Maybe no player has been more of a disappointment in the Steve Keim draft era than Troy Niklas, well after Jonathan Cooper.
Niklas was the next in the lineage of talented, athletic and big Notre Dame tight ends, but there were questions about his game.
He didn't produce much in two years at Notre Dame, but wasn't exactly a lights out blocking tight end either. What could he become though, that was the question.
Now, looking back at Bob McGinn's anonymous scouting report, it is amazing to see some of the issues that were obvious, but maybe we as fans did not see.
Labeled "steady" by one scout. "A bit of an enigma," another scout said. "He's not as good as all the tight ends that came out of there like (Kyle) Rudolph and Eifert. He's got a little bit of softness to him. He tries (to block). It's disappointing just because he's 270 and he thinks he's a 240-pound tight end. He'd rather be in the slot than doing the dirty work inside."
That part is amazing to read. One of the things we have seen and wanted more from Niklas was to see him live up to his size, speed and skill combination, but it hasn't happened. For this scout, that was an issue coming out of Notre Dame. He didn't play like a unique talent, he played small.
Third-year junior from Fullerton, Calif., recruited as a DE but made 20 tackles as a true freshman LB in 2011. Two-year starter at TE with 37 catches for 573 yards (15.5) and six TDs. "I really didn't like him," a third scout said. "This guy is just a big, lumbering guy." His uncle, Bruce Matthews, was a Hall of Fame lineman.
This report is making me sad now.
"He's just got to (mature) and get a little tougher," a fourth scout said. "He's got the size. He needed another year. He shouldn't have come out. Got a lot of tools to work with."
That may be the most important thing, the Arizona Cardinals took a swing on a guy who was more athlete and measurables than skills, and it bit them. All of a sudden, you have a guy who was picked a day too early and didn't get the chance to develop and now, will he even make the roster?