Houston Texans: In Step with C.J. Fiedorowicz
As the Texans gear up for the upcoming season with OTA’s already underway and the start of mini-camps soon, let’s take a look at one of their draft picks that will make an impact on the Texans’ new offensive scheme.
That pick would be:
C.J. Fiedorowicz (TE), Iowa, Round 3, Pick 65
Colton John Fiedorowicz, the big-bodied, strong-armed, 6’5,” 265-pound tight end with a funny last name (pronounced feh-DOR-uh-wits) was to be destined to be an athlete.
A standout at just about every level he has participated in makes him the potential versatile play maker that the Texans need.
Fiedorowicz is a native of Johnsburg, Ill., a bite-sized northwest suburb of Chicago. He was a multi-sport star at Johnsburg High, receiving multiple accolades and undertaking multiple positions on both ends of the football field — in addition to his primary tight end role — as well as some stints on the special teams as well.
For his high school career, he had 183 receptions for 3,121 yards and 42 touchdowns for the Skyhawks. These numbers were all school records and ranked amongst the Top 10 in Illinois state history.
It’s also notable that he was a four-year letterman in basketball and ran some track for his alma mater — he also holds the basketball career scoring record amassing more than 1,400 points.
Barry Creviston, Fiedorowicz’s high school coach, on him going to the NFL:
Congrats to #cj Fiedorowicz and #texans You are going to be a perfect fit.
— Barry Creviston (@Crevy7) May 10, 2014
After a stellar high school career, Fiedorowicz’s phone was ringing off the hook because teams were salivating to get one of the top recruits in the country. At one point, he was in talks with Illinois, Iowa, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Wisconsin! He initially committed to Illionis but he had second thoughts and decided to sign with Iowa, where he remained throughout his college career.
For the University of Iowa, his playing time was limited until 2012, his junior year, where he started all 12 games. He followed up with a notable senior year starting 12 out of 13 games in 2013.
Fiedorowicz appeared in 38 games, catching 91 balls for 899 yards and 10 touchdowns in his career for the Hawkeyes. He also picked up tons of honors during his stay.
It has been said that Fiedorowicz uses his large frame and mighty 10 1/4″ hands effectively and is strong enough to create separation between himself and a defender. He’s also durable and can take the hits while being able to deftly block defensive ends by creating a hole for various offensive schemes.
His biggest weakness is his speed which is average at best. He is not yet quick enough at the professional level to escape defenders after making a catch. This attribute must be improved upon in order for him to be successful because tight ends this day in age in the pro leagues are very similar to wide receivers — which is what they must excel in.
Here’s what NFL Network’s Mike Mayock had to say about the Texans’ 3rd round pick:
“The Texans have been looking for a big-body tight end, and this is their guy. They want a blocker inside who can also get down the field a little bit.”
Bill O’Brien on Fiedorowicz at the Texans’ Draft Press Conference held May 9:
“We see him as a Y tight end … You could tell he was a team guy. I think anybody that plays for Kirk Ferentz has to be a team guy; he runs that type of program. And again, in the meeting room with him, he could explain what they were doing there at Iowa when we watched film and then obviously when we watched tape of him last year, we saw a guy that got better and better as the year went on. Again, we came back and reported that back to Rick (Smith) and we were fortunate enough to be able to draft him where we did and we’re excited about him.”
I fully expect to see Fiedorowicz become a focal point of the Texans’ offense immediately. As he progresses, he will be able possibly to steal some reps from Garrett Graham and Ryan Griffin to elbow his way into the rotation.
Fiedorowicz’s characteristics are extremely representative of what O’Brien wants in a tight end. His offensive scheme requires the use of multiple tight end sets so he should be used quite a bit throughout the upcoming season.
O’Brien was looking for a Rob Gronkowski and he may have been able to steal a reincarnation of him in this past draft.
He just has to work on his speed a bit — he ran the 40-yard-dash in 4.7 seconds in the NFL Combine — but there’s no reason why in the near future C.J. Fiedorowicz shouldn’t be a household name.
And Texans’ fans alike will still ask how to pronounce that said funny name until then.