Summary: Escobar was a consistent producer for San Diego State over the past two years. His best season came as a sophomore in 2011 when he hauled in 51 receptions for 780 yards and seven touchdowns. Escobar then caught 42 passes for 543 yards and six touchdowns as a junior. Escobar decided to enter the 2013 NFL Draft after that.
Escobar is in the running to be the third tight end selected in the draft. He has some natural receiving ability with good hands, route-running and size. Escobar can present a mismatch against shorter safeties and linebackers. He is very skilled at beating zone coverage. He finds soft spots in zones and provides nice gains. Against zone coverage, Escobar does a very good job of working the middle seam.
Escobar isn’t a fast tight end, and his lack of speed can be seen in a variety of ways. He had a lot of contested catches against man coverage. He could struggle to get separation in man coverage in the NFL. At the Combine, Escobar had one of the slowest 40 times of any tight end at 4.84 seconds. He is a straight-line player after the catch without elusiveness or power to run through tackles.
As a blocker, Escobar needs to get better. He could use more strength to move defenders and needs to improve his ability to sustain blocks. That will be one of the areas he should improve the most.
In a crowded tight end class, Escobar could go as high as the second round or as low as the fourth round. If he develops his blocking, he could become a three-down starter. If not, he should be a solid contributor as part of a group of tight ends.
Player Comparison: Jared Cook. Escobar isn’t as fast or athletic as Cook, but both have some natural receiving ability. Once Escobar is coached up, he could be a better blocker than Cook (6-5, 246). They are similar receivers in that they aren’t elite receiving targets but are capable of solid production. Cook was a third-round pick in 2009 and Escobar could go in that range this year.
NFL Matches: Cleveland, Buffalo, Atlanta, Miami, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Oakland
There are a lot of potential landing spots for Escobar on the second and third day of the draft. The Browns are scouting tight ends hard, and Escobar could be in play for their third-round pick.
Buffalo general manager Buddy Nix said he wants to upgrade the tight ends. Escobar could make a nice tandem with Scott Chandler.
The Falcons have to find a future replacement for Tony Gonzalez. Atlanta would be a perfect situation for Escobar to learn behind the Hall of Famer for a year and improve his blocking before becoming a starter after Gonzalez retires.
Miami could target another tight end for Ryan Tannehill to work with. Dustin Keller is only signed short-term while Michael Egnew hasn’t proven anything yet. Escobar could potentially play over those two.
The Buccaneers have shown interest in Escobar. Tampa Bay doesn’t have a receiving tight end on their roster, and they could target Escobar on the second day of the draft.
Speaking of interest, the Eagles are reportedly smitten with Escobar. He could be a third-round target of theirs.
Oakland lost Brandon Myers in free agency, so it needs a tight end for its offense. The Raiders could consider Escobar with their third-round pick.
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