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It’s Sean Culkin’s last chance to prove himself. Can he?

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NCAA Football: SEC Media Day Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Culkin

6’6, 245, Sr.

Indian Rocks Beach, FL
2015: 26 targets, 16 catches (62%), 139 yards (5.3 per target), 1 TD
2014: 45 targets, 20 catches (44%), 174 yards (3.9 per target), 1 TD
2013: 2 targets, 1 catch (50%), 6 yards (3.0 per target)

davidcmorrison: The question I’ve been asking since I got to Columbia — one that has yet to be answered in any even near-satisfactory fashion — is “so ... what’s the deal with the tight ends?”

In 2013, they barely got used. In 2014, they were mostly used split wide. In 2015, Josh Henson shaded in more in-line and backfield formations for his tight end. This spring, all we kept hearing was, “Oh, the tight ends are going to be used differently. You’ll see!”

Differently, how?

Well, playing more in-line, in the backfield, being extra blockers, you know, those kinds of things.

Oh, you mean like Henson tried about 45 percent of the time last year?

I’m still not convinced we’re going to see some sort of TIGHT END REVOLUTION under Josh Heupel this season. If we do, though, Culkin and Jason Reese will be the ones to lead it.

They have the most experience and, at this very second, are the most physically equipped to embody all the pass-catching/route-running/run-blocking/pass-catching duties true tight ends need to have in order to be difference makers.

Oscar Gamble: Sean Culkin’s reputation is all over the board. To some he’s a legit NFL prospect at tight end, and to others he shouldn’t even be a starter. I’m somewhere in between because while I think he has better hands than some give him credit for, I think he lacks play-making ability and is at best an average blocker.

Pboggs: Culkin is the type of tight end that will do almost everything you ask him at a decent level. Whether its blocking or catching, I have never been overwhelmed with his performances to think he is a next-level player. I want him to be great, but he has not shown the “it” factor on the field yet. Hopefully Heupel and Finley can bring out more play making ability in Culkin for his last season.

Sam Snelling: The impact of a guy like Culkin and, for that matter, any of the tight ends, will come down to how much the new offensive coordinator decides to use them. Culkin has shown the ability to be a solid blocker, and at times has shown he can make a play in the passing game, but so far he hasn’t done it with the amount of consistency you’d want.

Perhaps a more consistent performance from his quarterback and a semi-consistent offense will help Culkin show off a little of what he can do, as I’ve heard the pro scouts like quite a bit about Culkin. He just needs to show it all to Mizzou fans.

TheRonDavis: If Sean Culkin can just take that next step, he can be Drew Lock’s security blanket. He doesn’t need to be Chase Coffman, but he can be a difference maker on the field. The tight ends haven’t been used much in recent years, but it’s possible Josh Heupel can make the position a big factor in the office. Plus, I have a feeling Joe Jon Finley is going to be a really good coach.

Bill C.: I like “security blanket.” Drew Lock had no such thing last year. If the tight ends can improve at least a little, and if Chris Black and the slot receivers can provide more of an efficiency threat, Mizzou can do a much better job of staying on schedule.

I’m just asking for a little bit of improvement here. A true late-career breakthrough doesn’t usually happen, and considering the opportunity involved last year -- someone, please carry this offense! anybody! -- I think we saw that Culkin, Reese, and company aren’t going to suddenly play at an all-conference level. But we’ve seen upside in spurts, and I just want to see a few more spurts.

Sean Culkin Derrick Forsythe (Rock M Nation)