Not too long ago, Texas Longhorns tight end Andrew Beck nearly walked away from football entirely. Just weeks prior to the 2017 season, Beck fractured his foot yet again — this time treatment required a plate and two screws — forcing him off the field once more and prompting the Longhorns senior to contemplate whether or not it was time to call it quits.
Understandably so, as Beck’s latest injury was one that seemingly refused to allow his collegiate career to finally take off and find its footing. Beck, of course, didn’t hang the cleats up, and that’s a decision his credits to a conversation with his father, Chris.
“It was kind of corny, I loved it,” Beck said of his conversation with his father, per HookEm.com. “He told me the world is trying to crush people’s dreams every single day, don’t be the one to take it away from yourself. That will stick with me forever, and I’ll pass that down one day.”
It’s safe to say Beck reaped the rewards of his decision to return to the field after sitting out the entire 2017 season.
As a fifth-year senior in 2018, Beck entered his final season on the Forty Acres as a team captain and capped it as an All-Big 12 First-Team selection. More notably, though, fewer than two years removed from thoughts of leaving football in the rearview, Beck has developed into an NFL prospect.
What’s transpired between Beck’s final outing as a Longhorn and now, though, has transformed his NFL outlook from that of a fringe prospect to a likely Day 3 pick.
“Beck lacks high end physical tools but he’s a pretty sharp technician as a blocker,” Kyle Crabbs of TheDraftNetwork.com wrote, dubbing Back as the top tight end prospect from the East-West Shrine Game. “Beck should be a Day-3 pick in this year’s NFL Draft but don’t be surprised when he makes a 53-man roster.”
Crabbs’ praise came in early January. Two and a half months later, at Texas’ Pro Day, Beck did his draft stock more favors than maybe his film ever could, testing extremely well by recording 40-yard dash times of 4.55 and 4.63 seconds, a 4.19-second shuttle, a 34-inch vertical leap, and 24 reps on the bench press.
Elsewhere, beyond the raw numbers, Beck aimed to reveal to NFL scouts that despite collecting only 40 receptions for 440 yards, and four touchdowns at Texas — 28 receptions, 281 yards, and two touchdowns came last season — he can provide value in the passing game.
“Today, the focus for me was coming out and showing teams that I can be beneficial in the passing game and I think I did that,” Beck said of his Texas Pro Day showing.
How impactful Beck can be in the passing game is the aspect of his game that still remains largely unproven, which is to be expected from a prospect who, entering the 2018 slate, had been targeted just 20 times since making the full-time transition from linebacker to tight end. Beck does present some encouraging qualities to that end, though, as he runs routes with purpose and when he does come down with a catch, he wastes little time turning upfield and utilizing his sturdy, 6’3, 255-pound frame to fight for additional yardage.
His seemingly improved speed and agility should only help him as a receiver, as well.
Beck’s bread and butter, however, is found in his competency as a blocker. As Crabbs noted, Beck is a technically sound blocker, as he understands how to utilize hand placement to gain inside traction in both pass-rush and run-block settings, and generally speaking, Beck blocks with balance, leverage, and continually drives his feet to push defenders back.
Such is why Texas often utilized as more of an H-Back than your typical tight end, where the Longhorns relied upon the push he provides as a run blocker. With that in mind, Beck is receiving NFL interest as more of a full back with the ability to provide an additional receiving threat out of the backfield, and it’s a role he told reporters during Texas’ Pro Day that he’d be plenty comfortable with.
“I think I can come out of the backfield and catch, but I think I can also on third and short, lead up on power,” Beck said.
Though Beck isn’t exactly regarded as elite in any one regard, he does a lot of things well, and the fact that he’s largely unproven as a pass-catcher could mean there’s a decent amount of untapped potential to that end. In any case, the skill set and leadership intangibles Beck supplies has garnered interest from numerous NFL franchises, as he’s met with the Bears, Chargers, Dolphins, Packers, Broncos, Cowboys, Jets, and Falcons.
Whether it’s one of the aforementioned franchises or another, it’s now quite possible, if not likely that Beck sneaks into the back end of the draft as a Day 3 selection. If that doesn’t prove to be the case, he should have more than a few undrafted free agency options from which to choose within moments after the draft concludes.