Brandon Pettigrew #87 TE
Height: 6-5 Weight: 278 Age: 32
Born: 2/23/1985 Tyler , TX
College: Oklahoma State
Experience: 8th season
High School: Robert E. Lee HS [Tyler, TX]
Selected By: Detroit Lions
Pick (Overall): 20 (20)
Regarded by many as the most complete tight end in the 2009 NFL Draft, Pettigrew has not only proven to be a clutch short-area receiver, but an outstanding blocker. A physical open-field runner, he has gained more than 40 percent of his yardage after the catch. He has also shown his pedigree as a pass catcher, becoming the first tight end in school history to amass more than 100 receptions (112) in a career.
Playing for a team known more for its running game, Pettigrew is likely to become just the second tight end in school history to hear his name called in the first round of the draft, joining Reuben Gant (1974, Buffalo).
Playing in the Big 12 Conference, a league that has produced numerous NFL tight ends, many opposing coaches agree that Pettigrew is that rare breed with unlimited potential, regarding him as the best product to play that position since the league expanded from eight teams in 1996. Ranked ninth overall on the school's receiving yardage record list with 1,450, Pettigrew averaged more than 54 knockdown blocks per season for the Cowboys.
Pettigrew was one of three players from Robert E. Lee High School to earn All-State honors in 2003. Despite playing primarily as a blocker, he was rated as the best tight end in Texas by numerous recruiting services. The All-District and All-East Texas choice also competed on the defensive line.
Pettigrew enrolled at Oklahoma State in 2004, spending the season as a red-shirt after turning down offers from Texas A&M, Texas Christian, Southern Methodist and Arkansas.
In 2005, he started nine games, including the last seven, for the Cowboys. He gained 128 yards with a touchdown on 11 catches (11.6 avg). He delivered 30 knockdowns and also recorded a solo tackle.
The following season, Pettigrew was firmly entrenched as the team's starting tight end, leading the squad with eight touchdown-resulting blocks. He finished third on the team with 24 receptions, gaining 310 yards (12.9 avg) with four touchdowns. He also excelled on special teams, recording six tackles (3 solos) and recovered a fumble.
As a junior, Pettigrew captured All-Big 12 Conference honors. He was credited 540 yards and four scores on 35 receptions (15.4 avg), third-best on the team. He paced the league's tight ends with 10 touchdown-resulting blocks and also made a solo tackle.
Off-field issues occupied most of Pettigrew's 2008 spring and summer, and he was further hampered by a high ankle sprain early in the campaign that would sideline him for three games. He was still named a finalist for the Mackey Award, given to the nation's top tight end. He snared a career-high 42 passes, ranking second on the squad. He totaled 472 yards (11.2 avg) with four touchdowns, as he posted 43 knockdowns and two solo tackles, but failed to score for the first time during his collegiate career.
With professional scouts regularly visiting Oklahoma State leading up to the draft, OSU tight ends coach Doug Meacham noted, "Brandon is a classic tight end. In the era of increasingly athletic players and spread offenses, the college tight end has become more of an oversized receiver. But not in Stillwater, where even in the spread, they run the ball nearly 50 times a game. In today's game, you see a lot of tight ends that split out a majority of the time. Brandon can go down inside and grind with the best of 'em, then he can get out and mismatch linebackers or safeties. He's an every-down guy.
"Once last season, Pettigrew came to the sidelines begging his coaches to call a play to his side of the field. A running play. That's what makes him special. Plenty of tight ends will beg for the ball, trying to get their receiving numbers up. But Pettigrew wants to win, whether he's scoring touchdowns or opening holes for others to score them."
Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Trooper Taylor said, "With his 6-foot-6, 265-pound frame, athletic ability and soft hands, Pettigrew would have a future in the NFL. His brutally physical blocking makes him a likely first-round draft choice. I've had tight ends that like to catch and not block, and ones that could block, but couldn't catch. But I've never had the combination like this. Whatever NFL team takes him is going to have them a special gem."