Every time I write about tight ends, there is one common statement that runs throughout the article. You simply never know, from week to week, who may emerge and have a big week. It’s impossible to guess, because there always seems to be an unknown or unheralded player putting together a two touchdown day. It’s almost a matter of luck, unless you have one of the elite options.
This preseason, there is already a name that is surfacing to potential be a shocking performer. The Rams’ rookie tight end, Michael Hoomanawanui, has erupted to lead the team with 8 catches, 112 yards and 2 TD.
He had his biggest day this past week, in the third preseason game. He had four catches for 53 yards and two touchdowns, showing off a budding rapport with fellow rookie Sam Bradford. Considering how poor the offense could be, having a safety valve that you are comfortable with can go a long way.
It’s no guarantee that Bradford starts the season as the starting QB, but it would appear like it’s only a matter of time. The Rams’ are going to want to surround him with a safety valve and Hoomanawanui is looking to be that option.
Drafted in the fifth round, Hoomanawanui is 6’4″, 264 pounds. That certainly makes him a primary target in the red zone, at the least.
He also has a good chance of emerging as the starter for Week 1, if not soon after. The other tight ends on the roster include Billy Bajema (15 career receptions and better known for his blocking) and Daniel Fells (28 career receptions and is currently nursing a knee injury). The bottom line is, Hoomanawanui has as much chance as anyone to make an impact in St. Louis.
Before you judge Hoomanawanui on his college numbers (40 receptions, 490 yards and 4 TD over his career), keep in mind that Illinois was not an offense that was very tight end-centric. In the NFL, it’s a much different ballgame.
While I wouldn’t draft him outside of the deepest of formats, unless you have one of the elite TE he is certainly worth monitoring over the first week or two. If he gains the starting job and produces, you are going to want to scoop him up as your reserve. He certainly appears to have the potential to pay dividends before long.
What are your thoughts of Hoomanawanui? Could he prove fantasy viable? How good do you think he could be?
Make sure to check out Rotoprofessor’s 2010 rankings:
Also, make sure to check out our recent rookie rankings: