Photo of A.J. Derby
Drafted By: Patriots

Combine Results

Grade
5.13 ?
  • 15 REPS
    Top Performer

Draft Analysis:

Is it any surprise Bill Belichick adds another tight end to his roster? Sasser is a raw athlete who converted from linebacker to quarterback and now to tight end. He is creative with the ball in his hands but there is work to be done from the snap to the catch. --Mark Dulgerian

  • 6'4" Height
  • 30 1/2" Arm Length
  • 255LBS. Weight
  • 9 1/2" Hands

Overview

2014: Played in 11 games with seven starts. Did not play in final two games of season against Missouri and

Texas due to a knee injury. 2013: Played in seven games with one start. Finished season 19-36, 178 yards and 1 TD. 2012 (Coffeyville CC): Threw for 1,936 yards and 22 TDs while leading team to Region IV semifinals. 2011 (Iowa): Played in nine games and completed 3 passes for 30 yards. 2010 (Iowa): Redshirted.


Pro Day Results


40-yard dash: 4.69 and 4.75 seconds
20-yard short shuttle: 4.51 seconds
Three-cone drill: 6.99 seconds

Analysis

Strengths

Big, physical and fast. Athletic in space with ability to create some separation out of breaks. Has speed after catch in open field. Posted impressive 54-yard touchdown catch and run against Alabama secondary that struggled to catch him. Can line up all over the field. Natural pass-catcher. Had only one drop during 2014 season. Showed willingness to catch throws over the middle and take the punishment. Unique perspective after playing quarterback and linebacker before move to tight end. Ability to add roster depth at two positions as emergency quarterback. Comes from football bloodlines. Father and uncle had stops in the NFL and his brother lettered at Iowa.

Weaknesses

Has only one year of tight end experience. Routes have very little polish to them. He needs time to learn the nuances of position. Run blocking very much a work in progress. Uses poor hand placement and fails to sustain blocks when in-line. Balance at contact needs to improve when blocking in spaces. Has habit of using one rather than two hands for difficult catches. Was unable to play in final game (Texas Bowl) due to knee injury and continues to heal.

Draft Projection

Round 5 or 6

NFL Comparison

Vance McDonald

Bottom Line

Despite spending only one season at tight end, has the size and tools to become a move tight end who creates matchup issues for defenses. His draft value could be held down due to his lack of experience and below average in-line blocking, but combination of size and play speed should be intriguing to NFL teams.
-Lance Zierlein
C
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99 Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49 Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99 Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49 NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19 Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00 50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99 Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74 Chance to be in an NFL training camp
No Grade Likely needs time in developmental league.

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