Missouri TE Chase Coffman (Getty)
He's one of the more prolific receiving tight ends to come out of college in recent years, but Missouri's Chase Coffman is a player who is still battling to get respect. He's still working his way back to full health after suffering a broken bone in his foot during the Tigers' bowl game, but he's still in Indianapolis meeting with teams and letting them know he's ready for the rigors of the NFL...
This past season, Missouri TE Chase Coffman, posted an astounding 90 receptions for 987 yards and 10 touchdowns in the spread offense. So the natural concern is, can he play the role of a conventional tight end in the NFL?
"I haven't (blocked) that much, being in the spread offense at Missouri, but I think I'll
get the hang of it real soon, once I start practicing it more and more," Coffman admitted to the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. "(Teams) are definitely wondering about it. A lot of them have seen me on film doing open-field blocking and see that can possibly transition well to being aggressive and blocking on the line of scrimmage.
"Very rarely did (the Missouri tight ends) get in a three-point stance, but I'm definitely willing to learn, willing to do whatever it takes to be the best in-line blocker down with my hand in the dirt, doing whatever I can.
"I wouldn't necessary say it hurts me, but it leaves the scouts or whoever is watching film
possibly wondering, until I show them or they see I'm willing to learn and do whatever it
takes to get into that position and be the best I can, the spread definitely leaves some questions."
Coffman has solid stats -- measuring in at 6-6, 245 pounds -- and he said while playing in the spread can have its disadvantages in transitioning to the NFL, it also has some advantages.
"The number of catches I made gave me a huge advantage over other tight ends who were not in the spread offense because we threw the ball and spread it out and did some things they don't do," Coffman said. "It helped me, it got my name out there, it helped the University of Missouri tremendously."
Coffman is the son of Paul Coffman, a standout with the Green Bay Packers and a member of their Hall of Fame, so he comes from great bloodlines.
He gives his dad the credit for helping him mentally with preparations to play in the NFL.
"He knows where I'm coming from," Coffman said. "Not as much the recruiting process
and getting drafted, because he didn't get a scholarship (to Kansas State), he didn't get
drafted in the NFL, but he definitely had a lot of experience and knows what's happening.
"He helps me out, telling me, 'Don't worry about this, don't worry about that,' and 'just keep
doing the things you've done to get me here in the first place.'"
Coffman could have left Missouri after his junior year, but because he split time with Martin Rucker (a fourth-round selection by the Cleveland Browns) he decided to return for his senior season.
"I did the right thing," Coffman said confidently. "I got my degree, which is something you always want to accomplish. If you start something you want to finish it, and I got to do that.
"I was lucky enough to be a member of quite a few All-American teams; win the Mackey Award,
we had a successful season, and it was great to be around the guys I played with for the last
three years another year. It was something I don't regret."
Coffman is aware that he has a bit of a reputation to overcome regarding his injuries -- the broken foot to end the 2008 season, turf toe during the 2008 season and bone spurs all throughout the 2007 season -- but he hopes his medical tests and interviews will alleviate some of the concerns teams interest in him might have.
"Two of the four years I played I had a couple of problems, but I played through those," Coffman said. "I missed a couple of games because of them. But that's just one of those things that unfortunately happened. I'm going to keep working hard to get stronger and faster and more flexible and whatever I can do to be injury-proof.
"As for as the medical testing, just showing them that my foot is coming along well, that
my injuries don't bother me anymore, and I'm going to be back 100 percent by whenever I need to work out.
"The interviews are another big part, just going in and impressing the coaches, the GMS, the scouts, whoever interviews me and show them I'm a character guy and will work my tail off to be the best I can and help their team win."
Coffman's pro day will be March 19th and he said he also models his game after Kansas City Chiefs TE Tony Gonzalez.
There is no denying that Coffman has the receiving skills to be a real threat in the short and medium zones. However, he's not overly athletic and he doesn't have the speed necessary to seperate from linebackers and safeties.
He's also going to struggle being an in-line blocker, but at the next level he may have a chance to play an H-Back role in the right offense and be effective as a third-down option in the passing game.