30 – New York Jets – Dustin Keller (via Green Bay Packers)

NFL Draft 2008 Logo The Jets have traded up to grab Purdue TE Dustin Keller.

Scouts, Inc.: 39

Strengths: Very athletic pass-catching weapon. Settles into soft spots when reads zone coverage and uses frame to shield defenders from the ball. Flashes the ability to make the tough catch in traffic and has the potential to develop into a productive red zone target. Lacks ideal explosiveness but changes directions well and runs adequate routes. He will generate yards after catch. Shows a second gear when tracking the ball downfield, knows when to turn back to look for passes and flashes the ability to work the seam. Gets adequate hand placement has a mean streak and flashes the ability to sustain blocks. Takes adequate angles to blocks and get into position at the second level. Has experience lining up wide, size can cause matchup problems for corners and is somewhat versatile.

Weaknesses: Is short, lacks ideal bulk for a tight end and can get muscled out of routes by linebackers and safeties. Footwork is inconsistent, takes some false steps and doesn’t always get into good position. Doesn’t deliver a powerful punch and isn’t going to knock many defenders back. Isn’t going to make many defenders miss, lacks breakaway speed and isn’t much of a big-play threat after the catch. Missed 2005 games with a sprained ankle, played with a broken left hand in 2006 and durability is somewhat of a concern.

Overall: Keller reshirted his first year at Purdue (2003), moving from wide receiver to tight end before his freshman season. He appeared in 33 games (13 starts) in his first three seasons (2004-’06), hauling in 74 receptions for 1,001 yards (13.5 average) and nine touchdowns. As a senior, he hauled in 68 receptions for 881 yards (13.0 average) and seven touchdowns in 13 games (all starts). His receptions per game (5.2) and receiving yards per game (67.8) ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, among the country’s tight ends in 2007. Keller missed one game in 2005 because of an ankle injury. Keller is undersized and he will never be a dominant drive blocker. He also will struggle to get off the line at times. However, this converted wide receiver is a playmaking threat in the passing game with the hands, athletic ability and versatility to develop into a quality contributor in the NFL. Teams that like to spread things out more offensively and have use for an H-back type should value Keller in the third round of the 2008 draft.

Rick Gosselin: 31

The Jets fans are booing but this is a reasonable pick at the spot. Whether it’s worth what it took to trade up remains to be seen.

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Posted by Duran | April 26, 2008 | 07:48 pm | Permalink

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