C.J. Fiedorowicz has been a tight end for Iowa, but looks the part of an extra offensive lineman. In fact, he is not far off from being the same size as former Hawkeye standout lineman Eric Steinbach. Fiedorowicz has been brought up like a lineman under Kirk Ferentz and has really embraced that part of his game, helping to power the running game. The team was not able to fully utilize his receiving abilities but he certainly showed flashes of what he could do.
For the NFL, Fiedorowicz is the prototype blocking tight end but with potential to do more. At worst, a team should be able to get a great extension of the offensive line, but if he can continue to get better and flourish as a receiving threat, he goes from a great cog in an offense to an impact player that can make a huge difference. Teams will have to project some of that ability based on workouts and tape as well as a nice showing at the Senior Bowl, but there is definitely more ability to be utilized at the next level. While it is unlikely to goes that high because of the nature of the position, Fiedorowicz warrants going in the top 75. He could be a much better pro than he was a collegiate player with the right team.
Vitals & Build
Fiedorowicz measured 6’5” 265lbs with 33” arms and 10 ¼” hands at the scouting combine. He is huge but he is remarkably lean. Fiedorowicz is big, but he’s not carrying much if any extra weight in terms of fat. His burst and straight line speed are good and while his short area quickness can be inconsistent at times, he can be impressive in how he operates athletically. Fiedorowicz does have plenty of room to continue adding strength and there is a good amount of potential but much of what he can do to really improve athletically is eliminating inconsistency in his movements.
Route Running & Technique
Fiedorowicz has experience lining up inline as well as in the slot. He is more polished coming out of a three-point stance than he is standing up. There are too many times where he will come off of the snap with a hop step into what he wants to do, which makes him look slower and gives away the fact that he is run blocking.
He seems more comfortable with his hand in the ground because he has more experience there but it also reduces the amount of space opponents have to operate. When he is blocking, they have less room to operate and he can go harder at them whereas when he is out in space, he is more conscious of being deliberate to not only land the block but in the angle he takes.
Going out for passes or blocking, Fiedorowicz is aggressive and comes off of the line fast when he releases with his hand in the dirt. Because he is such a blocking threat, his athleticism is actually more impressive because opponents will brace for impact, so he can catch them flat footed when he goes up the field.
Fiedorowicz has an above average burst anyway, but that hesitation at times from opponents can create quick separation. His statistics do not show it, but Fiedorowicz can stretch the field, run down the seam and be a threat between the second and third level of the defense. He has also has success planting his foot in the ground and running out or flag routes behind defenders.
On quick twitch routes, Fiedorowicz is inconsistent. There are times when he can plant his foot in ground, either stop in space or get to a spot on the field, and be an easy target for his quarterback. Fiedorowicz is able to use his body effectively to shield out opponents, which always makes him look open. However, there are plenty of examples where he will try to make that quick move and just looks out of control or is just not smooth. More work and development with these routes should allow him to get better. Some of this is caused by the fact that Fiedorowicz has simply not been asked to run as many routes as some of the other tight ends in this class.
While some might regard Fiedorowicz as simply a blocking tight end who can be a threat on the goal line, he shows a good amount of upside and potential viability as a receiving threat who can be a tough matchup and move the chains.
Fiedorowicz has a huge potential catch radius and inconsistent quarterback play has not really allowed him to show off what he could do. In fact, inaccurate passes have sort of sold Fiedorowicz short on how much reach he does have.
Fiedorowicz has shown solid, strong hands and he has been able to reach for passes above his head and away from his body, but he just needs more and more reps to get more comfortable in that aspect. He has not had a problem with drops, but he has not really been allowed to really blossom in that part of his game either.
Fiedorowicz has the ability to go up and get the ball, but has not had many opportunities to show it off. The one area where Fiedorowicz does a nice job is using his body and length to shield opponents from the football, making it incredibly frustrating for opponents to try to cover him or make plays on the football.
Run After Catch
Fiedorowicz has not really had much opportunity to show off his ability after the catch. He looks the part of a lumbering tight end, but because of the offense he has been in, he tends to catch the ball and go down relatively quickly. This is due to the fact that he is either getting the ball in traffic or down by the goal line.
His athleticism suggests he could do more, but has been able to showcase it. If he can add that element in the NFL, he becomes a full service threat as a receiver.
This is where Fiedorowicz has earned his living at Iowa and how he has stood out in spite of the team’s lack of success. Coming from an inline position, Fiedorowicz really functions as a nice extension of the offensive line. On the field, he looks like he could be mistaken for another lineman and he plays with that kind of nasty streak.
He does a nice job of working his feet not only to drive when he is engaged but working his position to maximize the blocking angle he has. Fiedorowicz can get behind his pads and maximize his strength, especially when he can hit with a rising blow. He has shown he can drive opponents off of the ball and he can bring a good deal of force when he blocks down.
Fiedorowicz is a little more careful when it comes to operating from a slot position where he has to work more in space. In what appears to be an understanding of how strong he is, he is far more concerned with making the block and working himself in position, content to shield the opponent from the play.
Fiedorowicz is not only effective but can dominate at times as long as his pad level is right and his base is wide. At times, he can drift and get too tall, which opens himself to get beaten. Nevertheless, his natural ballast allows him to cover up for mistakes at times. Fiedorowicz has benefited from learning in the Iowa system and being trained like an offensive lineman and he should only continue to get better as he goes into the NFL.
The best fit for Fiedorowicz is in a system that wants to use a lot of tight ends. Whether it be in a traditional two tight end set or overloading a side or a more balanced look, the more ways a team can use Fiedorowicz, the better. For teams that want to an extension of the offensive line rather than a fullback, Fiedorowicz can give them options as far as a blocker, but he does have the ability to capitalize on play action fakes and make some plays.
Fiedorowicz has the potential to be a true top threat as a tight end in the Mark Bavaro mold of a tight end, but with so many teams that like to lead with a joker tight end, he can be the perfect counterpart to give a team balanced.
Fiedorowicz is similar to Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs in terms of the style of tight end he plays. Kelce was a great blocker coming out of Cincinnati but the team was far more able to take advantage of his ability as a receiver. Fiedorowicz has that kind of ability, but needs to be put in a situation where it can be allowed to blossom. Kelce had some off field issues that hurt him or he might have gone earlier and Fiedorowicz does not appear to have anything that would hurt him from that standpoint.
Fiedorowicz is a terrific blocker and the prototype blocking tight end, he shows the skillset and athleticism to do more. Circumstances that were out of his control may have hidden what he can do as a receiving threat, but put in a good situation that can help him improve that part of his game, he has the potential to be a full service impact tight end. As a result, Fiedorowicz warrants a top 75 pick, but may not go that high due to the perception of the position by teams.
Some of the film used in this scouting breakdown was provided by the good folks at draftbreakdown.com