Scouting Report-Hernandez is a fascinating prospect. On one hand you have a guy who's undersized, looking more WR/H-Back than an NFL tight end, so you figure him to be a nice receiving option, especially for a team that's creative. But on the other hand, you have a guy who isn't much of a blocker and hasn't shown he can run more than a couple of routes with any consistency. The real positives of his game are his ability to find ways to get open,superb hands with excellent skills after the catch and good ball security. When you catch passes thrown by Tim Tebow you better be able to adjust to poorly thrown passes and be able to use body control to make the play. Hernandez has shown he can do both. He looks very smooth and much faster than he times in the open field, striding almost like a small forward on the field. He's got long arms and is a good leaper and is much faster than you see in shorts.
Draft Status-With more and more teams wanting to spread the field and throw it around, a player like Hernandez is definitely in fashion. Where he suffers in this draft is, guys like Rob Gronkowski and Jermaine Gresham can do all he can do in the passing game and more, while at the same time being huge targets and can in-line block. Still, Hernandez is almost certainly a day one pick on potential alone and should find a buyer near the end of the second round.
Final Analysis-We all have the image of Hernandez catching those inside screen passes from Tebow and him just booking it up the middle of the field. An impressive player no doubt, but your signature play needs to translate better to the NFL. I do think that his fluid athleticism and soft hands will serve him well in the NFL. He's not going to be able to line up tight and run block for a team. But he's a big target and has shown to be an exceptional wide out, and he'll be in demand on that alone. We've seen plenty of teams who can take H-Back guys like this and integrate them into the offense. He's going to have to put in the work in the film room and on the practice field learning to run more routes, and he's going to have to hit the weight room and get stronger not only to help run block but also to work against big strong NFL linebackers. If he can do those things, where I see him doing the most damage is in the red zone where he can find his spots and get open and make the tough catch.
Reminds me of: Dustin Keller, TE New York Jets-Both a little undersized, and both exceptional receiving targets. Both guys are also underwhelming as run blockers.
Scouting Report written by Curt Popejoy