2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Tennessee TE Jason Croom

From now until the 2017 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.

Jason Croom/Tennessee TE – 6’5” 246 lbs.

The Good:

– Does well with a free release when sent into motion
– Took some snaps as an outside receiver (his more natural position)
– More of a second tight end that gets used as an H-Back
– Could be used more as a big red-zone threat
– Nice stiff-arm that he uses to keep defenders off him
– Good burst in space

The Bad:

–Only started 13 out of a possible 38 games
–Converted to tight end in spring of 2016 after many years at receiver
–Looks and plays like a physical receiver instead of a powerful tight end
–Does not run block well as an inline player
–Play calls sending him in motion from an H-Back position are the most effective ways to get him into a position to succeed

Bio:

–Redshirted in 2012 after 3 games due to shoulder injury
–Reshirted in 2015, due to a knee injury suffered in the 2015 TaxSlayer Bowl
–Ran track and played basketball in high school, won state championship with basketball team
–Was a 3 star ESPN recruit and a 4 star Rivals and Scout wide receiver
–Finished his college career with 60 catches for 816 yards, 6 touchdowns and only averaged 1.5 catches a game
–Competed in Offense-Defense All-American Bowl out of high school
–Bulked up over 20 pounds to make the switch to tight end

Tape Breakdown:

He lines up as an inline tight end across from a defensive end. At first glance, Croom has a flat back which causes him issues as the ball gets snapped. The poor stance allows the defender to beat him off the line into the neutral zone, where #18 grabs the DE off balanced and with the opposite arm. That does not impede the defender, so Croom spins around and tries to block another defender high.

Goes into motion just before the snap of the ball. Joshua Dobbs fakes the give to Kamara while the tight end continues his motion. This opens up the right side flat where Croom catches the pigskin in stride and turns upfield. He reads a receiver’s block cuts inside and uses a stiff-arm to get a little more yardage before getting gang tackled.

Another fake handoff between Dodds and Kamara allows the h-back to dip into the flat without a defender on him. Crooks snares the ball in stride, bounces off one tackle, then spins while running downfield for a 30 yard gain.

After being repositioned to the right of the QB, Croom gets a clean release off the line from the H-back position. He finds a soft spot in the zone around the middle of the field. The Volunteer uses the referee to help him screen a defender away along with his stiff-arm. Croom then transfers the same stiff-arm to the awaiting safety Justin Evans riding him another five yards until forced out of bounds.

The former Volunteer did not make much of an impact during his college career averaging about a catch and a half each game. He still looks very much like a bigger possession type receiver, instead of a tight end/H-back. Croom could get play schemed into some success, but I highly doubt he could be a starter in the NFL. The Steelers brought him in for a visit, so I can only assume that it would be as a red zone target, H-Back, or a special teamer role.

Projection: Late rounder or free agent

Games Watched: @Vanderbilt, Nebraska, @Texas A&M

Previous 2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles
Deshaun WatsonHaason ReddickMarshon LattimoreCorey ClementTim Williams
Jourdan LewisTakkarist McKinleyBrad KaayaNathan PetermanO.J. Howard
Charles HarrisAlvin KamaraTyus BowserDavid NjokuDeMarcus Walker
Chidobe AwuzieDeShone KizerMarlon MackCameron SuttonZach Cunningham
Corey DavisCarl LawsonPatrick MahomesKareem HuntEvan Engram
Derek RiversRyan AndersonJoshua DobbsJordan LeggettSamaje Perine
Corn ElderBucky HodgesJames ConnerCooper KuppStanley Williams
Fred RossJamaal WilliamsGeorge KittleEjuan PriceChris Wormley
Jeremy McNicholsJoe MathisDerek BarnettAmba Etta-TawoGareon Conley
Taco Charlton Elijah McGuireRyan SwitzerTanoh KpassagnonTre’Davious White
Brian HillMatthew DayesDonnel PumphreyJosh ReynoldsNazair Jones
De’Veon SmithDavis WebbObi MelifonwuTJ WattJohn Ross
Jerod EvansVince BiegelJosh CarrawayJosh MaloneKevin King
Fadol BrownChris GodwinNate GerryJordan WillisStacy Coley
Zay JonesJimmie GilbertGlen AntoineTarell BashamDuke Riley
Rayshawn JenkinsChad KellyTrey HendricksonJeremy SprinkleJoe Williams
D’Onta ForemanCarlos WatkinsDamontae KazeeWayne GallmanWillie Quinn
Xavier WoodsElijah HoodMalik McDowellDesmond KingSolomon Thomas
Cordrea TankersleyRaekwon McMillanJosh Harvey-ClemonsChristian McCaffreyChris Carson
Montravius AdamsAaron JonesMack HollinsDeatrich Wise JrAdoree’ Jackson
JuJu Smith-SchusterJosh JonesDavon GodchauxLorenzo JeromeQuincy Wilson
Stevie Tu’ikolovatuMike WilliamsAhkello WitherspoonDede WestbrookTedric Thompson
Marcus MayeJoe MixonTaywan TaylorTyson FernandezJarrad Davis
Ishmael ZamoraDaeshon HallCJ BeathardKendell BeckwithJalen Reeves-Maybin
Rasul DouglasMarcus WilliamsDevonte FieldsJustin EvansKenny Golladay
Marquez WhiteChad WilliamsCurtis SamuelD.J. JonesSeth Russell
Amara DarbohNoah BrownMalik HookerCarroll PhillipsIsaiah Ford
Marlon HumphreyT.J. LoganJalen MyrickChad HansenEddie Jackson
Budda BakerJahad ThomasFabian MoreauMatt MilanoTashawn Bower

  • steeltown

    Could easily see him brought in as an undrafted guy… definitely not a TE just a big bodied WR

  • Darth Blount 47

    So some readers on here want to give me crap about questioning why I say we are WASTING draft-visits on certain guys and then I find profiles on guys just like this?!?!?!?

    EXHIBIT A.

    S M F H.

  • mokhkw

    Keep in mind that when a team brings in a player for a draft visit they sometimes are just as focused about asking him about some of his team mates as they are about finding out about the player.

    I think it’s a smart thing to do, the rookie can’t afford to get caught lying or denying things that may have happened with a team mate or themselves and they have to assume the teams already know what has happened. Seems to me a good way to get to the whole truth about what players are really like as team mates and outside of football.

    A players coaches, family , friends and team mates who aren’t in the draft aren’t likely to throw him under a bus but a former team mate who’s draft hopes are on the line isn’t going to hurt himself by covering things up or being untruthful.