"Fighting Irish" Part I.
Good To Be True Part III.
continued to catch the ball smoothly at Combine.
He is so smooth reaching out and grabbing the ball on Out throws. The ball
just melts into his hands. Every time I watch him play he impresses me.
Reaches up and snags the high throw so naturally. Not trouble hopping up
and grabbing the high throw. He
looks so smooth running deep. He has that knack for getting open 20-yards
down field. Nice hands catcher on deep passes over his head. He
keeps looking more and more like the Gronk from Arizona to me. This Draft
is packed it is unreliable. There are five tight ends who should be 1st
round locks, before the talent really start going down. Ebron is bare
is a terrific blocker at the point. He gets low, and can drive the OLB into
the turf. He does a nice job of holding onto the shirt so the defender
canít escape. Then he lines up in the slot and runs past the OLB like he
is a ghost, and gets behind the safety. Then he lines up and knocks the
OLB to the ground again.
Does a nice job sealing the OLB on the strongside on inside runs. He
also does a nice job Seal the OLB on the strongside, and then drive blocks
him 5-yard to the sideline on off tackle runs. He blocks every bit like a
270 pound TE. He just keeps stalemate the OLB on the edge. He can
stalemate the D-End as well. Although he will get knocked back rather than
knocking him back. Needs a little work on goal line blocker. Doesnít
fire out as aggressive as you want. Not his style just yet. He likes to
get position first, gets his hands on the defender, and then use his legs
to power block. But when he does get low and fire off the snap, he can drive
the D-End back.
Does a nice job firing off the line with a Rip through the
OLB to get into his pattern nicely. Gets into position quickly and turns
back with hands up nicely. He is very impressive chipping on the OLB,
sliding off, and then going and getting the Safety and putting him on skate
10-yards downfield. Lines up standing up in the slot sometimes, but
struggle to block the MLB from that position.
He can get beat by the push pull in pass protection. Terrific double
team blocker. He can really drive block with his feet and arms extended
once he and a teammate get the OLB or D-End moving backwards. Lines up
as an H-Back, and when he gets a little speed he he can drive the LB back
a few yards. Consistently lines up inline next to either O-Tackle, like a
tight end. He is quick enough to cross all the way out to the sideline and
block the Corner on the edge on outside plays.
He does such a nice job of
coming off the snap faster, and getting down field to block the safety out
in space. Relentless chasing his assignment downfield. He can find him,
hit him, and when he breaks free, change directions and hit him again as
the RB zigs and zags behind him. He can take the physical beating from the
D-End and hold on just long enough to stop him from getting to the RB.
Runs nice physical routes. When he hit the
the second level and then cuts outside, the defender canít stay with
him. Looks good running down the
goal line receiver. He can really go up and get the ball. He does look like Gronk on the goal line. He
slams into t he LB, turns and jerks to the
sideline. He has no trouble catching the ball away from his body.
Runs a great out and up. He
can beat the CB down the sideline for the 30-yard reception. No trouble
catching the deep throw with his hands. He is a 1st Round talent. He has no
trouble leaping up over his head to catch the over thrown deep ball.
Phenomenal talent. Does a nice job finding a hole in the zone right in
front of the QB, and presenting a nice target.
does a very nice job chipping and Dragging outside to present a target for
the QB waggling out of the backfield on the play action. He will be a
force in the NFL running a Seam route. His size is so perfect for the QB
to throw the ball over the LB when he is running down the Seam. My
favorite trait of Niklas is that he never lets the ball into his body. He
always stick his hands out, and grabs the ball away from his body. That is
such an important trait for a tight end. He also has excellent speed and
burst in his patterns, which is so important for a TE when he runs
patterns to get open.
is such a dangerous threat in the Redzone. The QBs just lofts the ball up
high, and he goes and gets it. I like how he comes off the line. He gets
up to full speed fast. I think the best thing about his patterns is his
get off, and how fast he runs them. He is so adept at catching the ball
and turning up field. Even under tight coverage, and can only trip
forward for a few extra yards. But when the defender doesnít trip him,
he can take off and gain a ton of extra yard. He is great at getting YAC.
uses his hands so well in patterns. He punches off LBs and DBs like a
D-End punching off a O-Linemen. They are colliding, and then he punches
and he snaps outside and is 3 to 4 yards wide open. That is such an
unstoppable move. He runs so smoothly and so well that you forget the he
is a 260 pound Ex-D-End, and suddenly that strength, heavy hands, and
power are exposed on the field. It is fun to see.
does a nice job finding the holes in the zone. He uses his hands nicely to
get smaller cover guys off stride to break himself open. He does such a
nice job catching the ball and then getting yards after the catch. He is
also very young to offense. He was recruited to ND as a D-End. He only
played TE at ND for two seasons. Which makes his tape so much more
impressive. He is so unique, and still has so much more growing to do. He
is just a baby at the tight end position.
Out routes nicely. He can give a little look inside, and then hit the LB
and cut outside. There is no way the LB can cover him after he knocks up
and back, and then cuts out. He can catch the tough throw behind him. He
had a fumble against Michigan ST, but it was recovered by his teammate. He
can look funny lined up in the Slot, because he is so big.
has a drop every now and again. The QB throws high so often that
sometimes he canít bring it in when he is unsure where he is going to be
hit. Takes his eyes off the ball sometimes to spot the safety coming in to
hit him. Lines up as a slot receiver and likes to run crosses and slants
inside. He has a good feel for where the 1st down marker is. Turns and
looks back at the QB smoothly.
showed as a Sophomore that he could go up high in the Redzone and make the
tough catch over all the DBs. He looks Gronk like reaching up and grabbing the
high throw over the linebackers. Like Gronk, he is an unusual hands
catcher for a 6-6 tight end. He always reaches out and catches the ball.
Another aspect that is elite in his skills is that he doesnít need to slow down
at all to catch the ball. He reach out at full speed, catches the
ball, and then takes off. He can run 50-yards after the catch with
surprising competitive speed.
Every Pass Play This Season
how he heads to the Endzone and curls just a little behind the LBs. The QB
throws it high over the LBs, and leaps up arms extended way above his head
and snag the ball (:17). He
comes off the line and just curls and angles In. Not a precise pattern,
but he got to the hole in the Zone. Then he is powering down field (:25). You
can see him reach down and back a little. Almost the opposite of the first
throw (:38). You can see him here about 35-yards down field reaching out
and catching the ball with his hands easily. That is such a nice talent for
a 6-6 tight end (:50). He does such a nice job catching the ball 20-30
yards down field.
not on the Seam, but this as nice a Seam route as you are going to see a
270 pound tight end run. Notice his hands up and away from his body
catching the ball without slowing down at all. Then he runs another
50-yards for the TD (1:06). You can see the ball is on the 35-yard line.
That is a 65-yard TD (1:17). He catches the ball easily 15-yards down
field at full speed, and it looks like he actually accelerates as he
catches the ball. That is 270 pound man running away from LBs and DBs.
he is lined up in the slot. He reach out with one hand but can't bring it
in (1:34). You can see run a deep Slant, and fill the hole behind the
blitzing MLB. The ball was a little high, but he should have caught that
(1:41). Reaches out with the linebacker grabbing him from behind. Another
catch he should have had, but he was hit by two defenders as he was trying
to catch the ball (1:51). It looked like he took his eyes off the ball to
look at the Safety. That was not a good drop.
gets nice position right at the first down. He walls off the DB nicely
(2:08). However, he didnít wall him off enough, and the DB made a great
play jumping over his shoulder to knock it down. That was not a drop
(2:12). Finds his way open by the marker again. Catch the ball thrown
slightly behind him, and had to slow down to catch it (2:21). You can see
him give a little head fake here, and then knock the LB back. He cuts off
contact so well there is no way the linebacker can do anything about.
(2:30). You can see he has to slow to catch the ball, or that would have
been a first down. He does a nice job stopping to catch the bad throw
(2:36). He runs a little Center Screen here. That is not a normal play for
a TE. He does a nice job getting some yards (2:42). You can see he fakes a
blocks, gets hit by a defender, and ran into his blocker as well. He still
get into position to make the play (2:49). Then he fumbled the ball
(3:04). And the O-Lineman that popped him recovered the fumble.
he is looking like a giant in the slot (3:10). He is running a route
with his hands down. He splits the retreating LBs, and cuts out for a nice
first down (3:19). Watch the contact before he breaks out, and then the
nice shoulder pull to help him get open (3:32). Lined up inline. You
can see how easily he catches it 20-yards down field (3:40). He heads
right down the Seam, and breaks out wide open. He turns and runs in for a
TD (3:52). He leaps up and turns in the air, but just can bring it in
(4:09). That is a great effort by a big TE. You can see the DB hits his
hand before the ball arrives here, otherwise he might have had it (4:17).
That should have been a great catch.
finds the slightest of holes between the LBs, and then leaps up field with
a nice burst (4:35). Watch this quick little move inside. He showed a
little suddenness in his shoulders there (4:41). There he is cutting out
again, and gaining yards after the catch. He is such an interesting weapon
(5:02). Again you can see the uncoverable patterns he runs off contact.
Watch the punch by the inside hand as he turns out, and the LB is suddenly
3-yard away from him. That inside punch on patterns is such a great weapon
for him (5:11). Then he is turning up field for more yards. That is a
subtle little out again (5:21). However, he didnít get any contact and
the linebacker was able to get his hand in the passing lane (5:26). This
is such a nice catch. He leaps up over the DB and snag it out of the air.
That is the Redzone threat the Pats need (5:32). He runs straight down the
middle of the field, like a Seam route. He is open, but the QB has to bail
(5:46). You can see how wide open he is. Then he sees the QB cut to the
outside, so he cuts towards the QB scrambling, and is rewarded with a TD
(6:01). There he is leaping up over the DB again.
he is inline. Watch how fast he gets into his pattern. He has a nice blast
off the snap, like a D-End. He can get a little nervous sometimes
catching the ball between two defenders, but here he is reaching out and
grabbing the ball between the Safety and LB, taking the hit, and holding
on (6:10). Here is a smooth Out, with little or no contact. He used his
speed to get open here (6:22). Unfortunately the ball was thrown a little
behind him. He had to slow to catch it, and the LB reached in and punched
the ball out. If the QB had thrown the ball in time or lead him a little
that could have gone for a long way (6:31). Same pattern, better throw
(6:35). The LB actually had better coverage, but the QB threw the ball on
time (6:43). You can see the QB put the ball in the opposite side of his body
as the defender, and he catches it easy and turns up field.
ball is way overthrown, and he almost drags it in (6:49). This is a
pattern a tight has to run. He gives a little chip like he is run blocking,
and then holds the block for an extra second like he is pass blocking.
That is really selling the play action. Then he shoves the rusher off, and
gets open dragging into the Flat (7:14). Watch how fast he turns up field
and starts running (7:24). Here he is coming off the line and is essentially
running a Seam route. Watch how he catches the high pass over the LB. That
is another pattern you have to be able to run in the NFL (7:31). You can
really see his speed into pattern here. Then watch how he dismisses the LB
with his hands and feet working together in perfect balance (7:45). He is two yards open, but the QB still has to throw over the LB. This is
where his height and long arms really come in handy. Watch him leap up
smoothly grab the ball. Then keep moving forward as he protects the ball.
catching the ball away from his body with arms fully extended. That is how
you want to see a tight end catch the ball (8:03). Another catch I wanted
to see, because of the early drops between the an LB and a DB. He makes another
nice catch between two defenders (8:12). When he is physical in his
patterns he cannot be covered (8:19). You can see him get his hands up
nicely. He never lets the ball into his body. He probably wouldnít have
made that catch if he had let it into his body, as the DB was coming fast
(8:27). Another Quick out (8:48). Skips up and catches it with his hands
again, but couldnít get out of bounds (8:56). He is such a great athlete
(9:01). He was tripped (9:11). Watch him reach up with one hand and get
his hand on the ball as he falls to the ground.
Vs Michigan: Run Blocking.
just going to go over the blocking plays here. This is my fifth game of
him, and Iím a little sick of watching him right about now. He likes up
between the OLT and the H-Back on either side of the line a lot on run
downs. He gets into the D-End and backs him up a little. Then the D-End
holds his ground and the OLT comes over and he gets knocked off the block
(:01). One thing I did notice about him is that he does a nice job of
sustaining blocks, but does have a time limit. He stops moving his feet
after a couple of seconds, and can get pulled aside. But he is an
excellent blocker for two or three seconds.
he lines up in the Slot as a receiver. He gets a little over aggressive
and misses the block. But watch the quickness as he turns back and gets
his hands on him just enough to cause trouble (:09). This is an odd block.
He Swims over the D-End, like he is a D-End, and then tries to get to the
LB and misses him. Then he goes for the Safety and misses him (:15). He
misses the block again and tries to grab onto the D-End (:22).
Here we go, this is the kind of block he can do. He gets into the
D-Ends shirt and holds hold (:29). He keeps his feet moving and stalemate
him the edge. That is a real nice block. Blocking the D-End by himself on
a run play is not easy for a tight end, and he looked like a tackle there.
is a terrific block in Pass Protection. He gets his hands up and jams him
nicely. Watch the D-End lose his balance as Niklasí block sent him into
the D-Tackle (:36). Here he is again pass blocking with his arms extended
and stalemating the D-End (:46). Another nice example of pass blocking
(:51). He does a real nice job against D-Ends in pass protection.
see this a lot. He gets a nice little push, and then has to give a little
ground back. But he holds on and the RB is able to scoot by him (:59).
Here he is between the ORT and the H-Back on a run down. He does a nice
job Sealing the D-End, but then canít hold the block (1:01). He gets a
little high sometimes. He allows the D-End to get under him. He turns and
Seals him nicely, but gets tossed aside as the D-End was able to push him
Seal block. It was a little short, but he got him turned and made it tough
for him to get back in the play (1:10). This is an elite block. He gets
his knees bent, hands up, and moves his feet nicely. He holds the D-End as
the ORT slides over and grabs him. Then he shifts over nicely to the
D-Tackle stunting outside. He holds him out on the edge until the QB can
throw (1:20). Much better job being physical in the run game on the edge
(1:30). Another nice block on
the edge. He didnít seal him completely, but he turned him just enough
for the RB to slash by him (1:36). We get a good look here. Watch as he
stays low as he bursts inside of the D-End, gets position, and gets his
hands into the D-Ends shirt. He doesnít keeps his feet moving, but
anchors nicely as the D-End fights back (1:43). You get a real nice look
here. See him get the angle. Then he keeps his hands and feet moving as he
tries to Seal him completely. But the D-End fights back, and jams him back
nicely (1:52). He holds on as he anchors his feet behind him, and the
D-End went down that time.
is a perfect Seal block on a tough D-End. Frank Clark is an excellent
college D-End (2:00). Watch him move his feet here in pass protection.
That is an excellent example of a pass protection tight end doing it
perfectly. He gets his hands on the D-End's shirt, moving his feet, and holds
on until the ORT gets there to help (2:08). Another nice seal block. The
D-End slips the block and hustles over to the RB, but canít get him
until he gets the first down (2:15). Another great Seal block on Clark. He
completes the turn and holds on until the RB is gone (2:24). That was a
real tough block.
he is catching a perfect Seam pass, and fighting for the first down (2:32).
This is when he is deadly. Coming across the field and catching the ball
at full speed. He turns towards the endzone as fast as anyone, and fights
his way into the endzone (2:51). Here he is blocking the D-End long enough
for the RB to get 5-Yards. He wasnít able to turn the D-End at all, and
that hurt him, as he tried to keep him outside (3:28). He does a nice job
coming off low and getting his hands up. He starts to turn and has inside
position (3:37). However, he allows the D-End to grab his hand and wrist,
so he canít get his hands on his shirt. The D-End quickly turns his
block into patty-cake, and then tosses his arms aside and burst inside. He
will allow that to happen less the more experience he gets as a blocker.
does an excellent job picking up the blitzer. You cannot pass block on the
edge any better than that (3:44). Here we go Short yardage against a top
D-End. That is an excellent block. Clark jumps inside of him with his
elite burst. However, Niklas is still able to get his hands inside his
shirt and not allows him to stop. He actually drives him straight down the
line and collapses it. This gives the RB a great cut back lane for the
first down (3:50). Remember, most tight ends are not asked to block
D-Ends. He has been asked to block a D-End on almost every down. If you
can get a TE to block a D-End in the run or pass, you add a lot of
versatility to the offense. So his struggling a little to block a D-End is
not necessarily a bad thing, especially since he has only played offense
for two years.
is just a great play. He really does a nice job getting in a chip block
and than getting down field for the pass. He knocks the D-End up, and
leaves him perfectly for the ORT. Then he scoots into the middle for a
middle screen. He did a terrible job following his blockers. You can see
his nice speed as he runs by two O-linemen and gets himself tackled short
of the first down (3:59). See how he just runs by the OG who is trying to
block the little guy. That is just bad.
does struggle to block on the edge on Screens sometimes (4:21). He is so
good running Outs (4:28). What is better than a tight end making a big
play going down the Seam on 3rd down (4:36). Itís funny how the more
physical the LB try to get in coverage the more open he gets. Then the QB
goes high and it is an easy first down (4:47). Another first down off a
nice Seam route (4:58). Plus, canít you just picture Edelman or Amendola
crossing underneath that route. Brady would have a field day.
HONORS & AWARDS
2013 Mackey Award Watch List
scored: 6, at Boston College, Nov. 10, 2012
1, at Boston College, Nov. 10, 2012
1, 5 times
yards: 30, Purdue, Sept. 8, 2012 (1
TDs: 1, at Boston College, Nov. 10, 2012
reception: 30, Purdue, Sept. 8, 2012
yards: 30, Purdue, Sept. 8, 2012
4, Boston College, Nov. 19, 2011 (0-4)
recovered: 1, Navy, Oct. 29, 2011
Niklas's Career Statistics
SOPHOMORE SEASON (2012): Made
the transition from outside linebacker to tight end during 2012 spring
practice ... started seven of the team's 13 games at tight end (started
first four games and also vs. Oklahoma, Boston College and Alabama) ...
one of five Irish receivers to log multiple catches of 25 yards or more
... recorded his first career reception for 29 yards in the win over Navy
(Sept. 1) ... added one catch for a season-long 30 yards against Purdue
(Sept. 8) ... had one reception for seven yards against Miami (Oct. 6) in
the decisive 41-3 rout ... scored his first career touchdown on a
seven-yard reception at Boston College (Nov. 10) ... became the 10th Notre
Dame player, and second tight end, to find the end zone in 2012 with the
score against the Eagles.
FRESHMAN SEASON (2011):
Played in 12 games for the Irish as an outside linebacker, starting the
game against Michigan State ... tallied career-high four tackles and
one-half tackle for loss in win vs. Boston College ... recorded two
tackles and first career fumble recovery in a win vs. Navy ... registered
three tackles in start against the Spartans.
me if you'd like a question blogged:
dogs on Main St howl Because they understand.