The St. Louis Rams have plenty of tight ends, right? A quick scan of the roster certainly says that they do. Given that, it was surprising to read a report of the Rams showing interest in Penn State TE Brett Brackett in conducting their evaluations prior to the 2011 NFL Draft.
According to this report from Aaron Wilson at the National Football Post, the Rams were one of several teams "paying close attention" to Brackett at his impressive pro day workout. Here's a recap of his outing from the same report:
The 6-foot-5, 248-pounder had a strong Pro Day with times of 4.53 and 4.61 seconds in the 40-yard dash and a 34 1/2 inch vertical leap.
He also registered a 9-10 broad jump, 22 repetitions of 225 pounds in the bench press, a 4.14 short shuttle, a 6.72 three-cone drill and an 11.27 60-yard shuttle.
Not bad at all for a tight end, who with 25 fewer pounds might be considered a wide receiver. In fact, he was a receiver at Penn State, the team's second leading receiver with 39 catches, 525 yards and 5 TDs. Nevertheless, his future in the NFL is at TE.
What Brackett does do well, according to this scouting report, is block. He also has good hands and the ability to catch the ball in traffic in the middle of the field. With his height, he's probably a good matchup against linebackers. But what do the Rams need with another developmental, hybrid tight end?
First of all, notice that Brackett is probably a seventh rounder or even an undrafted free agent. He's the kind of player teams bring on to see what he shows in camp. Based on that, maybe he rounds out the bottom of the depth chart or stands ready on the practice squad. He might be a nice red zone target for the Rams depending on how the roster shakes out and whether or not they draft/sign him.
The Rams also have a potential hole on the roster at tight end, depending on what happens with the CBA. Daniel Fells was set to become an unrestricted free agent under the pre-2010 rules. In the midst of the uncertainty about what will happen with the labor negotiations, the Rams tendered Fells a RFA offer. There should be more clarity on the status of free agents once the April 6 injunction hearing is resolved. When that happens, we'll have a much better idea about the Rams needs at tight end...and lots of other things.