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NFL Draft 2017: Texas TE Caleb Bluiett does all the little things

Don’t blame hard-working blocker for only having two catches in 2016.

NCAA Football: Texas at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Once a defensive end, then a tight end, then a defensive end, then a tight end again, Caleb Bluiett’s path with the Texas Longhorns was been winding and unpredictable.

When he was a defensive end, he was one of the best pass rushers for Texas in 2015 before suffering a knee injury late in the season. In fact,

Then he transitioned to tight end, where he become an effective blocker whether lined up at H-back or in line with his hand on the ground.

Against Texas Tech last fall, Bluiett graded out around 90 percent in the running game, according to former offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert.

“He did a really good job,” Gilbert said. “He's just physical. He's strong, he's able to set the edge for us, come downhill on people, and it helps us obviously in our run game and our pass game as well. He's a guy that we're really excited about.”

Bluiett’s block on running back D’Onta Foreman’s shoeless 74-yard touchdown run against the Red Raiders was key, and he was also an important component of the 18-Wheeler package and extremely effective on zone running plays, rarely getting beat in that area.

And, impressively enough, Bluiett was also a big-play threat in the passing game in 2015, catching eight passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns, including a 57-yard touchdown pass against Baylor that gave Texas the early lead.

The Beaumont West Brook product was also reliable, possessing the highest catch rate on the team among players who were targeted 10 or more times that season.

Bluiett is an intriguing prospect for several reasons — he has upside as a receiver because he wasn’t targeted much at Texas, he’s a strong blocker, and he has good film at defensive end if an NFL team has a need there and wants to give him a shot on defense again.

More than that, Bluiett is also a solid athlete at 6’4 and 260 pounds, having run a 4.69 40-yard dash at the Texas Pro Day last month.

In addition to Bluiett’s blocking ability, NFL scouts should appreciate the fact that Bluiett changed positions so many times without complaining, didn’t take plays off, and played through a remarkable amount of pain late in his senior season.

He’s the type of guy that coaches can’t keep off the field even if he’s hurt and he’ll be a team player no matter where the coaches ask him to play. Or how often he gets to play. Or how often he gets the football thrown in his direction if he sticks at tight end.

There’s a chance that effective blocker known as the Weapon in high school because of his versatility will receive a call from an NFL team late in the draft, just as former Longhorns tight end Geoff Swaim did two years ago.

If not, watch out for Bluiett as an undrafted free agent with a legitimate chance of making a roster and contributing.