give me a Bradenesque picture and I’ll run it every time [Nasternak]
Michigan tight end/offensive tackle commit Ryan Hayes is the focus of the first FBO of the 2017 season. David Nasternak, our intrepid videographer, made the trip to Midland to take in Hayes’ TC West squad. Hayes, a senior, fits new OT/TE coach Greg Frey’s preferred characteristics in a tweener recruit: athletic enough to get into routes and high-point a ball but with an ornery disposition that lends itself to burying guys. TC West runs a Wing T and utilizes Hayes primarily as an in-line TE, though they occasionally split him out and play the mismatch on the outside.
Ryan Hayes Every-Snap Film
Hayes is #80 in white and lines up on the right side of the line in the film below.
[Hit THE JUMP for a breakdown of Hayes]
Hayes is being recruited with the idea that they will try him at both tight end and tackle; I think Hayes’ greatest upside is at right tackle. He has much more short-area athleticism than most players his size (6’7”, allegedly 250 pounds but looks heavier), but his top-end speed would limit him at tight end. He’s certainly a red-zone mismatch, and TC West exploits that whenever possible. Hayes isn’t exactly a route artisan, occasionally running through a defender on his way downfield. Hayes looks like an athletic right tackle playing tight end, and that’s not bad; he has the frame to add good weight and get into viable DI tackle range.
Run blocking is far and away Hayes’ biggest strength. He shows advanced technique in the run game, utilizing his hands well, getting his pads low, and consistently keeping his feet moving. I scouted one of his junior-year games on film and he displayed noticeably better hand placement in this game. Hayes is also flat-out strong for his age and, most importantly, uses his technique and strength to stay on blocks until the play is finished; at the very least he plays through the whistle, and he often buries guys (see the plays that start at 2:46, 3:05, and 7:52).
He’s fairly good in space; he certainly has the off-the-ball burst to get to the second level quickly, and while he targeted the correct players upon arrival there were times he seemed to pull up and missed blocks because of it (2:26). He did pull off a Hammering Panda-inspired two-for-one on the play starting at 1:57, bulldozing the poor recipient of his block into a player at the second level.
The biggest area for improvement is pass protection. This is understandable considering the style of offense TC West runs; they’re a run-based offense, and Hayes is far more likely to get into a route when they do pass than stay in to protect. Even so, it’s something I noticed the first time I scouted him and it remains true early in his senior year. He’s always looking to identify who he needs to block, but he needs to learn to kick and get depth (3:15 and 5:16).
Hayes looks like a right tackle in need of a redshirt. He struggles against edge rushers and will need to learn to pass protect from almost the ground up, but he’s a big plus in the run game. He’s explosive off the ball, plays with good leverage, and keeps his legs churning once he engages. He’s simply a violent run blocker. Hayes also appears to have good vision when targeting the second level, though he needs to correct a tendency to pull up once he gets into space. Michigan’s curiosity about Hayes at tight end is understandable, and though the appeal of a Kaiju 2.0 package is unquestionable, so is Hayes’ run-blocking ability.