Scouting Report: Blake Annen, TE, Cincinnati

Scouting Report: Blake Annen, TE, Cincinnati

Deep sleeper with a lot of upside
By: Pete Davidson : April 22, 2014 6:19am

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Blake Annen is a player to keep a close eye on this draft season. He’s fallen through the draft process for the most part and understandably so. Annen caught only 19 passes in his three seasons as a Bearcat. Up until 2013, he was playing behind Travis Kelce, who is now with the Chiefs, and that certainly accounts for some of Annen’s lack of playing time and production. This year, with Kelce gone, Annen snagged sixteen passes and both of his career touchdowns. Things certainly took a turn in the right direction, though not far enough to get him invited to the Combine in February.

That gave the senior just one shot at impressing NFL evaluators, and he took full advantage. Annen created some nice buzz for himself with his Pro day workout and some of what he did is verifiable on his game film, which we’ll get to in a minute.

Here are Annen’s Pro Day numbers.

  • Height - 6’4”
  • Weight - 247
  • 40 - 4.41 & 4.42
  • Vertical Jump - 34”
  • Broad Jump - 120”
  • 3-Cone Drill - 6.99
  • 20 YD Shuttle - 4.30

Those are shocking numbers. Annen’s performance would have stolen the show in Indianapolis, especially the 3-Cone and 40 times. This player is probably going to get drafted based on his athletic ability alone. Whether he is going to develop into an offensive threat at the next level is another question.

So, the speed and agility we see on film is most definitely real. And here’s more proof, Chip Kelly has brought Annen in for a look see. Kelly and the new Eagles love speed as much as they love keeping a tired defense on the field.

What we like about Annen.

  • Size - He’s a big bodied receiver, and that helps him as a blocker, but the length helps him as a receiver too.
  • Speed - Very few 247 pound athletes run as fast as Annen, and when you combine that with a bit of nasty, you have an intriguing prospect. You want to talk about a tight end with the ability to stretch the seam? This could be your guy, and you might be able to get him on a budget.
  • Blocking - On the film we have, Annen’s blocking is impressive. You can almost understand why they opted to not use his speed in the receiving game. He goes from a low plane to a high plane very well. He makes all the blocks he’s supposed to make. This is important in that blocking can be the skill that keeps him on the field or on a roster.

Let’s take a look at Annen’s film. Here’s the only footage of him against top flight competition.

Not bad, and that touchdown grab was impressive. He used his hands and took a shot without even a hint of the ball getting loose.

Here’s Annen versus Northwestern State.

He looks even better in that reel as far as blocking goes, but Northwestern State is not exactly a powerhouse, so take it with a grain of salt.

While it is true that you don’t see a lot of players with less than twenty career catches go on to NFL stardom, it has happened before. And, while we don’t see a Jimmy Graham outcome for Annen, we do see a player who could be a nice value in this draft.

Annen’s film may lack enough evidence to suggest that he can become a serious offensive threat, but it does suggest that he is a very good athlete who can fulfill both aspects of the tight end position--as a play-maker and as a blocker. It definitely shows a player worthy of an NFL draft pick, and potentially worth a 5th or a 6th just for the upside.

This is clearly a player who is a developmental talent as far as the receiving end of the position is concerned. For a team like the Jets, Annen could be a very interesting prospect, since they could use a tough blocking tight end to go with Jeff Cumberland.

For fantasy GMs, Annen is more of a name to know right now versus a player to target in drafts. He could end up having some dynasty appeal in deeper formats, especially if he goes to a team without a dominant tight end, like Atlanta or the Giants. The Giants would be a particularly good fit because they like 2-way tight ends. One other obvious potential destination for Anne would be the Patriots. He’s got all the things they like up in New England. He’s a tight end. He’s obscure. He ran a great 3-Cone time.

So look out for both New York teams, plus New England and Atlanta. We think they could all have use for a player like Annen if the value is right.

I’ll update Annen after the draft in our Rookie Rankings.


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