2016 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Iowa TE Henry Krieger-Coble

As you should know by now, our attention has now shifted to the 2016 NFL Draft as it relates to the prospects. From now until the draft takes place, we hope to profile as many draft prospects as we possibly can for you. Most of these player profiles will be centered around prospects the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have interest in.

Another tight end profile, our second in as many days. Breaking down Iowa’s Henry Krieger-Coble.

#80 Henry Krieger-Coble/TE Iowa: 6’3 248

The Good

– Well-rounded and well-versed game who does everything at least average and used in a variety of assignments in Iowa’s pro-style offense
– Best quality is ability to stem his route and get separation at the top of it, advanced use of head fakes and jab steps, plus has quickness/explosion on his cut to create space
– Shows intensity and buys into need for run blocking, tough kid who fights until the whistle and shows nasty/tenacity as a blocker
– Explosive out of his three point stance in routes and as a run blocker, latter lets him complete difficult assignments, routinely reached on the backside
– Shows football IQ and ability to understand zone blocking rules, processes quickly
– Sets hips well as a run blocker and works hard to get himself in the most optimum position possible
– Experience in pass protection and has been asked to take on defensive ends, not perfect but shows a solid base, keeps his feet moving
– Will make tough catches in traffic and shows a soft pair of hands
– Versatile, time on the line and displaced, work out of two and three point stances
– Athletic family bloodlines

The Bad

– On shorter side and slightly undersized overall, small-ish hands and short arms (9 1/4, 31 5/8 respectively)
– Not an incredible athlete and straight-line speed won’t blow anyone away, game is best on short/intermediate concepts
– Better blocker when he has an angle than he is as a drive blocker, prone to falling off blocks, overall strength is not spectacular, will have to continue to get stronger and play with better technique
– Some minor issues with keeping feet moving laterally in the run game, part of issue in sticking to blocks
– Route tree was not that complicated even in pro-style offense
– Only one year of starting experience and production, limited numbers in 2015
– Minor injury concerns


– One year starter
– 2015: 35 receptions, 405 yards, 1 TD
– Prior to 2015: 7 catches, 58 yards, 3 TDs
– Suffered torn labrum told end of 2014 season, missed final three games, took about six months to recover, missed some of 2015 spring practice
– Several relatives who competed at college level, including teammate and cousin George Kittle
– Krieger-Coble was a three-star athlete in high school (football, baseball, basketball)

Tape Breakdown

Similar to Jesse James, Krieger-Coble played in a pro style offense that asked to wear many hats. He’s reached/hinged the backside on runs and has been asked to stay in to pass protect. Not a lot of college tight ends are used on those high-level concepts, and given the Steelers’ focus on the few that do, it will elevate HKC’s status.

At the bottom of your screen, watch Krieger-Coble reach the backside end. Sets his hips to seal him. Don’t see that too often from anyone at the college level.

A few plays earlier, he’s pass protecting against the end without any help from the tackle. Gets a little support from his running back late but overall, does an admirable job.

Watch him crack/chip the Michigan State left end, destroying him and finishing the block by falling on top of him.

Whew. If that doesn’t say Steelers, I don’t know what does.

Let’s look at him as a receiver. He isn’t a straight-line, vertical threat but explosive out of his stance and at the top of his route, more than capable of gaining separation.

Watch the head fake coupled with the break off his left foot to beat the linebacker on this dig route. Stuff like this gets me excited about HKC.

He shows a soft pair of hands and ability to adjust to poorly thrown throws, making a fingertip catch on this throw clearly thrown behind.

As I wrote in the report, he is better when working with an angle – even when he has to cross the defender’s face and set his hips – than he is drive blocking head up. In the GIF below, he falls off this drive block against Joe Schobert. Top of the screen, the on-ball tight end.

I am a little more measured on my tight end evaluations after admittedly being a little too high on Maxx Williams who of course, still could turn out to be a very good player. Krieger-Coble reminds me of him in some ways though Williams was a better threat vertically.

Despite yearning and pleading for the new-age, move tight end, it’s pretty clear that isn’t in the cards for the Steelers. They’re looking for someone in that Jesse James mold, competent blockers who can do more than just catch the football. HKC is cut from a similar cloth, and I admire his ability to separate and finish in the run game, two things I greatly value.

Tight end is not a need for the Steelers and I do subsrcibe to the theory that if they’re going to invest, it’ll be early, not late. Not much use in burning a 7th round pick who probably won’t crack the group of James, Heath Miller, and Matt Spaeth. Krieger-Coble is not going to be a 7th rounder but even in a weak tight end class, isn’t going within the first two rounds and the third isn’t a slam dunk either. It could put the Steelers’ philosophy into conflict but if you can look past that, you have yourself a solid player.

Projection: Late 3rd-Early 4th

Games Watched: vs Pittsburgh, at Wisconsin, vs Michigan St, Senior Bowl

Previous Player Profiles
Hunter HenryEli AppleLaquon TreadwellDadi NicolasKendall Fuller
Deion JonesJihad WardKevin PetersonVonn BellMichael Caputo
Andrew BillingsMackensie AlexanderTyler ErvinAustin BlytheChris Jones
Sheldon RankinsNoah SpenceJordan JenkinsYannick NgakoueDarian Thompson
Bryce WilliamsCre’von Leblanc

About the Author

Alex Kozora
Full-time blogger from mom's basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.
  • Caesar

    Kinda seems like just another guy. In a year thin on picks, would probably not like to see one spent on a guy like this. Would much rather see them go ahead and take a shot at signing Dwayne Allen than spend a pick on a middling TE prospect.

  • Bill Sechrengost

    Thanks Alex. Glad to see a few TE profiles here. I’m not sure which way the Steelers are thinking or if they believe that James it the future at TE. I don’t see Spaeth staying after this year. The other TE I’d like to see a profile of is Tyler Higbee from Western Kentucky. Jon Ledyard has been gushing all over him as the second-best TE and I’d like to see another opinion.

  • PittsburghSports

    At that size wouldn’t he be used in more of an H-back role? Can’t imagine you’d want him protecting the edge, although seems like a good enough blocker and has that physicality. The more and more I think about it, I just don’t see us drafting a TE until Heath gives the word on retirement. It’d be nice to replace Spaeth with someone that’s more of a receiving threat, but if all 3 current TEs are around still, that’s a tough lineup to crack.

  • falconsaftey43

    Coble was a player I knew nothing about before I turned on the tape, and he really impressed me. What stuck out most to me was his ability to create separation, and his blocking. I really like him. He’s a guy that will play in the NFL for a long time. Not sure when/if the Steelers are looking for a TE, but I’d have not problem spending a mid round pick on Coble.

  • falconsaftey43

    I wouldn’t pigeon hole him to H-back off the line role because of his size, he is a good inline blocker, and gets good releases off the line. Think you mostly see his size come into play when trying to drive block.

  • PittsburghSports

    What is with this “pigeon hole” phrase this year lol?

  • Alex Kozora

    He is most definitely on the shorter side, and I am genuinely curious of who the smallest regular playing time TE in the league is. I hate looking just at size and drawing conclusions, but I’m sure a lot of teams will have him off their board because he doesn’t meet size requirements. Maybe in Pittsburgh, too. Miller/Jesse/Spaeth were all big guys. Blanchflower was over an inch taller and heavier. The only one that compares really well is David Paulson and he has longer arms by about an inch.

  • The Notorious TOM

    Niles Paul is listed 6’1 225 on the skins roster

  • PittsburghSports

    Delanie Walker is only 6 ft tall.

  • The Notorious TOM

    There you go, forgot about Delanie. Definitely the shortest (got 20 lbs on Paul though)

  • Alex Kozora

    Ah good call. Walker is much more of an athlete (WR/TE hybrid out of college) and actually has longer arms than HKC.

  • harding36

    I really doubt he’s small enough to fit into a pigeonhole.

  • falconsaftey43

    Everyone please forgive my following rant:
    I hate measurable requirements. Hate them. I think the entire idea is faulty. I’m fine with having an “ideal” or “prototype” for the position, but to eliminate a player for not meeting some physical measurement is baffling. Is it possible that a player whose arms are too short struggles to take on and shed blocks, and that his arm length really hinders him? YES. Is it possible for a player with short arms to have no issues on the field using his arms, or has other qualities that allow him to compensate? YES, just see Chris Borland, that guy didn’t meet hardly any measurables, yet he was dominant. Too short, too light, short arms, not fast…beast and tackling machine.

    I get where they come from, you can go back through NFL history and collect data on what kind of measurables great players had, what the extremes were for successful players, and come up with a prototype and limits for success. But there are just too many examples of guys that didn’t meet requirements that not only succeeded, but excelled.

    Let’s look at QB’s, the most common requirement is height. Have to be tall to see over the line is the conventional wisdom. If you use historical data to say that most good QB’s were tall, and very few short QB’s succeeded, you can certainly find data to support that. But correlation between two things does not necessitate a cause and effect relationship. Part of the reason that so many great/good QBs are tall, is because athletes of that stature are more likely to have other physical traits that aid in QB play, such as arm strength. Another part of the lack of short QBs is that smaller athletes are often used at other positions in lower levels of football, so they never have the opportunity to become a good small QB, because they grew up playing RB etc. Part of it is self fulfilling, the shorter kid doesn’t look like your “typical” QB so he plays another position. Or when entering the NFL, he’s not given a legit chance because he doesn’t meet the size requirements.

    I think measurements should be used for 2 things. 1, to aid in the projection of a player to another position, or to doing things that were not shown on college tape. 2, to look for athletes that have prototypical measurements that are not “big time” prospects because of the school they went to or their lack of production (ie. is this small school kid really fast, or just faster than the guys he plays against, or lump of clay we may be able to develop with NFL coaching).

    Again, sorry for the rant, but I just hate when people look at a measurable and use it as a way to say a player can’t do something. If he can do everything you want him to on tape, or can do almost everything you want on tape, then don’t just write him off because something was an inch too short or 5 hundredths of a second too slow.

  • Alex Kozora

    Whew, that is one heck of a rant. Just for the record, I largely agree and am not saying I hate HKC because of his lack of size (obviously, I like him). I just know teams usually have some sort of benchmark for each position and he could struggle to hit those.

  • falconsaftey43

    Yeah, was having a rough morning. I know you are one to base your opinion largely on what the tape says Alex. If I remember correctly, you were a big fan of Chris Borland coming out. Love your work.

  • Alex Kozora

    Absolutely. Borland was my dude. Tyler Lockett was my guy last year and he’s a tiny fellow. I dig Tyler Ervin out of SJSU this year. I don’t let size dictate my opinion but recognize when it does play a role, especially looking at what specific teams tend to draft.

  • Alex, just wondering what you mean by “could put the Steelers’ philosophy into conflict.” You say HKC is like Jesse James, right? So you don’t think they’d want two of the same/similar player? But then you also say he reminds you of Maxx.

    Personally, I’d like to see the Steelers solidify the TE position, which is why, like you, I was high on Maxx last year. Of course they can get by next season with Heath and James (and Spaeth), but beyond that is what they should be looking to. But it’s hard because, to me, James is a wild card — I just don’t know how good he can be. But assuming he’s in the mix, the Steelers need to find a complementary TE, and ideally someone who’s more of a pass-catcher than blocker (even if they want all-around TEs instead of, say, an Antonio Gates type).

  • Alex Kozora

    I am saying that if the Steelers take a tight end, it will likely come early in the draft. HKC is probably more likely to go on Day 3. Is the team interested in adding another mid-round pick to the group they have? What are the odds he makes the team, has a role? Miller and James are basically locks to make it and Spaeth’s blocking is held in high regard. So that’s what I’m saying, is it worth taking a guy who does not have a clear path onto the roster?

    Also, and though I didn’t talk about it in the article but got into the comments, taking an undersized player like him is a little out of their wheelhouse.

  • Edward Hunt

    I like the pick overall. I hope that a coach can correct his blocking technique so that he doesn’t lunge as much. Seems to fight every block. I think he is scrappy enough to help on special teams right away