About the Author
Recent posts by Nolan Nawrocki
Notes: Entered Iowa as a receiver in 2003 and converted to tight end his second year, finishing his Hawkeyes' career with 117 catches for 1,467 yards and 10 TDs in two years as a starter. Was drafted in the fourth round in 2007 when Bills GM Buddy Nix served as the assistant GM. Spent two years with the Chargers on the fringe of the roster buried behind Antonio Gates before being waived and claimed by the Cowboys. Was waived during final cuts in 2008 and re-signed to the practice squad, working behind all-Pro Jason Witten and Martellus Bennett before being claimed by the Giants in late December' 08. Was waived by the Giants on final cutdown in '09 and re-signed to the Cowboys' practice squad. Was activated to the 53-man roster in Week Three and cut on Dec. 1, 2010. Signed with the Bills the next day, played in the final four games and started one, making the first catch of his career for an eight-yard gain. In the most extensive action of his career, caught 9-89-4 through three games in 2011 with the Bills.
Positives: Is sneaky-fast and can create some separation with his excellent length. Very smart. Crafty route-runner — runs precise routes and knows where to settle in coverage. Has dependable hands and natural receiving skills — does not let the ball into his body. Very good hand-eye coordination. Outstanding concentration in traffic — is trustworthy on third downs. Can take a hit and secure the ball while blanketed by coverage. Competes as a blocker and works to sustain. Persistent and determined with very solid character.
Negatives: Not a strong or physical blocker and is very lightly used in the run game (where fellow Bills TE David Martin is best). Can be overpowered and outleveraged by edge speed and power (see Chiefs game when planted three yards in the backfield by Tamba Hali) — struggles to sink his hips and play with good pad level. Is not explosive off the ball and runs upright with limited burst at the top of his routes. Is not elusive after the catch and cannot shake defenders in the open field. Does not run with authority or break many tackles. Tends to clutch and grab — flagged for holding against New England. Has limited playing experience and marginal career production.
Summary: A very long-limbed, rangy, dependable pass-catcher, Chandler competes as a blocker, but noticeably struggles in protection (too tall and underpowered) and is at his best in the short-to-intermediate receiving game, where he has proven to be very reliable running option routes. A functional contributor most ideally suited for a situational pass-catching role, Chandler has emerged as a productive red-zone target (four TDs in three games) and is garnering more respect for coming through in the clutch.