What analysts are saying about Dolphins’ sixth round pick, Elijah Higgins

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What analysts had to say about Stanford’s speedy 6-3 Elijah Higgins, the Dolphins’ sixth-round pick who was announced as a tight end after playing wide receiver in college:

▪ ESPN’s Matt Miller: “A lot of people actually think he’ll play tight end in the NFL at 6-3, 239 pounds. Ran a 4.54 in the Stanford Pro Day. Kind of that target like an Evan Engram. Can play in the slot. Can be your seam stretcher, your cover two buster. But there are some drops, some concentration drops that had to get cleaned up. He had eight the past two years. But led Stanford in receiving the past two seasons. I like him as maybe a tight end in the NFL.”

He caught 59 passes for 704 yards last season.

▪ NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein: “Draft grades for Higgins could vary depending on how teams envision using him in their offense. While teams might see him as a big possession receiver with limitations, he appears to have the necessary tools to become a dynamic F tight end with the ability to work all three levels of the field.

“Higgins has average ball skills but can run a more robust route tree than most tight ends. Also, he has the frame and technique to be an adequate run blocker in space. He might never be more than a backup at receiver but could blossom for an offense ready to plug him into two tight end sets.”

▪ ESPN’s Mel Kiper: “The Utah game caught my eye, had seven catches for 105 yards. The Cal game, had eight catches for 69 yards and a touchdown. Is he going be a tight end, H back? We’ll see when he gets to the NFL.”

▪ Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline: “Higgins is a physical specimen who flashes dominance, yet he’s rough around the edges. His lack of quickness and inability to separate through routes will hamper him as a receiver on Sundays, but his size, movement skills, and willingness to block fit perfectly as a move tight end.”

▪ NFLdraftblitz’s John Vogel notes these positives:

  • Solid speed for the position. Reportedly hit 21.5 MPH on a 56-yard touchdown catch in 2021.

  • Has some nuances down in his route running, but not a whole lot yet. Understands how to use his lean pretty effectively.

  • Has a decent release through press.

  • Very natural receiver. Excellent hands. Shows an extended catch radius, and catches well outside of his frame.

  • Shows the ability to catch well through contact and maintain focus through traffic.

  • Offers good red zone ability. Has the size to out body defenders, and has the ability to catch well enough through traffic and contact to be effective.

Among the cons, per Vogel: “He doesn’t show me anything particularly special as a route runner, but is consistently in the right spot to make the catch. It takes a few too many steps through breaks, will need to clean that up.”

The Dolphins, in the past five years, have repeatedly tried to create tight ends out of people who played other positions or sports. Jibri Blount (basketball player), Bryce Sterk (FCS defensive end), Tanner Conner (Idaho State WR) and now Elijah Higgins.