There is no elite TE prospect in this class, but there is solid depth from top to bottom. UCLA’s Joseph Fauria looks like the total package and with a solid 2012 should cement himself as the top TE and a 2nd/Early 3rd Round grade. Auburn’s Phillip Lutzenkirchen and Ohio States’s Jake Stoneburner aren’t flashy, but can do all the little things that NFL teams ask for. Like all positions, the strength relies on which juniors declare. If Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert has a solid season and declares, he will push Fauria as the top TE in this class.
These rankings are extremely fluid, especially this early in the season and will change constantly throughout the process. Juniors will be added as they begin to declare for the draft.
1. Joseph Fauria, UCLA, 6’7 252: 2nd Round
-Hands down the top TE in the country, Fauria has the total package. He can run down field, shows good awareness, and displays soft hands. Fauria is a tall target who is a red-zone threat and is also an above-average blocker.
2. Phillip Lutzenkirchen, Auburn, 6’4 250: 3rd Round
-Versatile TE with soft hands. Lutzenkirchen can line up in the slot, as an in-line TE, or even in the backfield. Displays underrated athletic ability and is a willing blocker, although this is an area that does need improvement.
3. Jake Stoneburner, Ohio State, 6’5 245: 3rd – 4th Round
-A solid all-around TE who isn’t great in one specific area, but doesn’t offer any glaring weaknesses. Has ideal size and more than capable speed to run down the field with slower LBs. A solid blocker, Stoneburner should see an increase in production with Urban Meyer in town, and a developed Braxton Miller under center.
4. DC Jefferson, Rutgers, 6’5 258: 4th Round
-Jefferson will be under the radar for most casual football fans the season. He’s never had great numbers in his time at Rutgers, but he does have that cautious word “potential” associated with him. The former QB offers a rare blend of size and athleticism that scouts will be watching for this season.
5. Chris Gragg, Arkansas, 6’3 236: 4th – 5th Round
-Gragg isn’t the biggest, nor is he the best blocking TE in this class, but he may just have the best hands. Gragg can pluck anything in his radius and does it with ease. With three WRs in the NFL, the Razorbacks will need for some pass catchers to step up, and Gragg will be one of those guys. His speed and ability to separate from LBs is a matchup night mare for opposing defenses.
6. Ryan Griffin, UConn, 6’5 248 5th – 6th Round
7. Mike Williams, Alabama, 6’5 268: 5th – 6th Round
8. Jack Doyle, Western Kentucky, 6’6 251: 6th Round
9. Kyler Reed, Nebraska, 6’3 230: 7th Round
10. Ben Cotton, Nebraska, 6’6 255: 7th Round
11. Colter Phillips, Virginia, 6’6 245: PFA
12. Collin Anderson, Furman, 6’4 235: PFA
13. Chris Pantale, Boston College, 6’5 252: PFA
14. Ryan Otten, San Jose State, 6’4 238: PFA
15. Lucas Reed, New Mexico, 6’5 236: PFA
16. Hubie Graham, Pittsburgh, 6’3 230: PFA
17. Chase Clement, LSU, 6’5 252: PFA
Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame, 6’5 250
Zach Ertz, Stanford, 6’6 250
Jordan Reed, Florida, 6’3 239
Levine Toilolo, Stanford, 6’7 263
CJ Fiedorowicz, Iowa, 6’6 265
Jeremy Cabler covers the NFL Draft and College Football for Rant Sports. Check out his Scouting Reports