The tight end is a position that is evolving. Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham made sure of that. The position is now occupied by bona fide athletes- quick, nimble specimens with soft hands, but still immovable as tree trunks.
So it is not crazy to think that Christopher Coyle can make it in the NFL.
The Houston Texans think so, at least. They signed him as an undrafted free agent shortly after the draft concluded last Saturday. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound tight end will head there with a real chance at making the roster alongside fellow Sun Devil Chris Young.
He's not big, he's actually pretty small for a tight end. He's quick, but does not possess blazing speed, even for his position. The playmaking potential has always been there, and the Texans undoubtedly saw what he did against Illinois in 2012 when he was given the opportunity.
He won't be a star, but he is an athlete. He isn't a lumbering mass running down the field, and while he may not be big enough to ever be a front-line tight end, his receiving ability his his best asset and could help both in the slot and with the deep ball.
Owen Daniels is gone from the Texans, replaced by Garrett Graham, who showed flashes of brilliance in limited time last season. It will be Graham who gets the majority of playing time, but Coyle will find himself competing with Ryan Griffin for snaps. Griffin had 19 receptions for 244 yards last season, teams usually only keep one other tight end on the roster and the Texans aren't known for running many two tight end sets so Coyle will probably be relegated to the practice squad unless, like many undrafted free agents, he can prove his worth on special teams.