Breaking Down the Tight Ends in the 2014 Senior Bowl

By Rick Stavig
Senior Bowl
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The rosters for the 2014 Senior Bowl are nearly complete.  As usual, the list of accepted invites to the game is overflowing with talented prospects hoping to improve their 2014 NFL Draft stock.  Considering how close we are to the beginning of practice week, let’s look at how some of the positional groups are shaping up.

First we looked at the quarterbacks (here), and then running backs (here).  Now we’ll look at the tight ends.

As of now, four tight ends have accepted invitations to play in the illustrious game; C.J. Fiedorowicz (Iowa), Marcel Jensen (Fresno State), Arthur Lynch (Georgia) and Jacob Pedersen (Wisconsin).

Fiedorowicz is the biggest name of the group as a projected 2nd round draft pick.  He’s never put up huge numbers playing in the Hawkeyes offense, but has legitimate NFL skills.  Some even claim he’s the next Rob Gronkowski.

While I’m hesitant to label him comparatively to one of the most physically gifted tight ends of all time, he can step onto an NFL field and contribute right away, as an extra blocker at the minimum.  He’s not the best athlete and he’s not as fast as many tight ends in ‘The League’ today, but he does everything well.

Jensen also failed to put up huge numbers, but Fresno didn’t use tight end sets often, preferring more spread formations.  He’s a good athlete at 6-foot 5, 270-pounds, and has excellent leaping ability.  His blocking skills are strong and he’s got good hands despite not having used them often.  It’ll be interesting to see how Jensen takes advantage of his increased opportunities next week in practice.  A strong showing will very much aid his 4th round projection.

Lynch is the latest in a long line of athletic tight ends coming out of Athens.  He’s not overly athletic, and he’s not likely to put up huge numbers in the NFL, but he’s a fantastic blocker, possibly the best in the class.  Plus, he’s got a knack for making the clutch catch, as evidenced in the South Carolina and LSU games this past season.  He’s projected as a 3rd rounder right now.

Pedersen is a guy who can really boost his stock in this game.  Projected as a late round draft pick, Pedersen needs a good game and an even better week of practice.  He’s not the biggest, fastest, strongest or most athletic, but he does everything well.  He’s got good body control and soft hands, but could struggle working the seam in the NFL against much bigger, faster defenses.

Joe Don Duncan (Dixie State) was a guy many were really looking forward to seeing in this game, his first against elite competition, but he apparently broke his foot during training and had to bow out of the game.

All in all, a good group of tight ends, but I’d still expect another one or two guys added to this list before it’s all said and done.

Rick Stavig is an NFL Draft Columnist for Follow him on Twitter @rickstavig or add him to your network on Google+.


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