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1. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington
An injured foot prevented Seferian-Jenkins from participating in any pre-draft event. Nevertheless, he is the most complete tight end in this draft with a skill set that mirrors New England’s Rob Gronkowski. He has the prototype size (6-foot-5, 262 pounds) and athleticism to emerge as a big-time NFL starting tight end. He has the versatility to lineup outside as a receiver or in-line as a traditional tight end. He’s a natural pass catcher and capable of making acrobatic plays on the football. He’s also a good route runner. In conclusion, Seferian-Jenkins will represent one of the best value picks of this draft class. He’s the total package at an ever-evolving position. He exhibits the athleticism and fluidity of today’s breed of tight end, yet his size, toughness, and red zone ability gives him an old-school flavor.
2. Eric Ebron, North Carolina
At 250 pounds, Ebron is a tremendous athlete who displays excellent straight-line speed, and is explosive in the open field. He’s a clean route runner, capable of lining up as a receiver outside and torching man-coverage. He was dominate versus Miami (FL) this season, catching eight passes for 199 yards and a touchdown. Overall, while Ebron falls short of comparing to Jimmy Graham or Vernon Davis, he displays all the necessary attributes to develop into a high-level NFL starting tight end.
3. Jace Amaro, Texas Tech
Amaro does a good job of using his size (6-foot-5, 265 pounds) to out position defenders when going up for the football. He operates very well in the middle of the field, breaks tackles, and finishes plays. He brings versatility to the position with the ability to lineup out wide, in the slot, or even in the backfield. He was the most productive receiving tight end in college football last year. His athleticism, size, and versatility make him an intriguing option for somebody looking to improve their passing game between the hashes.
4. Troy Niklas, Notre Dame
The latest tight end prospect to come from Notre Dame, Niklas is a traditional in-line NFL tight end. He’s an incredible blocker, which will serve him well early in his career. His receiving ability remains a work in progress, but he displays the athleticism and size to get better. His upside is high.
5. C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa
A throwback tight end, Fiedorowicz will move the sticks in the short to intermediate passing game. He lacks the athleticism to make plays downfield, but blocks and catches the ball well. He’s a valuable commodity for somebody intending to improve their red zone production.
6. Jacob Pedersen, Wisconsin
Pedersen is the next Wisconsin tight end slated for the NFL. His physical attributes will prevent him from developing into a No. 1 tight end, but he’s tough and blocks well. He’s likely a No. 2 tight end on most rosters, projecting in the H-back role.
7. Marcel Jensen, Fresno State
Former Fresno State head coach Pat Hill, who favored power football, recruited Jensen. As a result, he was out of place in Fresno State’s pass-oriented offense of the last two seasons. Nonetheless, Jensen displays the size and pass catching to develop into a solid red zone tight end. Combined with his excellent blocking, he could develop into a viable player.
8. Colt Lyerla, Oregon
From a talent standpoint, Lyerla is one of the top 100 players of his class. However, red flags drop his draft stock. Last October, he was arrested for cocaine possession. Ultimately, he and Oregon parted ways from one another. Misgivings aside, Lyerla’s combination of size and athleticism is what teams want in the modern-day tight end. He’s a natural pass catcher and hustles on every play. With a high ceiling, it seems likely somebody will take a flier on him in the later rounds.
9. A.C. Leonard, Tennessee State
Leonard began his career at Florida before leaving for Tennessee State. He isn’t tall (6-foot-2) for a tight end, but he’s capable of making plays after the catch. Off-field character concerns may force several teams to remove him from their draft board. In February of 2012, he was charged with a misdemeanor battery for an altercation with his girlfriend.
10. Arthur Lynch, Georgia
Lynch can operate inside the red zone as a pass catcher, but he’s not going to do much between the 20s. He has the size and strength to develop into a blocker, but he must refine his technique and learn to finish. At best, he’ll be consistently mediocre.
Best of the Rest
Trey Burton, Florida
Xavier Grimble, USC
Jake Murphy, Utah
Jordan Najvar, Baylor
Richard Rodgers, California