The 2018 NFL Draft Prospect series breaks down draft-eligible players, highlighting their college production as well as their NFL potential. It’s important for daily fantasy players to know about NFL rookies before they’ve played a down of professional football because they are among the most misvalued assets in all of DFS. People who know NFL rookies have a significant DFS edge. The draft will be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, from April 26-28.
This piece is on Oklahoma tight end Mark Andrews, who has declared early for the draft. For the total list of all players leaving school early, see our underclassmen tracker.
Updated as of Mar. 28.
Redshirt Junior | 6’5″ and 256 Pounds | Born September 6, 1995 (Age: 23) | Projection: Round 2
Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.67 sec | bench reps: 17 | 3-cone: 7.34 sec | 20-yard shuttle: 4.38 sec | vertical: 31 in | broad: 133 in
Over the past two years the NFL has been lucky to see several top-tier tight end prospects enter the league.
- 2017 (1.19): O.J. Howard, Alabama
- 2017 (1.23): Evan Engram, Mississippi
- 2017 (1.29): David Njoku, Miami (FL)
- 2016 (2.35): Hunter Henry, Arkansas
Andrews could be one of the next tight ends to enter the NFL as a top-40 pick. A four-star wide receiver recruit, Andrews redshirted in 2014 as he changed positions, but in his first year of action he immediately made an impact as a red zone weapon, finishing second on the team with seven receiving touchdowns (behind No. 1 wide receiver Sterling Shepard) even though he had only 19 receptions. The next year he progressed within the offense: He again finished second with seven touchdowns receiving (behind No. 1 wide receiver Dede Westbrook), and he also finished third with 489 yards and fourth with 31 receptions. With Shepard, Westbrook, and pass-catching running back Joe Mixon all in the NFL in 2017, Andrews broke out in his final season, leading all Sooners pass catchers with 62 receptions and eight touchdowns and placing second with 958 yards.
As good as those numbers are, they don’t fully convey the extent to which he dominated the tight end position last year. He had almost 300 yards receiving more than the No. 2 tight end, and he was second among all draft-eligible tight ends with his 2.63 yards per route (Pro Football Focus). He caught all nine of his catchable targets of 20-plus yards, and he led all Football Bowl Subdivision draft-eligible tight ends with 3.24 yards per route from the slot. A smooth route runner with the size to be a competent blocker and the ability to line up all over the formation as a mismatch player, Andrews won the 2017 John Mackey Award, which is given to college football’s most outstanding tight end. He’s not a freak athlete in the mold of Howard, Engram, and Njoku, but he has near-elite speed for his size, and like Henry — the 2015 Mackey recipient — he’s an all-around talent. Only an unfortunate training injury or overblown concerns about his type 1 diabetes could cause him to drop past Day 2, and he could be selected as early as Day 1 if a team looking for a tight end prefers him stylistically to one of the other inline players.
Photo Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports