By Christopher Jason
Position: Tight end School: Miami (FL) Height: 6-foot-4 Weight: 251 pounds Clive Walford is a solid, all-around tight end prospect who can bring stability on all three downs, to a team who needs a player at his position. He has good athleticism for his size, jumping 35 inches in the vertical jump, running a 4.79 40-yard dash and leaping 120 inches in the broad jump at the 2015 NFL Combine. At Miami, Walford was deployed all around the field to create mismatches against opposing defenses. He was highly productive as a pass catcher and possesses the traits that would translate to the next level. He is not an elite route runner but does well in the seam and has inconsistent, yet respectable hands. He is one of those players who makes a tough catch in traffic, then follows it with an easy drop. He uses his size very well, boxing out defenders and high pointing the football in traffic. Walford is very tough to bring down after the catch and fights for every yard, sometimes dragging defenders. He does not have great speed or quickness but he is fluid for his size and looks very comfortable in his body. When comparing his junior season to his senior season, the Miami product has really improved as a run blocker. He comes off the ball quick and gets good leverage on his opponent. He is physical and as a senior, he seemed to take more pride in his blocking. He is not a road grater by any means but he is a three-down tight end prospect who will only improve as a blocker with better coaching in the NFL. Overall, Walford is an all-around, day-two prospect who will have a long NFL career. He has the attributes for today’s pass first NFL and he is also physical enough in the run game to stay on the field on running downs. Where would he fit in New Orleans? With the surprising departure of All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham, the Saints suddenly have a glaring need at tight end. The dependable, yet aging Benjamin Watson can still play at a serviceable level but they need to inject youth and athleticism at the position. Insert Walford, who may never become a game-changer like Graham (very big shoes to fill), but he will be a very good, all-around tight end. Walford can play in-line tight end, h-back and he is athletic enough to split out wide or line up in the slot. He is solid in the run game and would inject some physicality into the tight end position. Walford, a former high school basketball star, would give Drew Brees a solid red zone target, as he uses his size, long arms and big hands to make plays in traffic. It is not fair to think that Walford would come in and be Jimmy Graham, but he possesses the tools to make plays in the passing game and he is a very capable run blocker. Where could the Saints draft him? In this barren tight end class, the former Hurricane is the clear number two tight end prospect. He should be there when the Saints select in the second round at pick number 44. Thus, if Walford is available, New Orleans could pull the trigger on him.