2014 NFL Draft: Top 10 Eligible Tight Ends
2014 NFL Draft: Top 10 Eligible Tight Ends
If you ask most defensive coordinators in the NFL what their biggest matchup concern is, you will more than likely hear the tight end position. The position has evolved from big blockers that can catch the ball to one that is filled with athletes. The trend right now is to get guys that played basketball and use them at tight end.
The success of Tony Gonzalez has made tight ends a more valuable commodity than ever. Not only is he a big and athletic target, but his years playing college basketball taught him how to use his body to get the position he needs. There were plenty of years where he was the only legitimate playmaking receiver on the Kansas City Chiefs, and nobody could stop him.
High draft picks at tight end have not worked out as well as the project players picked later in the draft. The best tight ends in the league right now are guys like Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, Jason Witten, Antonio Gates, Vernon Davis and Jordan Cameron. With the exception of Davis, none of these guys were taken in the first round and only Gronkowski was taken before round three.
Teams now are willing to draft guys that need help blocking and working on football fundamentals but have tremendous upside. The linebacker position has changed, and there are fewer guys that can cover than ever before. NFL teams focus so much on aggressive linebackers that can stop the run and pressure the QB that they don't really scout guys on ability to cover. While most safeties are athletic and fast enough to cover these guys, they don't have the size and strength to matchup down the field.
Until defensive coordinators can figure out how to stop the tight ends in the NFL, teams will focus on getting these athletes in the later rounds of the draft and figuring out ways to use them successfully. These ten college players could make an impact in the NFL in 2014.
10. Rob Blanchflower
Rob Blanchflower is 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds. He is a very good receiver and an above average blocker. So far in 2013, he has 15 catches for 156 yards and a TD for UMass. The NFL player he compares most to is Brent Celek.
9. Ted Bolser
Ted Bolser is 6-foot-6 and 252 pounds from the University of Indiana. He is tied for third on the team with 22 catches and has 247 yards with five touchdowns. He is not a speed threat, but his size makes him an excellent red zone target. The NFL player he compares to is Brandon Pettigrew.
8. Crockett Gillmore
Crockett Gillmore is a 6-foot-6 and 255 pounds from Colorado State University. He plays in a very balanced system that runs a lot of their offense out of a pro-style offense. It will be easy for him to transition to the NFL game as a late round pick. He has 19 catches for 252 yards and a TD in 2013. The NFL player he compares to is Brandon Myers.
7. Arthur Lynch
Arthur Lynch is 6-foot-5 254 pounds out of the University of Georgia. He has 14 catches for 212 yards and one TD in 2013. He is more of the old-school tight end that is used as a blocker and an outlet for the quarterback. The NFL player he compares more to is Anthony Fasano.
6. C. J. Fiedorowicz
C.J. Fiedorowicz is 6-foot-7 265 pounds out of the University of Iowa. In 2013, he has 15 catches for 127 yards and three scores. His yards per catch shows that he is not a downfield threat but is good enough to be a starter. The NFL player he compares to is former Iowa tight end Scott Chandler who is also 6-foot-7.
5. Marcel Jensen
Marcel Jensen is 6-foot-6 270 pounds out of Fresno State University. He has 17 catches for 251 yards and no touchdowns. He has caught three passes in five consecutive games for the Bulldogs and is a reliable target. The NFL player he is most similar to is Martellus Bennett.
4. Jacob Pedersen
Jacob Pedersen is 6-foot-4 241 pounds out of the University Of Wisconsin. He is a decent receiver having averaged almost 30 catches a season the last two years, but his biggest strength is his blocking. Playing in a run-first system, he is used to being an aggressive run-blocker. The NFL player he is most like is Heath Miller.
3. Jace Amaro
Jace Amaro is 6-foot-5 250 pounds out of Texas Tech University. He is a very skilled pass catcher having had six straight games with at least eight receptions. He has 56 catches for 742 yards and three touchdowns this season, but his biggest weakness is his run blocking ability. The Red Raiders throw the ball on over 60 percent of their plays, and he has never had to consistently run block. The NFL player he compares to is Greg Olsen.
2. Austin Seferian-Jenkins
Austin Seferian-Jenkins is 6-foot-6 276 pounds out of the University of Washington. He has 17 catches for 205 yards and four scores this year for this Huskies. He is a gigantic tight end that can make plays down the field and has the ability to run block. He may be the most well rounded tight end in the group, but his overall production doesn't show it. The NFL player he is most like is Jason Witten.
1. Eric Ebron
Eric Ebron is 6-foot-4 245 pounds out of the University of North Carolina, and he is the best draft prospect at the position since Vernon Davis. There is no doubt that he will be selected in the first round of the draft, and if he has a good combine he could be a top 15 selection. The NFL player he is most similar to is Davis.