2010 NFL Combine Stock Up, Stock Down: Tight Ends

Zack NallyCorrespondent IMarch 3, 2010

LOUISVILLE, KY - OCTOBER 02:  Dorin Dickerson #2 of the Pittsburgh Panthers celebrates after catching a touchdown pass during the Big East Conference game against the Louisville Cardinals at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on October 2, 2009 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Going into the offseason, the clear consensus was that Oklahoma's Jermaine Gresham was the best tight end going into the draft. Now that the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine are behind us, that certainty is not the case anymore. 

A few no-name prospects in the tight end bracket have emerged as true contenders in the race to April, and—while no one will likely make a big splash in the first round—a team or two will luck out with some late-round selections.

Here are the tight ends from the Combine who are slowly becoming legitimate and others who are watching their stock fall:

Players Whose Stocks Went Up

1. Dorin Dickerson (Pittsburgh)

40-Yard Dash: 4.40 sec.

Bench Press: 24 rep.

Vertical Jump: 43.5"

3-Cone Drill: 6.96 sec.

20-Yard Shuttle: 4.30 sec. 

Broad Jump: 10'5"

Dickerson entered the combine under the shadow of fellow Pittsburgh tight end Nate Byham, but now it looks as if Dickerson is the better of the pair. He dominated the drills, finishing first in the 40-yard, vertical leap, and the broad jump.

He is an extremely physical specimen and has great lower body strength, a quality that will quickly translate into elite blocking ability at the next level. He looked natural at catching balls and he's quick to boot. 

2. Clay Harbor (Missouri State)

40-Yard Dash: 4.69 sec. 

Bench Press: 30 rep. 

Vertical Jump: 40.0" 

20-Yard Shuttle: 4.37 sec.

Broad Jump: 10'

Harbor is another tight end who didn't have a tremendous amount of attention on him going into the Combine, but an impressive showing there has legitimized his chances at being a contender in the NFL.

He was solid in every category, especially at the bench where he put up astounding numbers, posting three reps higher than the closest player behind him. He also has good speed for a guy with such strength. 

3. Dennis Pitta (BYU)

40-Yard Dash: 4.63 sec. 

Bench Press: 27 rep. 

Vertical Jump: 34.5" 

3-Cone Drill: 6.72 sec.

20-Yard Shuttle: 4.17 sec. 

60-Yard Shuttle: 11.53 sec.

Broad Jump: 9'5"

Pitta is one of the few high-ranked tight end prospects that did not fail to impress at the Combine. Pitta ran a decent 40-yard time, but he showed his quickness with top times in the 3-Cone, 20-yard shuttle, and the 60-yard shuttle.

Pitta has natural hands and his physicality, paired with his natural athleticism, creates an exciting prospect. He was one of the few players who saw his draft stock rise considerably in Indy this weekend. 

4. Jimmy Graham (Miami)

40-Yard Dash: 4.56 sec. 

Bench Press: 20 rep. 

Vertical Jump: 38.5" 

3-Cone Drill: 6.90 sec.

60-Yard Shuttle: 11.76 sec. 

Broad Jump: 10'

Graham made some noise in Indianapolis this week with an impressive 40-yard and solid numbers in every other category. He isn't an especially athletic prospect, but his numbers have solidified his ability to run the routes needed to contend at the NFL level.

His history as a basketball player has scouts equating him with the likes of Antonio Gates, even though he only played one year of football at Miami.

5. Ed Dickson (Oregon)

40-Yard Dash: 4.67 sec. 

Bench Press: 23 rep. 

Broad Jump: 9'7"

Dickson didn't drop any jaws at the Combine, but a solid performance across the board have him at a static state in the eyes of scouts. A good showing at the Senior Bowl catapulted him and his stock as far up as it'd been and his performance at the Combine didn't hurt him.

Dickson is still considered by many to have some of the best hands in his class and he is no slouch as a blocker, either. He has all the physical tangibles you look for in a tight end.

Players Whose Stock Went Down

1. Jermaine Gresham (Oklahoma)

40-Yard Dash: 4.73 sec. 

Bench Press: 20 reps.

Vertical Jump: 35" 

3-Cone Drill: 7.07 sec.

60-Yard Shuttle: 11.88 sec.

Broad Jump: 9'5"

After undergoing season-ending surgery at the start of the '09 season, Gresham had questions and concerns surrounding his ability to still play ball. Many still consider him a top contender, but a slow 40-yard and marginal numbers in other categories didn't look like the Gresham everyone expected.

With more publicity comes more expectations, and Gresham just didn't meet them at the Combine. He finished near the bottom of every category and will need to put up a good showing at his Pro Day if he expects to keep his position as the top tight end in his class.

2. Rob Gronkowski (Arizona)

Bench Press: 23 rep.

Gronkowski did not participate in any of the athletically-geared drills, much to the chagrin of scouts and media writers. He has the capabilities to be a top tight end in the draft, but it's hard to judge that if he doesn't perform.

I expect him to show up big at his Pro Day, but until then, Gronkowski is a tight end with marginal speed who has great physicality and soft hands...or so we hope.

3. Anthony McCoy (USC)

40-Yard Dash: 4.79 sec. 

Bench Press: 19 rep. 

Vertical Jump: 35.5"

3-Cone Drill: 6.99 sec.

Broad Jump: 9'5"

McCoy is another tight end who came into the Combine with high expectations and ended with disappointing results. He didn't have the slowest 40-yard but it was close. We also didn't see a tremendous amount of strength at the bench or the broad jump.

McCoy's tape will likely remain as the strongest piece of evidence for his legitimacy, but for now, he will have to work harder to impress anyone at USC's Pro Day.

4. Andrew Quarless (Penn State)

40-Yard Dash: 4.69 sec.

Bench Press: 23 rep. 

Vertical Jump: 32" 

Broad Jump: 9'4"

Quarless is one of several Penn State players who have a lot of potential going into the draft. At the combine, though, Quarless didn't look especially impressive, posting marginal numbers across the board.

Especially disturbing, I think, was his inability to produce at either jump station. Quarless was touted as an elite blocker with a great lower center of gravity, but it just wasn't evident at the Combine.

5. Colin Peek (Alabama)

Bench Press: 19 rep.

Like Gronkowski, Peek only participated in the Combine at the bench, hoping to make an undisturbed, more comfortable showing at his Pro Day. Instead of producing suspense, though, Peek merely disappointed the number of scouts who showed up to see one of college's highest touted tight end prospects.

Peek still has a chance to prove he is a contender at his Pro Day, but a poor showing at the Combine doesn't make him look any better to the scouts and the media.


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