Troy Niklas

Notre Dame tight end Troy Niklas does the broad jump during February's NFL scouting combine. (Joe Robbins, Getty Images / February 22, 2014)

With Dennis Pitta and Owen Daniels signed to contracts this offseason, the Ravens are well-equipped when it comes to pass-catching tight ends.

What they don't have on the roster is a traditional blocking tight end in the mold of Notre Dame's Troy Niklas.

The draft prospect recently visited the Ravens, according to a league source. He has also visited the Buffalo Bills.

The 6-foot-6, 270-pound Niklas is a throwback tight end who operates as a punishing blocker at the line of scrimmage. He bench presses over 400 pounds. His nicknames? Hercules and Thor.

A converted outside linebacker, the California native caught 32 passes for 498 yards and five touchdowns as a junior last season before declaring for the NFL draft.

Niklas is the nephew of Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews. He started every game last season and was a semifinalist for the John Mackey award.

Niklas has run the 40-yard dash in 4.76 seconds, but he hasn't been able to run for teams this spring as he recuperates from sports hernia surgery.

At the NFL scouting combine, Niklas bench pressed 225 pounds 27 times and had a 32-inch vertical leap and a 9-6 broad jump.

He is still refining his route-running skills.

Niklas is projected as a second-round draft target, which is the grade he got from the NFL advisory committee when he sought advice on whether he should leave school.

awilson@baltsun.com
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