6′ 6″ 263 lbs.
Strengths: Blocking, catching, quickness, size
Weakness: Character, speed, age (24)
30 November 2008
In many ways, Brandon Pettigrew may be the most complete TE to enter the draft in a long time. He has prototype TE size, is a ferocious blocker and relishes the role, and he’s a standout pass catchers with great hands. His technique has also come a long way this year. His stats are down (zero TD) but he missed three games with an ankle injury and WR Dez Bryant has played out of his mind and has been QB Zac Robinson’s most frequent target. If not for missing those three games, Pettigrew would be on pace to top his career highs in catches and yards. He caught 35 passes in 2007 and has 35 catches in 8 games this year so safe to say he tops that mark against Oklahoma on Nov. 29.
Before we get to his (numerous) strengths, one negative really stands out and he will have to do a lot to overcome this in today’s NFL: off the field issues. Pettigrew was arrested last January for assault and battery of a police officer outside of a party. Character is such a highly scrutinized characteristic of players nowadays that teams are rarely taking chances on guys with checkered pasts. As far as I can tell that is his only transgression, but it’s a serious one and Pettigrew will get put through the ringer by teams worried about taking a chance on him.
On the field, wow. He is not an elite athlete and doesn’t have the straight line speed that will blow people away ala Vernon Davis, but Pettigrew is the complete package in the Jason Witten mould. He blocks, he catches, he’s big, he’s strong; he is everything you want in a TE. He plays even bigger than his 6’ 6” frame would justify with very long arms and huge hands, he will catch any jump ball thrown in his direction.
Many TE today are one-dimensional, either they block or they catch, most can’t do both and a lot of TE are glorified receivers. Not Pettigrew. Blocking seems to be the most important part of the game to him, at least from what I’ve seen, and he never shies away from contact. Pettigrew is a huge part of State’s 2874 rushing yards and 34 TD. He uses his size superbly to drag defenders after the catch and create mismatches in the more congested parts of the field. His technique, while still not perfect, has come a long way since last season and he no longer relies solely on strength and agility in blocking and catching. His route running has also improved though he operates as mainly an underneath option.
Besides the character issues, Pettigrew does need some work with pro coaches on the finer points of his game. He still uses his size as his most effective weapon to create space, which is not a bad thing, but he will need to learn some new tricks at the next level. He does not possess killer straight line speed or incredible athleticism. Some have said he can add weight to his already chiseled frame, but I believe he is at his max weight wise and anymore weight would affect his already suspect speed.
In 2007 Pettigrew was surrounded by some top notch talent in WR Adarius Bowman and Dantrell Savage and with their graduations the question became can he handle being the top option. The emergence of Dez Bryant and Pettigrew’s ankle injury made that a moot point but it will probably be raised again come draft day. Brandon Pettigrew is not Tony Gonzalez or Antonio Gates, don’t try to make out to be those guys and you won’t be disappointed. Pettigrew is not that type of player and that is not a bad thing by any means. He is a great talent with a complete game. He is not going to run 4.4/40 or jump through the roof. He’s not going to catch 100 passes or break 1000-yards. To those people who want to pigeon-hole him in that way, I say: LET IT GO! Let Pettigrew be Pettigrew and be happy with the most complete TE of this draft class, someone who can have a large impact on an offence without all the flash of Gates