40: 4.65 (Campus)
PROS: Has good, strong hands, and can make the catch in traffic. Good body control, adjusts to throw, and attacks ball in the air. Shows the sudden burst and straight-line speed to make plays. Flashes potential as a route-runner, able to separate. Makes plays after the catch because he's shifty, and shows toughness fighting for extra yards. Breaks off routes and comfortable finding open spots in the zone. Shows he's an effective lead blocker as an H-back, able to deliver blow to linebacker.
CONS: Not a true burner in terms of his speed to challenge vertically. Misses assignments when asked to block in space. Lacks pop as an inline blocker which he rarely does. Doesn't show good hand placement there and isn't able to get position. Is too easily shed by defenders out on the edge. Doesn't always secure the ball against his body when running after the catch, carrying it like a loaf of bread, making me question if ball security could become an issue.
OVERVIEW: He's a good receiver that is an undersized tight end. Led Florida in receptions, and tended to be their go-to target on offense. Finished year with 68 catches, 850 yards, and 5 scores. Catches and yards doubled his total from 2008 when he was also the starter.
NFL FORECAST: Hernandez isn't going to be an inline tight end at the next level. If he can get stronger, putting on another 10-15 pounds he might have a chance. But he'll always be considered a liability there. It's not from a lack of effort or toughness, but his size will always limit him. But he can be a successful H-back at the next level. For a team that has another tight end that can work inline as a blocker, he would be a good option to have. For an offense that will work him behind the line of scrimmage and move him out in the slot, they will have a good receiver. In the right offense, he can put up excellent production. His athleticism, hands, and speed at times will remind me of Tony Gonzalez. If he can really refine his route-running, then he could be a receiver in the same mold as Gonzalez in that he can be a matchup nightmare.
ATL FORECAST: I think Hernandez can give the Falcons exactly what Gonzalez did this past year, and would be a good player to groom behind Gonzo for at least a year. If Gonzo retired after this year, then Hernandez should be ready to step in and fill his mantle after spending a year getting tutored by Gonzo. They would not really work well in tandem, but the minute Gonzo is gone, then Hernandez would be a good continuation with comparable potential in production. Hernandez is only really about an inch and a half shorter than Gonzo right now, and like Gonzo wouldn't be much as a blocker. He'd always be a bit of a liability, but if you're catching 60-80 passes a year, no one really cares. The Falcons showed this past year willingness to split Gonzo out wide, a role that Hernandez could excel in. He might have to ride the bench for a year or two, but the minute he gets his opportunity, I would expect him to be a Pro Bowler.
VALUE: Hernandez is a first rounder but only in an offense that doesn't mind him not blocking and will put him in favorable matchups.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
BODY CONTROL: 4.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.