Thomas Duarte reminds me of one of the NFL's young and upcoming stars. The player I think he reminds me of is Jordan Reed, the tight end for the Washington Redskins. It seems that every NFL team now has one of these Flex TE’s that live in the slot and present problems to defenses. Reed and Duarte almost have identical athletic webs.
Duarte is never going to play as an inline tight end, and this is okay because the screen game is used to supplement a lot of teams' run games. This is especially true in Gase’s offense.
Duarte is capable at blocking for screens and has the athleticism to even be used as a receiver in screens. I also like Duarte in the slot because he has the ability to stretch the seam with his size and speed. He also showed the ability to make tough catches.
Duarte will offer a big bodied target to make those catches over the middle. Here Duarte runs down the gauntlet and gets smacked but still is able to make a catch.
One of Tannehill’s best throws are ones to the seam. Duarte’s athleticism allows him the ability to stretch the seam. On this clip you can see how he can get up field and find a zone in the seam quickly. Duarte has enough speed to rack up YAC, or yards after catch.
An inline blocking tight end is not going to be Duarte’s role in the NFL. He should never be asked to run block or pass protect against defensive linemen or most linebackers.
But he does have the ability - or at the very least the willingness - to run block and screen block against space players like small linemen and defensive backs. The ability to block is displayed on this play.
Duarte shows his ability to make tough catches with defenders draped all over him. Here Duarte goes over the middle. He has a defender whose arms are wrapped around him. Duarte shows strong hands and focus to make the tough catch and to make a much easier third down for the offense.
Duarte shows his inner Thomas the Tank engine on this play. Duarte catches the ball and breaks the tackles or carries seven defenders on this play. He is able to gain 15 yards after first contact.
Duarte shows his ability to cleanly catch the ball at its highest point. He also displays the ability to separate from the defense with his speed on this play.
This film review was done by Matthew Knowles. Follow him on Twitter: @blueflamespcl
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