STRENGTHS: O'Leary's best attribute is his hands. He does not wear gloves and shows excellent hand-eye coordination and focus to consistently catch the ball away from his frame, even when defenders are draped on him. He possesses good initial quickness off the ball and is a consistent and reliable route-runner who recognizes the holes in zone coverage and settles to present a target to his quarterback.
O'Leary shows good awareness and football instincts and should be able to help his future NFL team as an H-back and move tight end. He is a functional blocker who shows good quickness and savvy to pester defenders.
WEAKNESSES: Not the massive target or speedy seam threat so en vogue in today's NFL. He does not explode out of his breaks nor does he possess the straight-line speed to keep defenders on their heels. He isn't nifty after catching the ball, struggling to make opponents miss in the open field and isn't a threat to run away from them.
He is a willing blocker, but isn't big or strong enough to handle in-line duties.
The grandson of golf legend Jack Nicklaus and a 2013 All-ACC second-team honoree, O'Leary showed why he was the top tight end recruit in the nation out of high school as a junior, compiling 33 receptions for 557 yards and seven touchdowns to be named one of three finalists for the Mackey Award.
O'Leary won the award in 2014, hauling in a career-high 48 passes for 618 yards and six scores. Unfortunately for O'Leary and his beloved Seminoles, he pulled a hamstring while warming up for the Rose Bowl and his career ended with a relative thud with just one catch for four yards in the blowout loss to Oregon.
O'Leary comes with plenty of fanfare and does a lot of the little things right. Most important, he possesses terrific hands. He is more of a complementary threat than a future superstar at the next level, however, and may still be waiting to his hear his name called as the draft reaches its third day.
10/13/2014 - The Atlantic Coast Conference had six players named to the John Mackey Award Mid-Season Watch List announced Monday by the Mackey Award Selection Committee. The total of honorees is the highest of any FBS Conference. Named to the 33-man Watch List from the ACC are Gerald Christian (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.), a senior from Louisville; David Grinnage (Newark, Del.), a sophomore from NC State; Bucky Hodges (Virginia Beach, Va.), a redshirt freshman from Virginia Tech; Nick O'Leary (Palm Beach, Fla.), a senior from Florida State; Cam Serigne (Ashburn, Va.), a redshirt freshman from Wake Forest; and Clive Walford (Belle Glade, Fla.), a senior from Miami. O'Leary, a preseason All-ACC selection, was a finalist for the 2013 Award. - ACC football