Jake Ferguson brings a nice mix of skillset the 2022 NFL draft. The Wisconsin tight end could be an impactful addition to an NFL offense looking for a versatile pass-catcher.
Jake Ferguson- 6-5, 244- Redshirt Senior- Tight End- University of Wisconsin
Many Wisconsinites would celebrate the selection of Jake Ferguson in Green Bay. The Grandson of Barry Alvarez played four solid seasons in Madison, proving himself as a valuable run blocker and a contributor in the pass-game. With much uncertainty in the Packers’ tight end room, Ferguson could have a good shot at being selected by Green Bay late on Day 2 or Day 3. He finished his career with 145 receptions for 1618 yards and 13 touchdowns.
What I like
+ Red Zone Ability
+ Versatility/Football IQ
The first thing that stands out about Ferguson is his hands. He has tremendous hands, and an impressive catch radius. Whether it consisted of making plays in traffic, or being a security blanket for his Quarterback he was excellent. He made an array of high point, bobbling, or one handed catches in his career, hauling in erroneous passes from often inaccurate QB play. His hands flashed at the Senior Bowl, catching everything and being reliable is his strong suit.
You can make strong argument that @BadgerFootball TE Jake Ferguson has the most natural hands of any prospect in 2022 #NFLDraft. The guy literally catches everything. One of best grabs of @seniorbowl week here with great backline awareness & toe-tap.🖐#TheDraftStartsInMOBILE™️ pic.twitter.com/VmSe1iwr1o
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) February 19, 2022
— Salvatore (@Fear_Jaire) October 5, 2019
Ferguson is a physical player who bullied opponents at the catch point. His ability to physically dominate with the ball in the air will serve him well at the next level. Although he is not an explosive athlete with the ball in his hands, he forces defenders to tackle him. Often challenging defenders and trying to run them over, his mix of hands and physical RAC reminds me a lot of Robert Tonyan. His physicality as a blocker grew and improved over his time in Madison.
Another way Ferguson can impact the game is as a red zone target. He is really good with the ball in the air, and his catch radius will translate nicely near the goal line. Making tough catches in traffic with supreme body control is probably his best trait, one that will be used in the NFL in the red zone.
Graham Mertz ➡️ Jake Ferguson
The Badgers strike first against No. 9 Iowa 👀
— SI College Football (@si_ncaafb) October 30, 2021
Ferguson was asked to do a lot of different things both as a blocker and a receiver over his college career. Although not a field stretcher if split out wide, he has ran enough routes to contribute in the middle of the field. He has experience lining up in a ton of different alignments, he should be prepared to step into the pro game and contribute no matter what role is needed.
Jake Ferguson is another TE in this loaded class that I like. Needs to get a little more physical, but he has some nice receiving skills to work with. pic.twitter.com/dx1LS5sAHq
— JWack (@JaredWackerlyFF) October 24, 2020
What I haven’t seen yet
– Big Play Ability
– Route Running
Ferguson did not show a lot of explosiveness after the catch, or much ability to separate from defenders over his college career. He is not going to run by or around defenders, instead initiating contact and challenging tacklers. He lacks the ability to create anything explosive in the pass game, instead acting as more of a chain mover.
As a route runner Ferguson has been asked to do it all, but doesn’t necessarily excel. He seems to be a decent route runner, but nothing too special. He was mostly asked to operate in the middle of the field or with simple flat routes. Depending on where he ends up he may have to improve his route running ability, or remain limited as a chain mover and a red zone target.
As a blocker Ferguson needs to improve. If Green Bay were to take a shot on him, he would be asked to do plenty of blocking. This was an area Robert Tonyan struggled in 2021 as well, but Ferguson will need to make improvements to become a 3 down player in the NFL.
Chinander said Isaac Gifford will tell you he needs to improve, but Chins liked what he saw from the second-year freshman, noting he did well setting the edge against Wisconsin's big tackles and guards.
Here's an example of that (and Garrett Nelson throwing aside Jake Ferguson): pic.twitter.com/h1z0aoU4YF
— Steve Marik (@Steve_Marik) November 25, 2021
Ferguson could be one of the first tight ends off the board in this years draft. He is good, not great in a lot of different areas. He had a solid college career even with very suspect QB play, and could be an intriguing addition to a team looking for a Red Zone Threat. Good physical tools, and a lot of experience and versatility should allow him to transition smoothly to the NFL game.
NFL Comp: Robert Tonyan
Role: Starting Tight End
NFL Draft Grade: 3rd or 4th round