Rob will be a 24-year old NFL rookie in 2014. Selected All-State Super 26 as a tight end and defensive end at St. John’s High School, Shrewsbury, MA, as well as being named the Central Mass D1 North Defensive MVP after his senior year. Redshirted in 2009 before starting four of 11 games in 2010, catching 21 passes for 179 yards (8.5 avg) and 3 touchdowns.
In 2011, he started eight of 11 contests as a sophomore and had 18 receptions for 208 yards (11.6 avg) and a touchdown. He had a breakout year as a junior in 2012, when he grabbed 43 passes for 464 yards (10.8 avg) and 2 touchdowns.
After missing the first three games of 2013 with an undisclosed injury, he has returned in the last two weeks and latched on to 10 passes for 58 yards (5.8avg), but no touchdowns. He is expected to be back to 100% during the month of October and is a Communications major in the classroom.
Rob is a three-plus year starter at tight end for the Minutemen. Plagued by an undisclosed injury to his lower body, he missed the opening three games of the 2013 season before returning against Vanderbilt on September 21. He has a classic TE frame with long arms, a smooth upper body and some structure to his legs. A true “Y” candidate, he is featured as an on-the-line blocker and receiver in this UMass offense.
As a blocker, he has the size to engage and occupy a defender at the point-of-attack, but enough movement skills to also be stationed as an H that can motion and pull across the formation.
As a receiver, Rob runs controlled routes and gets most of his production vs. Zone defenses. He is a one-speed athlete up the seam and does not appear to have elite quickness when trying to separate from Man coverage. He can release, read the defense, drop his weight and turn into an open hole against zones.
Rob’s best attribute might be his hands. He has a natural approach to the football and will extend them away from his body. What he lacks in suddenness will have to be made up for in pass pattern design and his ability to shield off defenders in close proximity.
For the NFL, he has a chance to earn a roster spot due to his size, hands and football instincts. He may develop over time, but as a rookie, will need to contribute in short yardage/goalline situations and on special teams to solidify his status as a backup with future potential in the league.
WHAT NFL SCOUTS WANT TO SEE IN 2013: For Rob to reach 100% health before the end of the year, show more innate toughness in his blocking and more separation quickness at the top of his routes.
-- Phil Savage, Reese's Senior Bowl Executive Director
2013 -- Vanderbilt
2012 -- Miami-OH, Akron, Central Michigan
Tuesday, September 24 (practice)