The Chargers not only need to find a future long-term starter at the tight end position, they also need to find a way to build some depth there, as well. This is the first of what should be a good number of scouting profiles about tight ends as we dive into a position that has seemed like such a key part of a successful Chargers offense over the years.
This time up, we’ve got Minnesota’s own monolithic pass-catcher Brevyn Spann-Ford. The homegrown talent chose to stay right at home and play for the Gophers, despite a lackluster track record of developing players at the position for the NFL.
Spann-Ford hasn’t put up the numbers that you’d like to see from a top tight end prospect, but it’s understandable when you take into account that Minnesota loves to run the ever-loving mess out of the football on top of failing to find a decent quarterback throughout his time with the program. His best season came in 2022 when he caught 42 passes for 497 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Brevyn Spann-Ford is 270 pounds and doing this pic.twitter.com/WY3Rm2RJVj— Joe Broback (@joebroback) October 23, 2022
While Spann-Ford’s career didn’t blow anyone out of the water, his athletic ability and uncoachable size helped him land an invitation to this week’s Senior Bowl. The Senior Bowl has long been the premiere all-star week for college football and if he truly is destined for a lengthy career in the NFL, the coaches and scouts attending this week will make sure he’s prepared for it.
- School: Minnesota
- Height: 6’7
- Weight: 270
- 2023 stats: 25 receptions, 239 receiving yards, two touchdowns
- Career stats: 95 receptions, 1,061 receiving yards, seven touchdowns
- Accolades: All-Big Ten Honorable Mention (2022, 2023), Academic All-Big Ten (2019-2023)
Let’s go ahead and state the obvious from the start: Spann-Ford has an incredible build for the position. Physically, he’s well put together with seemingly most of it being good weight. When he runs, he’s an easy strider that seems to eat up distance effortlessly.
As a pass-catcher, I was surprised at how flexible Spann-Ford is when contorting for inaccurate passes. He’s able to open up smoothly and extend his catch radius to snag balls thrown behind him.
At 270 pounds, Spann-Ford should be able to find a nice niche as a sixth offensive lineman, regardless of how proficient of a pass-catcher he becomes. There’s a place on every NFL team for a player of his stature.
Brevyn Spann-Ford… I can work with this guy!! 6’7 270lbs.— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) November 22, 2022
If you can’t get Darnell Washington, grab Spann-Ford few rounds later pic.twitter.com/qxHHVwUYpB
Despite the elite size and measureables, Spann-Ford will have to fight against his height when it comes to being a dominant run blocker. We saw Darnell Washington a year ago show that height isn’t the biggest indictment on a player’s potential there but he could be much more the exception than the rule. Spann-Ford will need to work on his knee bend and get a lot more comfortable dropping his pads consistently getting to a proper depth in order to dig out some of the league’s best defensive linemen.
While the proper context certainly explains it, Spann-Ford’s lack of production will continue to be a bit of a red flag. While all of his good to great physical traits, on top of his film, tell us he could be a viable pass-catcher at the next level, just not having the proof already in front of us will always leave people with a “what if?” However, George Kittle of the 49ers was seldomly used as a receiver at Iowa and look how he turned out.
Round Prediction: Third round
I believe if Spann-Ford was more productive at Minnesota we’d be talking about him potentially going early in the second, but his lack of production leads me to believe he’ll drop to the later parts of day two. At the same time, his elite size and physical makeup will surely tempt a team to take him a bit higher than most would consider.