Scouting: Clive Walford – TE, Miami (FL)
Year: Senior (RS)
HT/WT: 6’4”/251 lbs.
Expected draft pick: Late 1st round
Mike Mayock of NFL.com calls Clive Walford, “the most explosive tight end in the draft”. After watching the tape, his assessment couldn’t be more spot on. He is a factor in a lot of plays, and does so many things well. On the flip side, he needs improvement at other things, and for him to be the most explosive tight end in the class, is a testament to how poor the talent is at the position this year.
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As I mentioned in my look at another tight end, Jesse James, tight end is a position of need for the Ravens. The team is in wait and see mode with Dennis Pitta, meaning they need to move on as if he won’t be available. Owen Daniels is a free agent to be and if he walks, you are left with second year TE Crockett Gillmore, and undrafted Phillip Supernaw (pending an ERFA tender). Question is, how important is the tight end position to you, if you’re the Ravens? In a shallow draft class, how important is it to get one of the best, if not the best one in the class? All depends of course on where the Ravens would have him on their board, or they could have an under the radar type stashed away for the later rounds.
Walford was disappointed in his 40-time at the Combine, wanting to break 4.7, and posting a 4.79. But he did exceed personal bests in the vertical and broad jump. 40-time isn’t a make it or break it for TEs, in my opinion. When you look at the tape, you can see where he excels, speed in small spaces, and he had no problem out-running a couple DBs on a seam route he took to the end zone.
He also doesn’t lack confidence, saying at the Combine that he models his game after Rob Gronkowski. Hopefully he doesn’t model his extra-curricular activities after him.
But the one part of his game that doesn’t mirror that of Gronk is maybe the most important, is his hands, leading to 10 dropped passes on the year. More on that as we take a look at the tape. Good stuff first.
Against the at the time, defending National Champs, Florida State, Walford displays a quick twitch on the route from the slot. Easy pattern, then shows off the speed for the big man as he remains upright from the ankle tackle attempt and takes it the distance for the score.
Now against Virginia, Walford shows he is tough to bring down, especially if you are an inexperienced DB who will try to go up high on your tackles. Shifty moves in the open field as well To slip another tackle.
First, take a look at the score of this game now. Miami down 30-7 well into the 4th quarter. Walford doesn’t give up. Shifty, strong, makes it so it takes a swarm a Cavaliers to bring him down instead of cashing it on the first guy. It may not mean much, but it shows me the type of character he is. I like it.
From 2013 aginst FAU, Walford hangs on through the crushing hit to secure the TD.
Now a little of the negative. More than just the hands, it’s securing the ball. This here against FSU cannot happen. It negated a 25 yard gain, moving into their territory, and gives momentum to the already heavily favored Seminoles.
Here again, he makes the grab, but the ball pops out when he goes to the ground. Ultimately, the play was ruled incomplete. But it was dangerously close to six the other way. The fastest way to lose playing time is lack of ball security.
– Route running
– Run blocking
– Lines up as a slot receiver, or hand in the dirt
– More shifty than most TEs are
– Quick twitch
– In game speed
– Holding onto the ball
– Could have shown better at the Combine
Summary: Not many holes in this man’s game, except the hands with 10 drops on the year. When looking at the tape, one thing that is apparent is that Clive Walford makes players around him better. Often on RB Duke Johnson’s long runs, he was running in the direction of Walford, and bursts through a hole he helped create. Literally almost every tape of him in run blocking, he is pushing the defender backwards, taking him out of the play. What an advantage, to run against 10 defensive guys instead of 11 on every play. There are times where safeties and LBs will cheat toward Walford to try to blanket him, leaving one on one coverage with a play making WR, or leaving a wide out all alone. Walford looks like a first round talent. But if he is valued more for his blocking skills and less for his hands, that sort of makes him a TE2 on someone’s team, not really an every down option. Is that a player you want to take with the first round pick? If so, will he make it down the board to #26? Consider that TE loving Gary Kubiak and the Denver Broncos, who could lose Julius Thomas to free agency, are picking at #22.
Mike was born on the Eastern Shore, raised in Finksburg, and currently resides in Parkville. In 2009, Mike graduated from the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland. Mike became a Baltimore City Fire Fighter in late 2010. Mike has appeared as a guest on Q1370, and FOX45. Now a Sr. Ravens Analyst for BSL, he can be reached at [email protected]