Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Early Looks: TE Chase Coffman (Missouri)

From the moment he arrived in Columbia from little Peculiar, Missouri, Chase Coffman has done virtually everything in his power to become one of the most decorated offensive players to ever don the black and gold at the University of Missouri. Standing at 6'6'' and 245 lbs., Coffman is your prototypical NFL tight end, demonstrating a terrific skill-set which has translated to great production. A mainstay on All-Big 12 and All-American teams since his Freshman year, Coffman is looking to capitalize on a Junior campaign that saw him net 52 receptions for 531 yards and 7 touchdowns, earning him AP All-Big 12 Second Team honors and a second consecutive semifinalist finish for the John Mackey Award (given to the nation's best tight end).

Coffman is a player who combines great athletic ability with an impressive football IQ. When watching him on film, it's hard not to compare Coffman's skills to that of NFL TE, Todd Heap (Ravens). Like Heap, Coffman possesses outstanding leaping ability and ball skills while the ball is in flight. He displays unbelivable hands and concentration going up and making difficult grabs in defender saturated areas and is an absolute nightmare for defenders in the red zone. Flashes very adequate NFL-level tight end speed with a tremendous understanding of man and zone coverage and how to exploit it.

One of Coffman's biggest weaknesses is the fact that he doesn't possess the kind of great breakaway speed compared to '08 tight end prospect Dustin Keller (Purdue) or fellow '09 tight end prospect, Travis Beckum (Wisconsin). Lacks the ability to blow by defenders and doesn't stretch the field quite to the extent of those aforementioned athletes. Additionally, when utilized as a blocker in running situations, he is simply adequate. While he may have been a better receiving option compared fellow Tiger tight end, Martin Rucker (who graduated and was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 4th round of the '08 Draft), he wasn't nearly as skilled close to the line of scrimmage and at the point of attack and will need to improve in this area during the '09 season. Lastly, since Coffman's arrival at Missouri, he has always had the pleasure of playing along side exemplary playmakers such as Rucker, and dynamic WR Jeremy Maclin (Soph.). Though Maclin remains, the void left by Rucker will shift additional attention Coffman's direction. With this, Coffman must prove that he can deal with increased focus he'll receive and demonstrate a high level of success in doing so.

Outlook: After flirting with the idea of foregoing his Senior season, Coffman was wise to return to Mizzou due to the plethora of tight end talent that made itself available for the 2008 Draft. Comes in to the '08-'09 season as one of the nation's premier tight ends. If he continues to improve his blocking skills and displays escalated success as he emerges from Martin Rucker's shadow as a primary weapon in Missouri's high octane offense, Coffman could easily be one of the top three TE's selected come April of '09.

Noteworthy games: Aug 30th vs. Illinois; Oct 18th at Texas; Nov 29th vs. Kansas

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