By Cody Strahm @CodyJStrahm on April 9, 2014
Charles Clay's rise to stardom was one of the feel-good stories of the Miami Dolphins' roller coaster season in 2013. The Dolphins are far from set at tight end, though. A big body target who can stretch the seam and snatch jump balls in the red zone in addition to providing reliable in-line blocking prowess is needed. Here are the top five tight ends the Dolphins should consider in May's draft.
Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz could be a nice addition to Miami's tight end group on day three. He's far from the fastest or most athletic tight end of the draft, but he possesses enough size and speed to threaten the seam. Fiedorowicz exhibits power as a run blocker and, with development, could emerge as a complete starter for an offense.
From a pure blocking standpoint, Troy Niklas may be at the top of his class. He struggles to pick up blocks in space at times but is difficult to disengage from once he does. Niklas is far from a crisp route-runner nor does he have ideal speed for a seam threat, though, and, despite his 6-foot-7 frame, he projects as a mediocre receiving target at the next level without refinement.
Jace Amaro's statistics during his final season in Lubbock were impressive -- 106 catches for 1,352 yards. But there is good reason to believe those numbers were inflated in Texas Tech's pass happy offense. At the next level, Amaro needs to prove he's capable of separating from tight coverage and winning battles in the trenches as an in-line blocker. Concerns that he can't could knock him out of first-round contention.
There might not be a better red zone target in the entire class -- at tight end or receiver -- than Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins. 2013's Mackey Award Winner has the size, athleticism and hands to be a dominant jump-ball target in the NFL. In many ways, that's exactly what the Dolphins' offense needs. He isn't the most polished blocker, however, and looks a bit sluggish in and out of his breaks at times.
Some label Eric Ebron's hands suspect. In truth, the UNC star dropped several easy passes in the ACC. His hands, though, can be stellar. Ebron routinely made clean hand catches away from his body for the Tar Heels. If he can limit concentration lapses, he has elite potential as a receiver thanks to his smooth speed. He showcased a willingness to block as well, making him a potential complete prospect and by far the top tight end of the class.
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