The Dallas Cowboys used their only pick in the sixth round (#186 overall) to draft tight end James Hanna from Oklahoma. The Cowboys let Martellus Bennett go in the offseason and needed another tight end to go with Jason Witten and John Phillips. The man they got is James Hanna.
Possesses average size for the position, but can coil up into his stance, keep his pad level down and fire off the football. Exhibits solid first step quickness down the seam and good speed. Tends to gear down when asked to get out of his breaks, but can be a sharper route runner in time. Possesses good range when asked to go get the football, but at times will struggle to pluck off his frame. Looks natural running down the seam and making plays on the throw.
Is a coordinated run/pass blocker. Understands angles, extends his arms well and showcases the ability to bend and keep his pad level under him. Slides his feet well through the play and routinely can seal defensive ends from the football and stay engaged.
Positives -- Has a nose for the end zone; seven of his 18 receptions in 2010 went for touchdowns... Excellent body control; makes impossible catches that just drop your jaw... Will provide a team with a good red zone target; makes himself bigger than the nearly 6'4" that he is... A nightmare for most safeties to tackle; always looking to run over a smaller player and he can do it well... Pretty athletic but especially in the air; has shown the ability to go up and over players at full speed and make surreal catches... Posted some of the best numbers for tight ends at the combine; including a 4.49-40 and a 36½" vertical leap... Knows how to run good routes; was used as a QBs' safety valve and can bail them out of tough situations... May have to start out on special teams but should find a role in the league... Production rose each year in college and he hasn't hit his full potential yet.
Negatives -- Doesn't play remotely close to his 4.49-40 time; caught a lot of people by surprise when he posted that... Seems afraid to go across the middle; loses his focus when he knows that he's going to get popped, developed a reputation of being soft and easy to fluster... Very limited as a blocker, only thing he can really do is a seal the edge but isn't strong enough to go one on one with any average NFL defensive lineman... Teams know that the best way to get him off his game is to jam him hard at the line of scrimmage; doesn't know how to use his hands to beat it... Can be lazy when it comes to route running; he knows what to do but it just feels that he's going through the motions at times.
Well-proportioned build. Rare straight-line speed — is able to stretch the field vertically. Flashes playmaking ability (see 76-yard touchdown vs. Oklahoma State ’10). Finds soft spots in zones. Can extend and catch away from his body. Has a 36-inch vertical jump. Can position and get in the way. Lined up in three-point stance, split out and has special-teams experience. Good character. Durable and coachable.
Lacks ideal size and bulk strength to excel in line — gets outmuscled at the point of attack. Struggles to sustain (short on grip and finishing strength). Is not nasty. Average burst and hip flex. Is a bit linear and does not sink his weight fluidly. Needs to refine route running. Has concentration drops. Limited creativity after the catch. Average instincts. Not quick-handed or a natural catcher — late adjusting to the ball.
A lean, athletic, H-Back-sized detached pass catcher, Hanna is a developmental project who needs to get stronger, develop route savvy and play more consistently. Exceptional Combine performance elevated draft status.