C.J. Fiedorowicz enters the year as a 6’7 265 pound premier Tight End for the University of Iowa. He was the rare exception of a true Freshman playing in all 13 games and playing a pivotal role in the Iowa pro-style offense. Used primarily as a run blocker in 2010, he did play in all 13 games, accumulating no stats. In 2011, C.J. played in all 13 games with 5 starts. He had 16 catches for 167 yards and 3 touchdowns, using his talents primarily as a run and pass blocker, while flashing skills of a Red Zone threat. C.J. is the clear favorite to begin the season as the primary Tight End (read: starter) with the release of A.J. Derby from the team.
Size and Speed: C.J. comes into the season at 6’7 and a built 265 pounds. He has a thick build with a solid core and thick/strong legs. C.J. will come in having one of (if not the best) size/speed ratios in the draft, with his projected 40 in the 4.64-4.67 range.
Release: One area that C.J. has shown to struggle in is his release off the line going into the route tree. He is inconsistent in his approach and has struggled to beat the press or jam (however, has shown he can out run and find the soft spot in the zone). This needs to be addressed in the offseason and during practice.
Route Running: C.J. has shown in limited reps and live games that he can run the full pro-style route tree. C.J. has also displayed a knack as a red zone threat (where he can use his height/weight and is able to go up and over defenders) as well as big goal line packages. C.J. needs to show he can be a more pivotal role in the Iowa offense now that Derby and Marvin McNutt are no longer on the team.
Hands: C.J. has better than average hands, but does have the occasional mental lapse. He can high point the ball and go up and over defenders. He has great technique going hands first and not body or arm catching. While in line blocking, C.J. has good hand placement to where he can get up and under and move the defender off of the line.
Body Control and Traffic Ability: C.J. has shown an above average ability to control himself both in the air (Receiving) and on the line (Blocking). He has great natural balance. C.J. can move both in space (second/third levels in pass catching situations vs. in line blocking). He has shown he is unafraid to go over the middle to challenge the linebacker and safety.
YAC: C.J. has struggled with consistency in his ability to break away from defenders. His release will dictate whether he is able to get the initial and latter separation from the defender. But C.J. has shown he can use his size and speed to make a move and dip the defender off of him. However, once C.J. gets a step, he has the speed to break away and stay away.
Blocking: One of C.J.’s strong suits is his blocking ability. He can stone and stand the defender at the line of scrimmage. He has great footwork and is a natural bender, both in the knees and hips. He shows great hand placement and can garner good leverage on the defender. Having C.J. on the line has proven the same as placing another Tackle on the line, both in passing and running plays, and creates a natural strong side wherever he lines up.
Overall: C.J., while doubtful to enter the draft this year (underclassmen rarely leave early from Iowa), has played himself into the top-50 overall in this class due to his natural talent in the run and pass block game, along with talent and production growth, the last two seasons. He is in a similar situation to Chris Gragg, where he needs to step up to a heavy and reliable role in an offense that featured key departures. He needs to show he can be a factor in an offense that already caters to the Tight End play. C.J. is in the same mold as the past great NFL Drafted Tight Ends from the University of Iowa, but will project better due to not suffering similar injuries and setbacks (Clark and Moeaki).