Mark Andrews was the John Mackey award winner for the nations top tight end in college football. Andrews broke out this season as a pass catcher, putting up 958 yards and eight touchdowns. With Vance Mcdonald having injury and drop issues, and lack of progression from Jesse James, is tight end a position the Pittsburgh Steelers may look at, and is Mark Andrews on their radar.
School: Oklahoma Sooners
Mark Andrews is obviously known as more of a pass catching tight end, given that he almost received for 1,000 yards. In fact, he essentially would slot into a role that Evan Engram saw as a rookie with the Giants. He could be seen as a big slot receiver.
Andrews is nowhere near the athlete that Engram is, but he is a nuanced route runner and aware enough to find spaces in the zone to create easy targets.
Take the play below for example. this helps exemplify two attributes that Andrews bring to the table. First, he is able to pick on the two linebackers. Both of them are watching the quarterback. Andrews sees space and slips right through with a great move. From there, he is off to the races and showing an ability to be elusive, changes speeds, and use the whole field as a runner. Being active and fluid with the ball in your hands, and being smart enough to find ways to attract targets is a great combination for a tight end prospect.
Andrews is obviously not a precision blocker, but he can contribute in the ways that could make him a tight end one in the NFL. In the play below, he is helping with a combination block to push a run into the second level. Andrews helps his tackle seal off the edge with a quick push. Then, he is quick into the second level to block a linebacker.
As a pass catcher, he tends to round off routes and does is not great in and out of his breaks. Also, while he does not have inconsistent hands, there have been a few frustrating drops on his tape.
As a blocker, he is not complete. The fact that he brings something to the table helps. However, he struggles to hold blocks for very long. It is a good idea to get him the combination blocks because of the quick push and the ability to get him in space to just beat the running back by picking up a defender. In situations where he is holding down the line longer, he was inconsistent.
NFL Comparison: Zach Ertz, Eagles
Andrews is nowhere near the blocker as Zach Ertz. He is also nowhere near the route runner yet. However, in their body fluidity and the ability to sell routes with their body, the two do have similarities. Andrews brings a base that is could be built up towards an Ertz level talent, and that is what is intriguing.
More realistically, he would come in on the scale of Austin Hooper in the NFL right now. However, with his fluidity if he can become a little more polished in his routes he can be an intimidating slot type of receiving option over the middle of the field.
A fit for the Pittsburgh Steelers?
At this point if the Steelers are looking to add a tight end, it is a better blocker. Jesse James is not stable enough as a blocker right now. The team does not rely on the tight end as a pass catcher. It is nice addition, but at this point, they need a tight end who can get into the second level in the running game, and free up Le’Veon Bell to turn three yard runs into nine yard runs and further. That is not Mark Andrews. The price on Mark Andrews would also be a first rounder. It would be one heck of a luxury, and if the prior offseason broke their way, and they felt good about a few sleepers, maybe. However, the idea is at this point and time comes off as unrealistic.