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Devin Funchess, the hybrid tight end – wide receiver from the Michigan Wolverines, enters the 2015 NFL Draft after a productive collegiate career as a pass catcher. Funchess started his career at Michigan as a tight end before converting full-time to wide receiver this past season. In 2014, he totaled 62 catches for 733 yards and 4 TDs. He was named Second Team All-Big10 for his efforts. As a tight end in 2013, Funchess had 49 catches for 748 yards and 6 TDs. His season was good enough for First Team All-Big10 honors as well as being dubbed the conference’s top tight end. For his career, Funchess caught 126 passes for 1,715 yards and 15 TDs. Physically, Funchess is a walking mismatch. He is a tall and long 6’5″; he’s high cut with very long legs and long arms. At 230 lbs, he’s a load to disrupt or reroute off the line of scrimmage. His weight is deceptive, as he has a lean frame and ‘small-ish’ upper body. His lower-half is where most of his weight resides. Athletically, Funchess is better than what you’d expect a guy his size to be. He has above-average long speed, but he’s a strider who needs to build momentum in order to get going. He’s pretty loose in the hips and flashes moments of explosion into and out of his breaks with few wasted steps, but he’s not all that sudden or sharp in his routes at this point in his development. Even on the reps where he had to gear down a bit, his frame naturally created separation that his lacking wiggle or quicks failed to do. With the ball in his hands, Funchess displayed the ability to get upfield and make the most of his opportunities. He’s a challenge for smaller defensive backs to bring to the ground. He takes good angles in the open field and chews up yards in chunks. Funchess has adequate hands for the position but he has a tendency to let the ball get to his body a bit. There were some lapses in concentration on tape, and he didn’t exhibit the “my ball” mentality consistently enough. For a guy with his size, he doesn’t wow as a mismatch for the jump ball. That said, Funchess has good overall body control and coordination and can adjust his big body to poorly thrown passes.
BOTTOM LINE: On the hoof, Devin Funchess is as good as it gets. He simply looks like the next great wideout. And while he has the ability to be a good NFL receiver with a valuable red zone-type role, he could be a potentially elite tight end along the lines of Julius Thomas. I’d bring him in as a tight end and bulk him up for the run game. If he stays at wide receiver, he’ll need time to develop as a more consistent route runner. There’s no denying his upside to become one of the NFL’s true mismatches in the passing game. He’s a safe pick because of his experience and success at tight end, and if he fails to mature as a pure receiver, he should be able to easily transition back to a joker-type weapon for a creative offensive coordinator. Funchess will emerge as a starting “pass catcher” sooner than later, and will provide an offense with great value on Day Two.
GRADE: 7.4 (High-3rd)
-Submitted by Bryan Perez (@FirstRoundGrade)