I am very high on Michigan State tight end Charlie Gantt. It's not that I think he will be a great player; but I think he can be a valuable role player on any team.
Next year's tight end class is awful. I'll keep it simple: I don't see myself giving one tight end of next year's class a first or second round grade, unless Kyle Rudolph goes out for the draft. That being said, I really like Gantt.
Gantt's physical ability is truly the only thing that holds him back. Gantt has good height (6'6), solid bulk (260lbs), but horrific speed (4.87 40 yard dash). He also lacks quickness of any kind, he isn't athletic at all when trying to go up and catch footballs, and he lacks lateral mobility. But he does possess above average strength, a nice, wide frame, and a big body with long arms.
Gantt has above average hands. He doesn't drop too many passes, but he does trap a fair amount of passes against his frame. Gantt's lack of physical tools stop him from being able to get high in the air, catch the ball at it's highest point, or really stretch the field as a receiver, but he is still functional as a pass catcher.
Gantt has some route running ability. Gantt really lacks quickness or deceptiveness in his routes, but he has showcased an ability to read coverage schemes and make excellent decisions when running option routes, which will help him in the NFL.
Gantt is a brilliant blocker. He blocks with unbelievable tenacity, he has good strength, and he uses his hands well to make all defenders succumb to his tremendous power. He also understands how to take perfect angles to opposing defenders in zone blocking schemes, and he gets a great initial punch on opposing linemen.
The reason why I like Gantt is that I feel Gantt could be the perfect goal line tight end in two tight end formations. Gantt will probably never be much of a starter in the NFL, but in two tight end formations and in goal line formations, the tight ends are usually required to block, which is vital in outside runs in these formations. Gantt is a great blocker. But, not only that, when a tight end has to be a receiver in those formations, they usually need to find some open space in the back of the end zone and use their height to make sure only they can get the ball. Gantt possesses the height and the ability to read opponents coverage schemes to be outstanding at that. Just perfect in that role. Honestly, could a team ask for anything else in that role?
Overall, Gantt may never be a great player, but he can be perfect in a backup tight end's role. Just brilliant. And let's be honest; one of the best backup, goal line tight ends in the history of the NFL, which Gantt could very well be, is pretty good value in the 4th round.
NFL Comparison: Steve Heiden. The resemblance is, quite simply, uncanny.