With the offseason in full swing now, it’s time for the Packers and Ted Thompson to look toward the best part of that season before the official season: The Draft. And with some significant needs likely to be addressed early, there are some minor ones that should be looked at late. And in this profile, we take a look at a guy on offense who can make a big impact from a small school: Eric Saubert.
Saubert, a tight end from non-scholarship school Drake in Des Moines, Iowa is at this point definitely a receiver first, but with the size to be a matchup nightmare similar to Tyler Eifert. At 6’5” and 251 pounds, Saubert has the body to be an in-line guy but has been used more as a slot guy in his career at Drake.
Saubert became the first Drake player in recent memory to get an invite to the Shrine Game and impressed in every drill for tight ends, getting a ton of compliments for his route running and ability to high point the ball. He also has grown into more of a serious red zone threat, scoring 17 touchdowns the past two seasons in FCS ball.
But don’t let me tell you all about his strengths. Here is what his profile on nfl.com says,
“Good combination of size and speed. Gets into routes with good quickness from the slot. Adjusts route to defender and does a good job setting up his pattern breaks. Good separation acceleration. Man amongst boys in red zone where he dominated lesser competition. Posted 17 touchdowns over last two seasons. Gets maximum extension out of long arms to attack downfield throws at their highest points. Has ability to make acrobatic catches when he’s focused. Used in wide receiver screens. Athletic runner after the catch. Lines up all over the field. Flashes ability to become a blocker in future.”
But, as biased as I can be for a player like Saubert (He and I were in college together and I have interviewed him numerous times), he does need a lot of polish in the finer aspects of the tight end position, namely blocking and concentration. But the talent is definitely there for him to be a very strong #2 tight end on a team like the Packers.
He should test extremely well at the Combine next week, and that could send him up draft boards. If he falls to the fifth round or so, it could be wise for Ted Thompson to take a flier on him and let him develop behind Jared Cook and learn from one of the best offensive coaching staffs in the NFL.——————
Mike Wendlandt is originally from Iola, Wisconsin and graduated from Drake University in 2015 with a degree in History. With a significant journalism background both in writing and broadcasting, Mike can be heard as the play-by-play voice of Central Wisconsin High School sports on WDUX FM 92.7 and on Twitter @MikeWendlandt.
Mike Wendlandt is a writer covering the Green Bay Packers for PackersTalk.com.