New Orleans Saints tight end Adam Trautman displayed all the qualities of a fan favorite last year.
He was a rookie. He wasn’t targeted much, but he made plays when he was. And he played behind a starter in Jared Cook who was a disappointment at times.
And while there’s nothing wrong with being a fan favorite, oftentimes those are the types of guys who, when they do finally get the opportunity to be the go-to option at their position, don’t handle the higher usage well.
Trautman, However, seems to have the capabilities in the running game and, more importantly, in the passing game to be an effective no. 1 tight end next season.
We know he’s a great run blocker.
He was by far PFF’s highest-graded run-blocking tight end last year, with an 86.9 run block grade in the regular season — next highest among 86 qualifying tight ends was Dallas Goedert at 81.0.
He can move people and help create holes to run through.
And he is great at pinning down on defensive ends on Power running plays, allowing the puller to come through and wreak havoc.
His effectiveness as a blocker ensures he’ll be in the game next year on most of those heavy packages on early downs. But what excites me is his ability as a receiver.
I talked in a pre-draft article (LINK) about how much I liked his agility and ability to get in and out of breaks. He recorded a 6.78 three-cone drill at the combine, which was by far the best among tight ends at the combine (the only one under 7.0), and was in the 97th percentile.
It shows on routes like this, where he’s lined up at tight end to the right:
He’s able to create space in short areas with that agility, and can go up and snag the ball in traffic.
And if you put a linebacker on him in man coverage, he can dice him up.
This is the same route Travis Kelce has pretty much perfected in Kansas City, destroying man coverage any time he sees it.
Not saying he’s Kelce of course, but if he can beat single coverage more times than not, that’s a huge asset to this offense that already has a lot of weapons, and is just one more thing the defense has to account for.
He didn’t see a whole lot of balls thrown his way in 2020, with only 18 targets. But he made them count.
He caught 16 of those 18 targets for 175 yards and a touchdown.
Plus, he got a few of Sean Payton’s famous random tight end screen passes that usually go to Josh Hill, and he did something with them. Unlike Hill, he can make people miss a little bit.
He had 117 of his receiving yards come after the catch and averaged 7.3 YAC per reception. He’s not the fastest guy in the world, but he’s shifty.
Ultimately, his value comes in the multiplicity the offense can utilize with his diverse skill set.
Previously, Cook and Josh Hill’s skill sets made what the offense was going to do when they were on the field a bit easier to predict. Cook was a poor blocker, and Josh Hill is a poor pass catcher for the most part, so Hill was typically in on run plays and vice versa for Cook.
But Trautman’s versatility allows them to be more unpredictable, as he’s good at everything a tight end needs to be good at to play on all downs.
Take this play for example:
They had been running with him in the game all night, and here he comes in motion on a second down late in the game as they need one first down to seal the game.
The defense bites down hard on the play fake, and he leaks out for an easy completion.
The guy is a stud and a very complete player. I know Sean Payton loves him, as he not only allows him to be more multiple with his formations, but they also traded a lot of picks to get him. And vindication never hurts.
But I’m looking forward to seeing Trautman grow into a bigger role next year, as he seems more than capable. We might’ve just seen the tip of the iceberg this past season, as far as what his ceiling is with this Saints offense.
What do you think of Adam Trautman? Let us know in the comments. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, follow us on Instagram at @SaintsCSC, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @AndrewBell_98.