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2017 NFL Draft Profiles: Adam Shaheen is a talented receiver in a blocking tight end’s body

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The small-school prospect might be built like a blocker, but it is his receiving ability that should get his name called fairly early on in April’s draft.

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

In 2013, Adam Shaheen graduated high school and left home for the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, arriving as a 6-foot-4, 195-pound freshman basketball player. Less than four years later, he stood on the podium at the NFL Scouting Combine after measuring in just shy of 6 feet, 6 inches and tipping the scales at an astounding 278 pounds.

Shaheen is picking up steam as a potential day-two pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, having transferred to Division II Ashland and playing three years of football there as a tight end. It is a rarity for smaller-school players to leave a year early as Shaheen did, especially since the Senior Bowl and other All-Star games give players with exhausted eligibility an added chance to shine. “I thought what I did in college was obviously enough to potentially be drafted and be on a team,” Shaheen said at the Scouting Combine when explaining his decision to leave early. “I knew I was going to get a knock by playing against lesser competition. I felt like I had done what I needed to do at the Division-II level.”

Physically, he appears more than ready to make the jump to the NFL. Despite his aforementioned hulking size, Shaheen is a pretty darn good athlete. In Indy, he ran his 40-yard dash in 4.79 seconds, and posted a good 3-cone time for his size at 7.09 seconds. He also bench-pressed 225 pounds 24 times and posted jumps of 32.5” (vertical) and 10’1” (broad).

Still, it’s his size that draws people in. He carries his 278 pounds well, too — he certainly looks the part of a tight end rather than an offensive lineman.

As for how Shaheen got big quickly over his time at Ashland? He credits one restaurant chain in particular for helping him increase his caloric intake: “(I ate) a lot of Chipotle burritos. A lot of burritos.” He was kidding, right? “No, in all honestly it was a lot of burritos. But it was a ton of consistency, going in and doing one hard week of training and then lazy the next. It was a year and a half to two years of constant … ‘Sorry, guys, I can’t hang out. I gotta go eat.’”

Despite his size, Shaheen is hardly just your prototypical blocking tight end, and he credits his coaches at Ashland for seeing him as a versatile option as a receiver. “(They) put me out wide. Put me on the wing. Detached. Slot. Everywhere that they could put me.” Still, he acknowledges that his size helps him when asked to block, noting that he played at a weight of 260 pounds as a sophomore. “I knew probably could carry another 15 pounds and not look like it and still move the same way,” he said. “I experimented with it and it helped me a lot in the blocking game and being able to move people.”

In fact, most analysts see him as a much more polished receiver than a blocker. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein is one analyst who summarizes Shaheen that way, saying “He's a poorer blocker than what might be expected for a player with his frame, but he's also a much more dangerous pass catching target.”

As for the NFL Draft, analysts see Shaheen as anywhere from an day-two pick to early on day three. NFLDraftScout.com has him rated as the 4th tight end in this year’s class, projecting him to be selected in round two, while DraftAnalyst.com has him as 4th-round pick.