2012 was a transition year for Ohio State, as it saw a new coach, and several players switching positions. One of those players was tight end turned wide receiver, Jake Stoneburner, who moved outside from the familiar place he had played up until last season. Stoneburner had a real juvenile, stupid kid stuff arrest before fall camp started last year (public urination), but was one of the senior leaders for OSU in 2012.
Although Stoneburner didn't have eye popping stats (16 catches, 269 yards, 4 TD), a lot of that was due to the inconsistent Ohio State passing game as a whole, and not necessarily because of Stoneburner's inability to adapt to the position. He's got soft hands, and his speed (4.5/4.6 40 at OSU pro day) and size (6'4", 250), make him a guy that seems perfect for a possession-type H-back, move the chains guy. Stoneburner was often also utilized as more of a decoy in the passing game than a legitimate target. He's got deceptive quickness, and if you get him the ball between the numbers, he creates mismatch problems with linebackers or nickel/dime backs, and he'll get a lot of yards after catch. Just ask Penn State:
But Stoneburner is your classic 'tweener" – not quite fast enough to be a pure WR, and not quite big enough to be a pure TE. Although he has good hands and can make difficult catches, he does have his fair share of drops. His blocking is a liability, so I don't see him as an every down tight end. His route running is just okay, and he needs to work getting separation from a defender coming off the line and when he sits down on a curl pattern.
Stoneburner did catch a pass in all four years at Ohio State, which counts for something I guess, grabbing 53 passes for 714 yards over his 4 year career, including 13 TDs. So while maybe he didn't light up box scores with consistently impressive yardage or reception counts, Stoney scored when he caught the ball almost 25% of the time. He caught 3 TD passes in the 2011 blowout of Akron, scored twice in the 2012 closer-than-anticipated win over Cal, and caught at least 2 passes in 5 different games last season. When you consider that the last two years involved either an entirely new offensive system, or the Todd Boeckman passing adventure, it isn't hard to imagine that Stoneburner might have put up a little higher numbers in a different time or program.
But overall, for someone taken at this point in the draft, Stoneburner is a guy that can contribute in a slot/H-back role. He's not an every down player yet, and needs work refining his game, but he's a good value pick with the potential to become a rather good player down the road.
Plus, he's got a great pro football name. A dude named Stoneburner isn't going to be a CPA; he's going to play football.
Matt Brown contributed to this report.