Ralph Mancini: TE Darion Griswold, Arkansas State
Previous picks: DT Austin Johnson, ILB Deion Jones, DE Bronson Kaufusi, OT Joe Haeg, ILB Elandon Roberts, OG Connor McGovern, SS Kevin Byard, WR Mitch Mathews
Ted Thompson finally gets his tight end in the form of the 6-foot-5, 250-pound phenom who lacks big-time production, but possesses the hands, agility and movement skills to make an NFL roster… and maybe even start a couple of years down the road.
Griswold only totaled 13 receptions in his senior year mainly due to the fact that he played in a run-heavy scheme that asked the one-time quarterback to block from multiple positions, including the line of scrimmage and in the backfield.
The former Red Wolf does need to refine his blocking technique, but is well versed in taking on linemen as well as linebackers in the ground game. He features an effective punch off the line, although he’ll need to work on sustaining blocks.
As for his receiving skills, Griswold’s basketball background is evident in how he’ll post up defenders and go up for the ball in congested areas. He also features above average quickness and athletic ability to make short gains over the middle, as well as big plays down the seam.
One year of development could put the Arkansas State product in position to compete with Richard Rodgers for starting tight end duties should Jared Cook walk at the end of the 2016 season.
Griswold highlighted his versatility and physical style of play in a recent interview with Lombardi Ave.
Next: Kenn Korb