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TE Fiedorowicz's game goes beyond stats

Posted Apr 18, 2014

Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro racked up 106 receptions last season. North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron amassed 973 receiving yards. Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins piled up eight touchdown receptions.

Then there's Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, who produced in all three categories, compiling 91 catches for 899 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The difference between the statistics posted by Fiedorowicz and those recorded by the trio that tops most NFL Draft lists? It took Fiedorowicz three seasons rather than one.

"Obviously it's awesome when you catch a big pass, but it's also awesome when you get a guy who breaks a 40-yard run after a big block you had," Fiedorowicz said. "They're both just as important to a team's success."

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While new-school tight end prospects like Amaro face questions leading up to the draft about their blocking ability, it's just the opposite for Fiedorowicz. He proved his blocking ability at Iowa but caught just 30 passes for 299 yards as a senior.

But while scouts will study whether the guys with the gaudy stats are merely a byproduct of their offensive system, they might give Fiedorowicz the benefit of the doubt because of the system he played in – a system that should prepare him for the next level.

"We wanted to shove it down your throat most of the time, but Iowa was a pro-style offense,h Fiedorowicz said. "I was a receiver in high school, so I didn't know what it was like to put my hand in the ground and actually block defensive ends. That was a little frustrating at first, but once I got the hang of it – you've got to have a mindset that you want to block somebody - I picked it up and I realized if I wanted to get on the field, I had to block."

Iowa's philosophy on offense – an offense that has produced NFL tight ends Dallas Clark, Tony Moeaki, Scott Chandler and Brandon Myers – has helped make Fiedorowicz a well-rounded player.

Despite his modest numbers last year, Fiedorowicz showed that his experience as a receiver and his size (6-5, 265) could make him a red zone threat in the NFL. Six of his 30 receptions resulted in touchdowns.

"I did a fair share of catching the ball in the end zone," Fiedorowicz said. "We ran the ball about 70 percent of the time, but when we were down in the red zone, our offensive coordinator was trying to look toward me."

Fiedorowicz sees a little bit of himself in Rob Gronkowski, a second-round choice by the New England Patriots in 2010. If Fiedorowicz proves to be a fraction of the player that Gronkowski has developed into, the team that invests what is likely to be a middle-round pick on him will be getting a steal.

"A lot of tight ends in the NFL are either blocking tight ends or receiving tight ends. I like watching Rob Gronkowski because he can dominate both the line of scrimmage and down the field," Fiedorowicz said. "He plays hard every down, every play. He finishes guys. He uses his body in the passing game.

"That's who I kind of want to be like."