Tennessee’s Luke Stocker reminds me of another former Volunteer, Jason Witten. Witten may be a better athlete overall, but they have similar body types and playing styles.
Stocker isn’t ever going to run by a defender on the field, but he is an effective short yardage, move the chains type of receiver. He has surprisingly soft hands and is a reliable target. Similar to Witten, his routes aren’t always going to be crisp with a snap in and out of the break, but he will use his body positioning to get the defender on his back and box him out for the catch. He is a smart player that knows when he is the “hot” receiver and needs to turn quickly for the ball, he also picks up stunts and blitz packages well in pass protection on the line of scrimmage. Stocker will make his money securing the edge and being a sixth lineman, but in turn, will be a huge factor in the play action game.
Stocker is probably the best all around tight-end in this draft, but isn’t going to give you explosive plays like Kyle Rudolph. He isn’t a down field threat in the passing game, but will be a consistent performer in all phases of the game. I look for him to be the second tight end selected at the NFL draft – most likely in the late second or early third round.