While the Dolphins acquired one of the more talented players via free agency in tight end Jordan Cameron, they could certainly benefit from selecting another tight end in the draft to enhance offensive continuity. Dion Sims will likely assume the role of a traditional in-line tight end in 2015, and Jordan Cameron will get the majority of his reps on the flanks.
Former Dolphin’s tight end Charles Clay was a rare commodity in the sense that he could line up in multiple spots across the formation, as well as in the backfield. At the University of Tulsa, Clay rushed for 911 yards on 179 carries and 10 touchdowns in his career. With Clay’s defection to the division rival Buffalo Bills, the Dolphins are now devoid of a tight end with his skill-set.
Casey Pierce, tight end out of Kent State is currently projected to be taken in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft which is precisely where Clay was selected in the 2011 NFL Draft. Pierce has a very similar skill-set compared to Clay coming out of college.
Pierce played quarterback in high school where he was asked to run out of the backfield often. He’s also capable of lining up as a fullback and splitting out wide. Pierce is steadily improving as an in-line blocker and is also a more natural hands catcher of the football compared to Clay upon entering the NFL.
Pierce enjoyed a fantastic senior season as he raked in 60 receptions for 641 yards and six touchdowns. Pierce followed up his phenomenal season with a very good showing at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Pierce subsequently had a pro day that was eerily similar to Clay’s NFL Combine performance.
Pierce ran 4.76 in the 40-yard dash, 6.97 in the three-cone drill, leaped 36 ½-inches in the vertical jump and performed 19 strength reps. Clay ran 4.73 in the 40-yard dash, 7.07 in the three-cone drill, leaped 33 ½-inches in the vertical jump and performed 18 strength reps at the NFL Combine.
Pierce certainly has the skill-set and the numbers to substantiate being considered a mid-round prospect but many believe he is a late round tight end just as Clay was. Pierce is used to overcoming long odds to prove he belongs on the playing field with the best.
Pierce began his college career as a preferred walk-on at linebacker and became a scholarship athlete at the tight end position. Look for Pierce to prove himself again, but this time on the biggest stage football has to offer – the NFL.
In the interview below, Pierce discusses his leadership style, versatility, future goals and more.