NFL Draft Analysis: Travis Beckum, TE, Wisconsin Badgers

by John Kotch Jr. on March 24, 2009 @ 00:00:00 PDT

 


A year ago, University of Wisconsin tight end Travis Beckum was toying with the idea of forgoing his senior season and entering the 2008 NFL Draft. He decided instead to return to Wisconsin for his senior year, a decision for which he claims to have no regret. Unfortunately, Beckum's 2008 season with the Badgers turned out to be a disappointing one.

After missing the first three games of the year with a hamstring injury, he broke his left fibula in the seventh game against the University of Illinois, and his college career abruptly ended with a total of 2,159 yards on 149 catches with 11 touchdowns.

Beckum's junior year was his most productive; as an All-American season, he compiled 982 yards on 75 receptions with six touchdowns. Among the nation's tight ends, he ranked No. 1 in the country in yards receiving and No. 2 in receptions. His 75 catches also set a Wisconsin school record for most ever by a tight end, breaking his own record set the previous year of 61. He was a finalist for the John Mackey Award as the nation's top tight end in 2006 and 2007. Although he played just over two full seasons at the tight end position, Beckum is still an interesting player that is likely to intrigue some NFL teams on the second day of the NFL draft.

Strengths

  • Strength (bench pressed 225 pounds 28 times at the 2009 NFL Scouting Combine)
  • Excellent route-running skills
  • Good speed and agility (ran a 4.61 40-yard dash)
  • Great hands (rarely even drops off-target passes) 
  • Great athletic ability (capable of making the highlight-reel catch)

Weaknesses

  • Lacks traditional tight end size (6-foot-3, 239 pounds)
  • Strictly a pass-catching tight end or big wide receiver 
  • Can't handle the blocking responsibilities of a traditional tight end
  • Durability concerns 
  • Raw (limited experience at the position)

Expected draft placement

Although he was unable to run the 40-yard dash or participate in the agility drills at the combine, he performed well in those events at Wisconsin's Pro Day, despite reports that his broken leg had not fully healed.

At the NFL level, Beckum would likely be used as an H-back or big slot receiver as opposed to a traditional tight end. He's cut from the same mold of NFL tight ends as Indianapolis Colts tight end Dallas Clark, Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Kellen Winslow II and New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller. Beckum is projected as a solid third-round pick, but considering his injury history and the number of quality tight ends coming out this year, he could slip into the fourth round. NFL teams who could pick Beckum at this point in the draft include the Carolina Panthers, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles.

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About John Kotch Jr.

John Kotch Jr. has been a KFFL contributing writer since 2007.

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