|Pro Scouting Report
|Prospect (Last, First)
|Scout Name (Last, First)
|Year- RD- TM
|2016-Knee weeks 2-6, 8-17, 2016, Ankle week 7. Listed as questionable all season.
|2016-81 targets (13th), 57 receptions (12th), 64 catchable (11th), 70.4% caught (17th), 552 yards (18th), 2 touchdowns, YAC 194 (T 21st).
|2016-Cleveland, Miami #2, Seattle, New England #2
|Versatility, clean releases, finds windows in zones, route running in short/intermediate areas, toughness, blocking, YAC.
|Second level blocking, separation down the field, drops, injuries.
|Well balanced starting tight end. Has the speed and agility to be split out or into the slot and win vs. defensive backs in the short/intermediate range. He has the quickness to stretch the field but will have trouble separating. Effective blocker on zone, man or gap schemes.
|Versatile enough to play in any scheme.
Sixth year tight end that began as a fullback with the Miami Dolphins. Logged 87.8% of the offensive snaps in 2016, which was a career high. Clay was the primary receiver for most of the season due to an injury to starting WR Sammy Watkins. But the scheme limited Clay’s touches. An offense that went through some changes after week 2 as offensive coordinator Greg Roman was fired and running backs coach Anthony Lynn was promoted. The run game was one of the most versatile schemes in the NFL. It featured a heavy dose of Gap and Man schemes but also mixed in some Zone concepts. Clay has solid height for a tight end with a good build. He has good AA for a tight end. Shows the ability to explode out of two and three point stances, has nimble feet and good change of direction skills. Clay is a very good run blocker. He relies on his quickness off the ball, angles and body positioning to get the proper angle in order to win the matchup. Was routinely asked to execute Pin/Down blocks to get the running backs on the perimeter. On Zone runs he relies on his explosiveness off the ball to reach 7 tech defenders. Shows good hand placement within the frame of the defender but not much pop. Being a former fullback has helped his ability to lead on Counter Treys. Has very good competitive toughness, he led run plays often and displayed the ability to read Log and Kick out blocks correctly and still targeted the correct defender initiating with force. In the passing game, he is able to use his agility and COD to get clean releases and is very dangerous during the Drive phase because he knows how to change the Pace of his route. His receiving abilities are best utilized in the short to intermediate areas. His good play speed makes him difficult to defend. He will win versus most linebackers in Man coverage especially if given a two way go or Option route, something that he did quite often in Buffalo. Has a knack for finding windows versus Zone coverage, showing his numbers and sliding to stay alive if need be. Zone coverage was the norm in 2016 because of Tyrod Taylor’s scrambling ability, so the offense was not able to utilize his yards after the catch abilities. Most of his routes were stationary in nature. But he excelled in that area because of his spatial awareness. Clay shielded defenders from the ball and knows when he can quickly turn upfield. Excels on screens and quick passes, plays that give him the opportunity to make a guy miss. Clay showed all around very good mental processing skills. When asked to pass block he showed very good communication with tackles. Knew when he had help and where that help was coming from. When speed rushers rushed wide, he showed the athletic ability to use an Angle set to cut the rusher off and ride him wide. He played injured the whole season but still executed at a high level. Clay did have issues versus 6 tech defensive ends. 6 tech defenders created issues by shooting the C gap on runs to and away. Clay struggled with bull rush moves due to his high pad level. His play strength is solid, he executed Influence blocks and Scoops to the second level with ease but had trouble locking on and staying engaged. His biggest wart in 2016 was his drops. He dropped 10.6% of balls that were catchable. All of his drops were due to a lack of concentration. He especially had trouble tracking throws in traffic or when the quarterback’s release was from a congested area. Not a hands ball catcher, therefore doesn’t catch well when the ball is away from his body. Was hurt for most of the year and thus on the injury report every week except two due to knee and ankle issues. But he only missed one start due to the birth of his baby. At times the injuries were noticeable on the field but he still gutted it out and played through it. Overall, Clay is a well balanced starter who is best utilized in a system that moves its tight ends and can utilize him as a run blocker and in the pass game within 5-10 yards. He will struggle catching the ball in traffic due to lack of concentration.
Versatility-Can play out wide or in the slot
Good athletic ability. Uses his quickness and change of direction to secure clean releases.
[gfycat data_id=”SimplisticSomberAfricanwilddog” data_controls=true]
Good change of direction abilities leads to sharp route running in short/intermediate areas. Shows the ability to change the pace of his routes. Slow to fast.
[gfycat data_id=”RigidBouncyCapybara” data_controls=true]
Very good mental processing – Finds zone windows and shows spatial awareness by staying alive. Slides within the zones.
[gfycat data_id=”MenacingHonoredIndianrockpython” data_controls=true]
In pass protection, Clay is able to process the pass rushers’ intentions in conjunction with where his help is coming from.
[gfycat data_id=”JoyfulFaithfulKillerwhale” data_controls=true]
Good competitive toughness – Clay does a great job of reading log or kick out blocks and adjusting his track while leading on runs.
Very good run blocker – Shines on down blocks in gap schemes.
[gfycat data_id=”TepidEthicalAiredaleterrier” data_controls=true]
Physical toughness – With the Bills down 31-10, Clay left in the second quarter due to an injury. He came back in the second half and played through it.
[gfycat data_id=”NearSolidAnole” data_controls=true]
Drops – Clay dropped 10.6% of catchable balls. Has trouble tracking the ball in traffic.
— Cover 1 (@Cover1Bills) February 3, 2017
Solid hands – Struggles bringing the ball in when it is away from his body.
[gfycat data_id=”DelightfulAstonishingBufeo” data_controls=true]
Struggled vs. 6 tech defensive ends on runs to or away. Gave up inside gap too easily.
[gfycat data_id=”AcclaimedDifficultFritillarybutterfly” data_controls=true]
Injuries – He was listed as questionable every week except one.
Charles Clay‘s 2016 season was on par with his production from 2015. He was targeted six more times this season, hauling in 6 more catches and accruing 552 yards and four TDS, compared to 528 yards and three TDs in 2015. The biggest difference was his YAC yds/reception. In 2016, Clay averaged 3.4, down from and 4.6 in 2015. Clearly there was a considerable drop off from year one to year two, a lot of which had to do with how defenses were utilizing zone coverages to defend Tyrod Taylor. These zone looks made it difficult to run passing concepts that got Clay the ball on the move.
As you saw in a few of those clips, Clay is a well balanced tight end that adds as much, if not more, in the run game than he adds in the pass game. He was the 4th highest graded run blocker for tight ends, according to Pro Football Focus, earning a 77.6 grade.
Bills fans should be excited about the roles that Clay will play in this new offense. He will be able to continue to shine as a blocker, but also catch passes from the in-line tight end position and from out of the backfield when he aligns as the “U” TE (moving tight end).
New offensive coordinator Rick Dennison will look to maximize Clay’s potential by getting him in the short and intermediate quadrant of the field on play action passes. Specifically, Dennison will look to get Clay involved in the middle of the field, which is an area where the Broncos tight ends received 55.5% of their targets, compared to 43% for Clay (40.5% for all Bills TEs).
The offense will undergo some tweaks, and I expect Clay’s production to increase because of them. This type of production is something Bills fans have been longing for since he signed his big deal prior to the 2015 season.