Packers Rookie Tape Watch: Oregon TE Colt Lyerla

Scott Olmos-US PRESSWIRE

We continue our rookie tape watch series here at Acme Packing Company as we look at Oregon tight end and rookie camp try-out, Colt Lyerla

So far we’ve broken down tape of three Green Bay Packers draft picks, but today we are looking at the guy who has generated the most buzz so far after rookie orientation: Colt Lyerla. Greatly, this post has nothing to do with his off-field issues (AKA the stuff you’ve all already heard a thousand times) and will only deal with his performance on the field.

School: Oregon
Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 247 Ibs
40-yard dash: 4.61 secs
Vertical: 39.0 inch

Coming out of high school, Lyerla was highly-recruited as a running back and linebacker, not a tight end. While playing for the Ducks, they lined him up at tight end, H-back, and fullback, fully taking advantage of his size and physical traits.

For this tape breakdown, I looked at Lyerla’s games against California and Arizona, which both were luckily compacted into one video (lucky me). I watched five games on him and this video was my favorite of his to watch. So after watching his game film and combine workouts, here’s what I saw from Colt Lyerla.

I’m stating the obvious, but he possesses very good athleticism. He may not be explosive, but he’s very athletic and is good down the seam. When you have past experience playing running back, that gives you a great advantage when you have the ball after the catch that helps you shred through defenders. It also allows you to create as a receiver in the open field. Below is a play of him lining up in the backfield, pummeling his way through:

And here’s another clip with him in the backfield bouncing to the outside showing impressive speed:

Now onto the big question: can he catch? The answer is yes, but not consistently yet. As we’ve seen after rookie orientation and last Thursday at OTA’s, he isn’t consistent. During rookie camp, he dropped a couple of passes and last week he dropped the first one that was sent his way. Still, he made a difficult grab shortly after across the middle. He’s a hard worker when it comes to the game itself, staying after practice to continue catching passes and running routes.

Speaking of his route running, that could probably use some fine tuning as well. While at Oregon, he mostly used (and you can’t blame him for this) his athleticism to get open and didn’t really develop in college. The physical skills allow him to improve in that area, though, so I wouldn’t worry very much about that because he can learn in due time with the right coaching. His blocking skills are alright to me, nothing special, but he can lock on his defender well.

Overall, everything I read on Lyerla’s skills match what I saw on film. I believe that without the off-the-field issues, he would have been selected in the second to third round of the draft this year, maybe even higher. He can be a versatile weapon in Green Bay’s offense as long as he consistently catches the football, improves on his routes a bit, and of course, stays out of trouble. Lyerla is great on short passes and down the seam because he can make plays after the catch using his body and halfback skills. Right now he is the most athletic player among the Packers’ tight end group, so I think he has a fair chance at making the 53-man roster, but I’m not going to say he could start some games just yet. If things go smoothly from this point, he can be a really good pro.

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