At the NFL Combine Chris Gragg put on a show and let the scouts in on some of his freakish abilities. He topped all tight ends with a 4.5 40-yard dash and a 37.5 vertical inch leap, while coming in second in the broad jump.
Once he gets going, Gragg has straight-line speed equivalent to some top wideouts in the NFL. Getting open off of crossing and seam routes were his specialty at Arkansas, and he was able to exploit poor tackling and gain the all-important yards after catch. His legs keep churning with the ball in his hands until the end of plays and he can break arm tackles easily.
His arms measured out at over 33”. Add that number in with his speed and jumping ability, Gragg offers an enormous target for quarterbacks to hit.
Gragg has shown his versatility with his position. He came to Arkansas as a receiver (caught an absolutely huge 4th down pass in traffic that won the ULM game in 2008) and played his first season on the outside before Bobby Petrino and his staff moved him to tight end. Gragg transitioned well and learned under now Green Bay Packer tight end D.J. Williams how to play the position.
The biggest concern with Gragg is his blocking. He does block in passing situations better than on running plays. Some of that may be because of his weight, which is 15-20 pounds lighter than some of the top tight ends in the NFL. As mentioned, his top speed is second to none, but Gragg does not possess the “fast twitch,” get-off-the-line-in-a-hurry capabilities which may also affect his blocking.
While he may be able to get to every ball, his hands are not the surest, and he has dropped catchable balls, usually when he is looking to get downfield and use his athleticism on smaller defensive players.
Gragg did battle a couple of injuries during his career as a Razorback. He received a medical redshirt for the 2009 season after a dislocated left ankle forced him to miss the entire season. Locally, he was expected to be one of Tyler Wilson's top targets in 2012 and a potential John Mackey Award contender, but he only played in five games due to another leg injury. He was 100% at the combine and showed it with his measurables, important coming off of two injury-ridden seasons.
Lord, he was set to be such a monster in 2012. His injury was an absolutely huge loss to the Razorbacks.
Gragg will be picked on the third day of the draft if he goes at all. And like many of those third day selections, he has the chance to be an impact player for teams. Because of his speed he will more than likely move towards the outside and be a situational tight end with more playing time coming in passing situations.
If Gragg adds 20 pounds to his frame and improves his blocking, I can see him as a Jermaine Gresham-type of player.