Ever since Jim Harbaugh and through the David Shaw era we’ve seen several tight ends come through Stanford and go on to shine in the NFL. Guys like Colby Fleener, Zach Ertz, Austin Hooper and Dalton Schultz have been drafted and seen their share of success. And now that Kaden Smith was drafted this past year we’ll get to see Colby Parkinson step into the primary role. With Colby Parkinson also becoming NFL Draft eligible we’ll take a look at how he wins, what concerns we have and what his NFL Draft outlook could be.
Where Colby Parkinson Wins
At 6’7 Parkinson already has a size advantage against defensive backs and linebackers but then is able to use his leaping ability and body control to go up and win contested catches. Whether it is high pointing the ball in traffic or diving to get off target throws, as long as you put the ball in his direction there is a great chance that Parkinson is going to come down with it.
Parkinson isn’t an elite athlete but he does show enough burst and agility while running his routes that allows him to get enough separation to get open. Used frequently in short to intermediate routes Parkinson shows the ability to freeze defenders with a stutter step before making a quick move out of his break to get that step and a passing lane for his quarterback.
Concerns about Parkinson
As stated earlier Parkinson is not an elite athlete and isn’t going to run past many defenders. While he does show some burst out of breaks he isn’t an explosive athlete. Parkinson is able to use his size and that burst to beat Pac 12 defenders but the question is whether he has enough athletic traits to be able to thrive in the NFL. Now you don’t have to be an ultra athlete to have success in the NFL but it looks like Parkinson will have to continue to develop himself as a route runner thriving on leverage and contested catches.
NFL Draft Projection
With Colby Parkinson’s size and body control he has a distinct advantage of defenders showing he can be a touchdown machine in the red zone with 11 touchdowns in 19 games but also a weapon to help move the chains. Parkinson will never be confused for a Noah Fant but if he’s able to continue to improve as a route runner he has the opportunity to become a quality starting tight end in the league and a weapon for his quarterback. Look for Parkinson to be in the Day 2 category with the possibility of a high 2nd round selection.