INDIANAPOLIS -- As a former tight end for the University of Miami, Cleveland Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski has paid close attention to the evolution of the position at the NFL level, and had a front-row seat to work with and watch one of the game’s most productive tight ends in Antonio Gates during his four years with the San Diego Chargers (2005-06 as tight ends coach; 2009-10 as assistant head coach/tight ends coach).
With Chudzinski as his position coach, Gates caught a combined total of 37 touchdowns in four seasons. Gates, a former basketball player at Kent State University, twice reached 10 touchdowns under Chudzinski, the second-highest single-season total of his NFL career.
“I think the position has grown in importance in the last 10 years,” Chudzinski said of the position on Friday at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine. “You look at the guys, and the type of guys that are coming out in college, and you’ve seen so many more athletic, receiver-types. The game’s evolved in that way; the position’s evolved in that way. You want those versatile-type guys that can do everything.
“It’s become a critical part of a lot of offenses. I’ve been fortunate to be around some tight ends that are special guys. When you have that type of guy who’s versatile -- you can split him out; you can do different things with him for your offense; he can block; he can catch; you can use him on third down; you can use him on first and second downs -- it’s a real weapon.”
In taking over as head coach of the Browns, Chudzinski will get the opportunity to work with another young tight end in third-year professional
Last fall, Cameron caught a career-best 20 passes for 226 yards and one touchdown, a five-yard pass from quarterback
“I like Jordan,” Chudzinski said. “Looking at him, I think he has a good skill set. He’s a guy that’s young and hasn’t played a lot. Getting out in the course of meetings and getting out to the practice field, we’ll be able to make better determinations on him. I look forward to getting him out there and working with him. Jon Embree’s our tight ends coach and he has a lot of experience working with some great players, as well as playing tight end himself. I’m excited about it.”