In the current NFL, tight ends who can stretch the field and add another dimension to the offense by catching the ball like king-sized wide receivers are all the rage.
But a lot of those new-age tight ends aren't asked to provide the blocking previously required of the position; and they aren't really interested in that aspect of the game.
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Johnsburg's C.J. Fiedorowicz is more like an all-around, old-school tight end, who combines solid pass catching with strong blocking in the run game and in pass protection. He learned early on at Iowa that he couldn't ignore the less glamorous part of the job and still play for coach Kirk Ferentz.
"I was a receiver in high school," said Fiedorowicz, who also played running back, quarterback, linebacker and safety in addition to tight end and wide receiver at Johnsburg High School. "I didn't know what it was like to put my hand on the ground and actually block defensive ends.
"So it was a little frustrating. But once I got the hang of it -- coach said it's a mindset. You've got to want to block somebody. I kind of picked that up, and I realized if I want to get on the field, I've got to block."
At 6-feet-5½ and 265 pounds, Fiedorowicz has prototypical size and the strength to handle the dirty work. He banged out 25 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press at the Scouting Combine. But he also has enough attributes to make him a pass-catching threat.
He ran a 4.76 40 at the Combine and has big hands (10½ inches) and long arms (33 inches). His 4.26-second time in the 20-yard shuttle was the best of all tight ends, as was his 7.10-second clocking in the 3-cone drill.
Even though the Hawkeyes did not feature the tight end in their passing offense, Fiedorowicz caught 30 passes for 299 yards and 6 touchdowns last season and had 45 catches for 433 yards in 2012.
Fiedorowicz hasn't flashed the offensive productivity of the top tight end prospects like North Carolina's Eric Ebron (a possible top-10 pick), Texas Tech's Jace Amaro or Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins. But he's projected to be drafted in the third round, and he says he'll provide his new team with the complete package.
"I think I proved to some of the coaches that I can be a guy who can block in-line but also stretch the field," he said. "I think that might separate me from some of the other tight ends.
"A lot of tight ends in the NFL are either blocking tight ends or receiving tight ends. I like watching (the New England Patriots') Rob Gronkowski. He's someone I look up to. He can dominate both the line of scrimmage and down the field. That's who I kind of want to be like."
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