[Aaron] Hernandez is a matchup problem for linebackers, safeties, and cornerbacks. Like the [Jermichael] Finley-[Jimmy] Graham-[Jared] Cook tier, the Patriots tight end can be passable as a blocker with some scheming creativity, but unlike any tight end in the league, his versatility as a ball carrier is similar to Percy Harvin. Note that I said versatility, not talent.
The 6-foot-2, 245-pound Hernandez was a fourth-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. One reason he was a second-day selection was multiple failed drug tests in college, but I believe that issue didn’t cost him more than a round. I think it was more likely that NFL teams were also wondering how exactly they would use Hernandez’s unique set of skills. It may be one thing for an NFL team to look at a space player like Harvin or Dexter McCluster and wonder whether he’s a running back or wide receiver while knowing it can use the player as a return specialist while it figures him out. However, it is a different matter when that unique player might not have one true position in any of the three phases of the game.
I believe that University of Florida tight end Jordan Reed has the potential to pose a similar quandary for teams in the 2013 NFL Draft. I had a strong pre-draft report on Hernandez and I see aspects of Reed’s game that reminds me of Hernandez. He’s a former high school quarterback who earned 77 carries for 238 yards and five touchdowns during his freshman year with the Gators. However, I’m not ready to stand behind the idea that the 6-foot-3, 245-pound redshirt junior is Hernandez 2.0. I have at least a few more months of games to study before I arrive at a firm conclusion.
The Florida tight end has eye-opening potential as a pass-catching weapon in space as well as in tight spaces. If he can improve upon his work in tight spaces without the ball in his hands, Reed will make a nice mid-round selection. He's got a high ceiling that would fit nicely in many NFL offenses