2018 NFL Draft: Troy Fumagalli the best tight end sleeper?

Wisconsin football’s Troy Fumagalli could prove to be one of the sleepers in the 2018 NFL Draft. Where will he fall on draft day?

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One of the more underrated and overlooked draft prospects heading into the 2018 NFL Draft is Wisconsin Badgers tight end Troy Fumagalli. A former walk-on, Fumagalli blossomed into a main target for the Badgers’ offense during his junior campaign, ending it with a remarkable performance in the Cotton Bowl against Western Michigan.

Despite the upwards swing of attention by opposing defenses, Fumagalli mimicked his junior season in 2017, posting 46 for 547 yards. He also added four touchdowns and was good for over 11 yards per catch. This was impressive given the Badgers’ lack of passing early on in the season and the departure of two veteran receivers in Jazz Peavy and George Rushing.

Fumagalli might not be the top tight end target entering the 2018 NFL Draft, but at 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, he serves as a viable option that many teams in need of his position cannot pass up if given the opportunity.

Strengths

Fumagalli has tremendous hands that, when paired with his athletic ability and strength, makes his ability to makes catches in traffic hard to ignore. Using his big frame, Fumagalli models the way New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski boxes out his defenders and shields them off to give himself a chance at the ball.

Another NFL-worthy trait Fumagalli possesses is his run blocking. Coming on to Wisconsin, the Badgers’ coaching staff were fond of his size and strength- making him an asset in the program’s famous running game. Fumagalli was often times seen on the line pushing strong-side for running back Jonathan Taylor and company.

Oh, and there is his highlight-reel playmaking.

Weaknesses

One thing that will be in question for Fumagalli in the NFL is his speed and whether or not he will be able to utilize his route running skills in a much faster game. With the Badgers’ gameplay focusing in on runs heavily, majority of their down-field passes were off play-actions or slow-developing sets, making it easy for him to get where he wanted to. With much faster athletes in the professional setting, Fumagalli will need to prove he has the speed to match his other attributes.

Another odd question mark is the fact that he is in fact missing a finger on his left hand. While he went through his collegiate career without it affecting him, a bigger football and much faster game could cause the result from a fluke accident when he was a kid to become a liability.

Draft Expectations

Fumagalli will not be someone seen drafted in the first round or even second. In a class with valuable tight ends to choose from, Fumagalli will likely slip down to a team whose immediate needs are not at the position.

There is a chance he creeps up to an early third round pick, but chances are Fumagalli will show up somewhere between the later third round and mid fourth.

Prediction: Round No. 3, 85th overall – Carolina Panthers