Being likened to Rob Gronkowski puts pressure on you to be great away. However, Adam Shaheen isn’t quite at his level. Yet.
The tight end out of Ashland was selected by the Chicago Bears in the second round of this year's NFL Draft. Coming into the draft, he was treated as a high-upside prospect who would likely take some time to adjust to the NFL. As made apparent by the rest of their picks, the Bears decided to bet on upside.
When a prospect comes from a small school, one would hope that that player dominated the competition. And dominate Shaheen did: he had 57 receptions, 867 receiving yards and a school record-breaking 16 touchdowns last season. The previous year, he had 70 receptions, 803 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. His consistent production jumped off the page right away for NFL teams.
Although his production was very impressive, it was his size and athleticism that really stood out. At 6'6" and 278 pounds, he has an incredible frame that even dwarves many NFL tight ends, so it's no surprise that he looked like a god amongst men playing Division II ball. He displayed great breakaway speed on tape, as made evident by his 4.79 40-yard dash. He has smooth hands and good shiftiness for his size.
Despite being close to the size of an offensive tackle, Shaheen wasn’t all that impressive as a blocker in college. Considering that the level of competition he will face this year is a huge step above the talent he faced at Ashland, that will have to change. He’s a bit raw and stiff when he runs routes, as well. His size, hands and athleticism alone will make him a dangerous receiving threat, but improving his route running will take him to that next level.
Shaheen likely won't start right away for the Bears. However, he can become a star single-back tight end for them down the line.
Age: 23 years old
Weight: 278 pounds
Contract and salary cap
According to Spotrac, Shaheen is in the first year of a four-year, $5,910,537 contract. He will be receiving a base salary of $465,000 this year, with a bonus of $609,644. This season, he will have a cap hit of $1,074,643. In the scenario in which he gets cut, there will be $3,172,234 in dead cap.
Reason for improvement in 2017
Shaheen is arguably the biggest freak of nature the Bears have on their roster at the moment. They have nobody else with his combination of monster size and athleticism, especially on offense. If he can iron out a few kinks in his game (and if a few things fall his way), then he could end up starting for the majority of the year.
Reason for regression in 2017
Although Shaheen is a fantastic athlete, he faces stiff competition at the tight end spot. Before Zach Miller got hurt last year, he looked like one of the league's better tight ends. Dion Sims is also a talented tight end who is arguably the team's best blocker at the position.
A lot of small-school players tend to take some time to adjust to the NFL game. Except Shaheen to fall under that category.
Final roster odds
Shaheen will be on the 53-man roster this season. There's no way Chicago would get rid of such a high draft pick who has as much potential as he does.
Don't expect him to see a ton of playing time to start off the year. However, he could end up seeing more and more snaps as the 2017 season progresses.