Rob Blanchflower Selected By Pittsburgh Steelers In 2014 NFL Draft
May 10, 2014
AMHERST, Mass. - UMass tight end Rob Blanchflower was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 15th pick of the 7th round of the 2014 NFL Draft on Saturday afternoon. The native of Leominster, Mass., was the 230th overall pick and became the third Minuteman to be drafted since 2010.
Pittsburgh Steelers tight ends coach James Daniel had the following to say about Blanchflower.
"Rob was a guy who we had targeted. We brought him in for a visit, and I spent a lot of time getting to know him. I think he's got a chance to be helpful for us being a part of this football team."
"He has a high level of aggression," continued Daniel. "He's a two-phase guy, which is different than a lot of the guys you have coming at you right now. We look for guys that are either going to be run blockers or they're going to be pass receivers. He's adept at both of them so that is something that interests us in him. He's playing in a multiple formation offense so that gave us a chance to look at him in a lot of things."
Blanchflower is currently listed as one of five tight ends on the Steelers roster. Daniels spoke about keeping four tight ends on the squad last year and that a role on special teams would be key in keeping more.
"I would think that would be the decision that they would make, but that will probably depend on some of the other positions. We had four guys last year, but two of them were carrying a heavy load on special teams. That is what I try to emphasize on guys, for a tight end the number of reps that you're going to get. The first two are going to get a lot of them and if three and four can do some things for the special teams that helps their chances of making the football team."
During his time at UMass, Blanchflower made a name for himself both for his skill and toughness. That attribute caught the eyes of many scouts during the 2013 campaign despite him missing six games due to injury.
Blanchflower ended his career as the all-time leader in receiving yards for a tight end at UMass with 1,164 passing legend Milt Morin. He served as team captain in 2013 and was a member of the Mackey Award Watch List which is presented to the nation's top collegiate tight end.
His career passing yards left him at No. 15 all-time at UMass, while his 109 receptions are the 8th most for a career.
Blanchflower was invited to both the Reese's Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine this past off-season.
He became the third Minuteman since 2010 to be selected in the NFL Draft. Vladimir Ducasse was UMass' second highest draft pick ever taken in the 2nd round (61st pick overall) by the New York Jets (Milt Morin, 1st rd, 1966 & Greg Landry, 1st rd, 1968 are the highest). Last year, Michael Cox was selected in the 7th round with the 253rd overall pick.
Blanchflower also adds to UMass' NFL contingent which currently features nine players on active rosters: Jeremy Cain, Michael Cox, Victor Cruz, Vladimir Ducasse, James Ihedigbo, Emil Igwenagu, Jeromy Miles, Josh Samuda, and Julian Talley.
UMass Football Draft History