2010 NFL Draft Rankings: Tight Ends

Zack NallyCorrespondent IJanuary 4, 2010

MIAMI - JANUARY 08:  Jermaine Gresham #18 of the Oklahoma Sooners carries the ball against Major Wright #21 of the Florida Gators during the FedEx BCS National Championship Game at Dolphin Stadium on January 8, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

2010 NFL Draft Tight End Rankings

Jermaine Gresham (Oklahoma)

Height: 6-6

Weight: 260

40 Time: 4.64

Projected Round: Top 25

Gresham may be the only true, complete tight end entering the draft this year. He is a gifted athlete with NFL-size and soft hands to boot. He commands the middle of the field, effectively shielding the safety on post routes and extending his arms above the coverage and making the difficult catches.

It’s hard to compare Gresham to an NFL tight end like Tony Gonzalez, but honestly, it’s hard not to. He can run any route on the field and make any catch thrown in his direction. Once he gets the ball in his hands, he runs like an oversized receiver, bowling over small defenders and causing unsuspecting coverage misread his running lanes.

As if his physical attributes weren’t enough, Gresham has showed true progression in his football IQ as well as his ability to catch the ball and be absolutely dominant in the red zone. He is an adequate blocker but will still have work to do at the professional level.

His refusal to appear in court over a speeding ticket in April of 2009 will cause some teams to worry, but that concern will all but vanish at the combine. Look for any team with a major need at the tight end position and a high draft pick to grab Gresham in the first round.

Teams that will target him: Tennessee, Miami, Arizona

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2. Anthony McCoy (USC)

Height: 6-5

Weight: 255

40 Time: 4.64

Projected Round: 1-2

McCoy isn’t going to astound anyone with his speed or his natural athleticism, but he has some of the better hands in his class. He is a huge target in the middle of the field and isn’t afraid to take the big hit after making the catch.

He isn’t the best route runner nor does he get off the line with alarming quickness, but his will to learn the game will eventually make him a force to be reckoned with in the NFL. He can make the catch along the sideline and in the flats. He won’t make any huge gains after the catch, but if the ball is placed properly, he won’t need to.

Another attribute that distinguishes McCoy is his talent in the blocking scheme. He provides elite run blocking, getting a physical pop on the defensive lineman and driving him down the field. He also does a great job at picking up corner blitzes and pushing the linebacker off his lane.

McCoy’s upside isn’t spectacular but, with proper coaching and time to grow, he should eventually develop into a star NFL tight end. Look for a team with needs in developing their West coast efficiency to pick McCoy up.

Teams that will target him: Cincinnati, Kansas City, St. Louis

3. Edward Dickson (Oregon)

Height: 6-5

Weight: 240

40 Time: 4.63

Projected Round: 1-2

One of the true athletes at the tight end position this year, Dickson has experience playing at defensive end, wide receiver, and, eventually, tight end. However, all that offensive experience was done in a spread offense, something that will garner a bit of negative attention from pro scouts.

He gets off the line with surprising quickness and runs faster routes than most lumbering wide outs. He doesn’t always run the best routes but once he catches the ball, look out, he will blow by the coverage and get spectacular YAC stats.

His hands will be an asset, even at the professional level, displaying elite consistency and always providing a dependable catch when the team needs a first down.

His blocking will never be a strong suit; he takes poor angles in run plays and although he delivers a great initial pop at the line of scrimmage, doesn’t sustain his pass blocks long enough to give his quarterback adequate time in the pocket.

Look for a team who needs an athlete at the tight end position and in special teams to give Dickson a chance at the second tight end spot.

Teams that will target him: Carolina, Buffalo, Baltimore

4. Dennis Pitta (BYU)

Height: 6-5

Weight: 250

40 Time: 4.66

Projected Round: 2-3

Pitta comes from a school that seems to breed tight ends and that alone will garner him attention from the pro scouts. Also, like the ethereal Tim Tebow, Pitta is an active member of his church and spent two years as a missionary before he returned to the game.

Pitta’s physicality is more influential than his speed; he uses his hands in the first five yards of the route and gets more than adequate separation from the coverage. Ironically, he is used primarily on the outside rather than asked to dominate the middle of the field.

He has exceptional talent running the sidelines as a wide out and he rarely drops the ball. He has a knack for squaring his shoulders and blocking the linebacker on curl routes. Pitta is also a spectacular blocker even though he lacks dominant upper body strength. He is used as a downfield run blocker and has the speed to get to the safety or the deep linebacker and put the pop on his man in order to create a lane.

Pitta is a mature player who will enter the league with low expectations, but will surprise whichever team lucks out in drafting him. He has a high football IQ and is a leader in the locker room. Look for a team that needs a leader in a young offensive to pick up Pitta.

Teams that will target him: Kansas City, Minnesota, Cleveland

5. Tony Moeaki (Iowa)

Height: 6-4

Weight: 255

40 Time: 4.80

Projected Round: 2-3

Moeaki has some of the better hands in this year’s class. He looks the part of the lumbering lineman at times, but has all the grace and fluidity of a professional-grade wide out when he pulls one in.

He could do a better job at making his cuts on the field as his size sometimes inhibits his ability to sell the route. While Moeaki’s ability, both in catching and blocking, is unquestionable, his weight will be a cause of concern for scouts. He will need to lose a considerable amount in order to properly compete in the NFL.

Another major concern is Moeaki’s inability to stay healthy. His injuries always seem to occur at inopportune times and his size doesn’t make it easy for him to heal. Look for a team with a light tight end corps to utilize Moeaki’s size in beefing up their blocking scheme.

Teams that will target him: Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Cincinnati

6. Garrett Graham (Wisconsin)

Height: 6-4

Weight: 243

40 Time: 4.74

Projected Round: 3-4

Traditionally a stud at the fullback/H-back position, Graham fluctuated between back and tight end throughout his junior year and eventually went full-time at tight end for his senior season. That change yielded nothing but good things as Graham earned All-Big-Ten honors and second on the list of receiving touchdowns in 2009.

Graham’s experience in the backfield has afforded him a great deal of strength. His blocking mechanics are that of a tank with arms at times, providing excellent pop at the line and driving his man down the field on run plays.

His hands aren’t a great commodity, but he’ll make the catch when there’s a third down conversion on the line. He’ll make a great fit for any team looking to add some bulk to their front seven.

Teams that will target him: New Orleans, Houston, Kansas City

7. Colin Peek (Alabama)

Height: 6-6

Weight: 255

40 Time: 4.79

Projected Round: 3-4

Peek is an interesting case. A native of Jacksonville, Florida, he and his family had always been Florida Gator fans.  Peek grew up attending Ben Hill Griffin with his entire Florida alumni family. When he left high school football, it was clear that he would eventually don the blue and orange.

As fate would have it, he was overlooked by Meyr’s recruiting staff and wound up at Georgia Tech. When Peek came to understand that Tech’s offense was not accommodating to a receiving tight end, he transferred to Alabama where he found himself on the other side of his beloved Gators in the SEC championship.

In that game, he reeled in three catches for 39 yards and a touchdown. A true lover of the game, Peek comes from a rich bloodline of football players and seeks to continue the tradition at the professional level.

While his size is not considered an upside for a receiving tight end, a little lost weight and time in the gym could transform Peek into quite a force in the NFL. He is extremely knowledgeable of his niche on the field and has the ability to run every route in the tree. Look for a team with a veteran tight end and time to train to give Peek a shot at the number two spot.

Teams that will target him: Atlanta, San Diego, Baltimore

8. Michael Hoomanawanui (Illinois)

Height: 6-5

Weight: 274

40 Time: 4.73

Projected Round: 3-4

Hoomanawanui is another lumbering type of tight end in this year’s class and, while his services will not be called upon early within the draft, he will be an inevitable steal for anyone with the good sense to draft him.

Like his many counterparts, he is excellent blocker who really drives defenders down the field and seals off the outside rushers to make room for those scamper backs of the fighting Illini.

He certainly won’t astound anyone with his catching ability, but he’ll provide a nice safety valve for any quarterback.

For a man of his size, he has superb quickness that will allow him to reach the flats before the linebacker can reach the line of the pass. He won’t stretch the seam on any field, but should do well as a number two end or even a steal in the supplemental draft.

Teams that will target him: Carolina, Arizona, Seattle

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