He's immediately noticeable on the practice field and in the locker room. C.J. Fiedorowicz stands 6-5 and weighs in at 265. He can block and catch and will be the largest legitimate pass catching threat at tight end in team history.
Two weeks ago, the Texans saw the third round of the NFL draft arrive and grabbed the Iowa tight end. Had they taken Louis Nix III there, no one would have batted an eye. Nix had 'first round value' according to the pundits.
Had they grabbed Tom Savage there, people would have understood. Houston wanted a quarterback, Jimmy Garappolo was gone, and waiting on Savage looked like a bit of a gamble (that ultimately paid off).
But they took Fiedorowicz, a former high school basketball career scoring champion (Johnsburg, Ill) who caught 91 balls at Iowa. The Hawkeye passing attack resides near the bottom of the Big Ten stats, giving a little more protein to Fiedorowicz's numbers.
The Texans already had Garrett Graham and Ryan Griffin in the stable. And they signed Zach Potter this off season. Clearly they saw something special enough to add to a position group that seemed healthier than some of the others.
Bill O'Brien, tight ends coach John Perry and offensive line coach Paul Dunn went to Iowa City to work him out prior to the draft. They were impressed with him on and off the field. "In the meeting room with him, he could explain what they were doing there at Iowa when we watched film and then obviously when we watched tape of him last year, we saw a guy that got better and better as the year went on." O'Brien said.
O'Brien calls Fiedorowicz a "Y" tight end, meaning he's a blocker who can run short and intermediate routes. Fiedorowicz prides himself on multi-tasking. "I came in as a duel threat guy and I feel like I do have the tools to show that. I'm going to do everything I can…to prove that I'm a duel threat tight end. I think that is important in the NFL nowadays."
In O'Brien's last year as offensive coordinator in New England, tight ends and backs caught 60% of Tom Brady's passes. Add that number to Arian Foster's comments to Fox 26 that he's been told he'll be used more as a receiver and you can perhaps forecast a productive year through the air for the non-wide receivers.