The Los Angeles Rams selected South Carolina State product tight end Temarrick Hemingway in the sixth round (177th overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft. Measuring at 6’5” and 244 lbs., Hemingway seems to be a great choice for depth at the tight end position.
Hemingway landed in the middle of the pack at the 2016 NFL Combine. He displayed decent speed with a 4.71 40-yard dash (second-best of those recorded) and a 6.88 cone drill, but he recorded an average bench press (18 reps). Along with Hemingway’s smaller measurables, strength may be an issue. In truth, Hemingway’s stature is more suited for a wide receiver. All things considered, drafting Hemingway could bode well for the Rams, because the receiving corps needed help – lots of help.
Hemingway showed flashes of potential on tape, exhibiting natural pass-catching ability. He can pluck the ball out of the air, in traffic, or wrestle the ball away from a defender, which sets him apart as a potential playmaker in the endzone. His strengths can help a struggling Rams offense that ranked 23rd in the league in redzone conversions (52%). More specific to the Rams’ redzone struggle, they released former tight end Jared Cook, who was the team’s leading threat inside the 20-yard two years ago, but he fizzled last season zero touchdowns. The Rams will be looking for someone to fill the void in production with the presence of Hemingway and his fellow draftee, Tyler Higbee.
Hemingway also exhibited great yards-after-catch (YAC) potential. He used his athleticism to spin and drag opposing defenders with ease in open space. Although his production was minimal at South Carolina State, that is likely due to the poor play of the offense as a whole. South Carolina totaled an underwhelming 3,934 yards total offense, with 2,261 of those yards coming through the air, and in a weaker MEAC Conference. That’s definitely not the best situation for the potential NFL contributor.
Despite his potential, there are also some big holes in Hemingway’s game. Hemingway is not the cleanest route-runner, and needs to improve his technique coming off the ball. Technique is essential to gaining the upper hand as a tight end, especially when trying to create separation. Hemingway ability to adjusting in open field could also be cause for concern. The system Hemingway played in, like most modern college systems does not run option routes. Hemingway will have problems diagnosing his best course of action.
Fortunately, Hemingway will have the proverbial wunderkind of the quick release offense in Jared Goff. The No. 1 overall pick coming out of the University of California could bridge the gap with Hemingway. Rookie quarterbacks tend to lean on their tight ends as safety blankets, so at this point Hemingway has a real shot at making the Rams squad. That said, he will more than likely have to pay his dues and prove his worth on special teams. Hopefully, Hemingway adjusts to Fisherball cleanly and showcases his potential sooner rather than later.