NFL Draft Position Rankings: TE
Top 10 Tight End prospects for the 2010 NFL Draft.
This slideshow will profile a personal top 10 ranking for Tight Ends in the upcoming 2010 NFL Draft.
After I've ranked every position, I will compile all of my 'team projections' into a complete mock draft.
No. 1: Jermaine Gresham - Oklahoma
As a tight end, Jermaine Gresham has all of the tools.
Known more as a pass catcher, Gresham still needs work in blocking, but he will likely be drafted for his receiving abilities.
Catching passes from Sam Bradford for 2 productive seasons isn't going to hurt Gresham's stock, but from all accounts, Gresham is a real-deal NFL future impact player.
Projected Round: 1st
Projected Team: Cincinnati Bengals.
I'm not 100% confident the Bangals will take him off the board, simply because Marvin Lewis isn't the biggest proponent of tight ends in the pass game.
That said, he'll likely be the best player available at the 21st pick, and may be too good to pass up. If the Bengals pass on Gresham, there are plenty of teams looking for a pass-catcher at tight end toward the end of the first round.
#2. Jimmy Graham - Miami
Given the success of converted Power Forwards to Tight Ends, Jimmy Graham being better known as a basketball player will only help his standing in the upcoming draft.
Despite his 4 seasons with the hoops program at The U, Graham had a very productive first(and only) season at TE. Of course, his skills and knowledge are very raw.
However, much like Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez before him, the ceiling for this kid is sky high.
At 6'6" and 260lbs, Graham was still able to put down a 4.53 forty time at the combine.
Vertical and Broad Jump numbers rank at the top of the draft, while his 15 reps at 225lbs, will need to be improve if he's to factor into the teams run blocking schemes.
Projected Round: 2nd
Projected Team: Miami Dolphins.
Although Joey Haynos has been on the rise with Miami, he would likely fulfill a role as the 2nd option at TE if the Phins were to draft Graham. I have been flip-flopping between the Phins at 11 or the Pats at 12.
Graham likely isn't a good enough pass/run blocker for either team. That said, with their needs for receiving tight ends, both teams will go out on a limb for a guy like Graham.
#3. Rob Gronkowski - Arizona
The only think keeping Gronkowski out of the first round is the potential for a chronic medical condition known as spinal stenosis. You can play through the condition, but it is known to be degenerative, thus, clearly decreasing his draft stock.
Gronkowski has vehemently denied this claim, but what else would someone do in his position.
Medical issues aside, Gronkowski's statistics and measurables are enough to have him at the top of the draft class for his position. Standing 6'6" 253lbs, Gronkowski has the frame to be a blocker and the skills to be a catching TE.
What makes Gronkowski attractive is the fact the he's an excellent pass/run blocker, distancing himself from a rich group of catching Tight Ends.
If Gronkowski can stay healthy, he has all the tools to become a franchise TE in the mold of Jason Witten/Heath Miller.
Projected Round: 2nd
Projected Team: New England Patriots.
As I mentioned above, these two picks(Jimmy Graham) could flip flop, but I would imagine that New England and Miami both take a tight end in the 2nd round, which one they take, is anyone's guess. Gronkowski could fill the hole left by Ben Watson from the outset.
#4. Anthony McCoy - USC
Not as highly regarded as those coming before him, Anthony McCoy is still a capable blocker and a very capable receiver.
He's ideal for a 'run-first offense', many of which would draw similarities with the role he played under Pete Carroll.
As an offensive line, it's vital to be able to 'seal the edge' for both the passing and the running games. If your Tight End can effectively slow down the defense's OLB/DE, the offense will be able to be much more creative with their offense. Play-action, Off-Tackle runs, Toss plays, Option plays, and slowly developing routes in the pass game all become possible with a TE who can seal the edge.
McCoy has the body and the ability to do just that.
Projected Round: 2nd
Projected Team: Kansas City Chiefs.
With the acquisition of Thomas Jones, the Chiefs will shift to a run-oriented offense in 2010. With the addition of McCoy, the Chiefs get the run-blocking support they'll require, with a much needed threat in the passing game.
#5. Dennis Pitta - BYU
Dennis Pitta had a lot to prove at the NFL Combine last month. Playing out of the MWC, NFL GMs needed confirmation that Pitta was athletically similar to the other prospects at TE for this draft. How did he fair? Well.... very well.
Pitta matched or exceeded everyone's expectations for his measurable numbers. There was never any questioning Pitta's hands, route running, experience, and understanding of the position.
What lands Pitta in the 3rd round is his weaknesses in blocking. He doesn't project to be a blocking TE at the NFL level, but could definitly become a dangerous threat in the passing game.
Projected Round: 3rd
Projected Team: Tennessee Titans.
With the loss of Alge Crumpler, the Titans will be in the market for a 2nd TE option. Bo Scaife will likely remain the number 1 option, mainly because of his abilities in blocking. The Titans are known for using TEs in their pass game, and with a thin receiving core, Pitta will be given lots of opertunity to touch the ball.
#6. Dorin Dickerson - Pitt
Dorin Dickerson put up one of the single best pre-draft work outs of 2010.... check that, maybe in the history of the pre-draft work out.
He led, not only TEs, but the entire field in nearly every workout at the combine, including forty time and bench press.
40-yard dash Time: 4.40 sec (1st TE, 4th Overall)
Bench Press: 24 Reps (4th TE)
Broad Jump: 10'5" (1st TE, 10th Overall)
20 yard shuttle: 4.30 sec (3rd TE)
3-Cone Drill: 6.96 sec (3rd TE)
Vertical Jump 43 1/2" (1st TE, 2nd Overall)
Dickerson is definitly the best athlete on the offensive side of the ball, but of course, when something appears too good to be true, it often is.
The knock against Dickerson, something you can't teach, you can't train for, you can't practice, the issue with the Pitt TE is his size. Standing 6'1" and weighing in at 225lbs, Dickerson appears to be better suited for H-back, or even WR.
Even with his shortcomings, Dickerson put up some very good numbers at the position at Pitt, giving NFL teams hope that they could develop this freakish athlete.
Projected Round: 3rd
Projected Team: Arizona Cardinals.
To predict what will happen to the career of Dorin Dickerson is almost impossible. He's likely too small for TE, but he's also too talented to simply fade away into obscurity. With the recent offensive losses for the Cards, a 'do-it-all' guy like Dickerson could give them a boost offensively.
#7. Ed Dickson - Oregon
In another draft year, we might be talking about Dickson being a 2nd or 3rd rounder, but the depth for this draft, at every position, has very talented players falling down the draft board, for no other reason but an embarassment of riches.
Dickson is a pass catching TE with underrated blocking skills. Playing out of the wishbone at Oregon, Dickson was more of a receiver than a run support blocking TE, however, in the wishbone, every player on the field is required to block.
Whether that type of blocking can translate to the NFL, I'm not sure, but Dickson has shown an ability to run block linebackers, safeties, and corners.
There's no questioning Dickson's receiving ability and projects to be a starter in the NFL.
Projected Round: 4th
Projected Team: Detroit Lions.
Casey Fitzsimmons has yet to be re-signed, if the Lions chose not to sign him, Dickson could transition into his role within his first 2 seasons in the NFL. The Lions probably need more help on the defensive side of the ball, but they also need options in the passing game to surround their franchise QB. I have WR Eric Decker to be drafted by the Lions as well, with Decker/Johnson/Dickson, the Lions will have a legitimate passing attack for years to come.
#8. Aaron Hernandez - Florida
After the 2010 Sugar Bowl, most NFL teams would have had Hernandez going in the 2nd round, and for good reason. Hernandez had 8 catches for 111 yards against Cincinatti, capping of the best statistical season of any Tight End in the NCAA.
Since then, other prospects are moving up the draft board, while Hernandez is treading water.
There have always been questions about Hernandez's size and durability, there have also been questions about some off-field issues.
Unable to run at the Combine, Hernandez needed a big Pro Day to push himself up the board, and while he didn't hurt his standing, he didn't do much to help himself either. He posted below average vertical and broad jump numbers, ran a slower 40-time than expected and measured a little smaller than had been reported at Florida.
He did put up 30 reps of 225lbs, but with the meager numbers everywhere else, Hernandez is likely going in the wrong direction.
Projected Round: 4th
Projected Team: Atlanta Falcons.
Based on last season, Tony Gonzalez has a few years of productivity left in him. If the Falcons draft Hernandez, the hope would be that the rookie could learn his chops from one of the best to ever play the position. Both players have latin-american roots, with Gonzalez being of Mexican heritage, Hernandez of Puerto Rican heritage.
#9. Michael Hoomanawanui - Illinois
For obvious reasons, Michael Hoomanawanui, goes by the nickname "Uh-Oh". It's not just because his name is difficult to pronounce properly, but also because it is a popular sentiment amongst his defensive match-ups.
Uh-Oh weighs in somewhere around 260-270lbs, but still manages a 4.77 40-time. At 6'4", he probably gets mistaken for being a guard or a center on a regular basis.
Not only is he an intimidating presense, with an ability to set the edge with a litte extra oomph, but Uh-Oh is a very reliable receiver who creates a mismatch in almost every coverage situation.
Setting Hoomanawanui back, is the fact that he has struggled with injuries throughout his career at Illinois. He's currently healthy, but there will definitly be question marks surrounding his durability and longevity at his size.
Projected Round: 5th
Projected Team: Baltimore Ravens.
He would likely never amount to more than a 2nd option at TE in the receiving game, however he could be considered the first option in run blocking. With the Ravens looking to solidify both their run blocking and red zone offense, Uh-Oh, would be able to fill both of those roles.
#10 Jameson Konz
Although he probably isn't the 10th ranked prospect at TE, it would be remiss of me not to mention Jameson Konz. When Kent St.'s pro day is making national headlines, you know something exceptional must have takent place.
With only 1 NFL team represented(Cleveland Browns), Jameson Konz put on one of the most impressive workouts in the history of the draft. I made the same remark with regards to Dorin Dickerson, which I still stand by, but the workout by Konz trumps him in nearly every category.
Vertical Jump: 46"
Broad Jump: 10'8"
40 yard dash: 4.41 sec
3-Cone drill: 6.93 sec
My initial impression was that the results were some sort of hoax. There is no way that a FB from Kent St. was able to put up numbers anywhere in that neighboorhood. Turns out, the Cleveland Browns were present and would confirm everything reported.
Prior to that workout, Jameson Konz was almost guaranteed to go undrafted and likely never have a career in football. Post-workout, he has created a stir around the league and will likely be taken off the board towards the end of the draft.
Projected Round: 7th
Projected Team: Your guess is as good as mine, but he sounds like a 1st rounder for the Oakland Measurables, I mean Raiders.
More position rankings: