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Incredi-Hull Combine Preview: Getting Offensive Part Deux
By Jonathan Hull
Tight ends

Every team wants a Tony Gonzales, Dallas Clark, Vernon Davis, Antonio Gates or Jason Witten. Those type of players are just difficult to find.

This year's draft offers a few players who could be compared to those elite tight ends and there are several squads who have to list the position as one of their biggest needs. In other words, scouts will be paying close attention when this group hits the field in Indy.

Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma
Coming into the 2009 season, there was no doubt Gresham was the best TE prospect. Then the injury bug that ruined Oklahoma's season struck Gresham and red flags were forcibly placed upon him. Now he's no longer an obvious first round pick. He's said to be healthy enough to participate in the combine and needs to prove his health in order to stay atop the TE board.

Rob Gronkowski, Arizona
Like Gresham, Gronk also missed the entire 2009 season to injury. Proving his health is most important this week as Gronk has the chance to become the No. 1 TE available.

Aaron Hernandez, Florida
Hernandez is the last stud of a three-horse race for the title of being the first TE off the board. He shined as Tim Tebow's favorite target in 2009 and demonstrated the ability to stretch the middle of the field. The only question surrounding Hernandez is his red zone presence as Florida's scheme didn't exactly spotlight him inside the 20.

Combine Stud
Jimmy Graham, Miami, Fla.
Graham was a basketball standout for the Canes up until his senior season, when he made a calculated risk, opting to test his skills on the football field. It's paid off. The best athletes in the world play basketball. I will argue that point until I'm blue in the face. No other sport requires an elite player to excel in so many different facets. Agility, speed, strength, hand-eye coordination, explosion, quickness and power. Look at Lebron James and tell me he lacks one of those qualities. No that athleticism doesn't always translate to the field. Graham's abilities worked out for him at Miami and now he's gaining momentum after standing out at the Senior Bowl. Teams will see his vertical and think touchdowns.

Small-school Standout
Clayton Harbor, Missouri State
Harbor earns this honor because, frankly, there isn't another small-school TE invited to the combine. That's a slight oversight by the NFL Combine committee as Eastern Washington's Nathan Overbay deserved an invite. Harbor's numbers are impressive, but he might not project as a TE in the NFL. Because of his height, Harbor might be a better fit at FB. He's still a very draftable prospect and could go in the middle rounds. It all depends on his measurements. The NFL is consumed with making sure players fit a certain mold at each position.

Other TEs to watch: Dorin Dickerson, Pitt; Ed Dickson, Oregon; Dennis Pitta, BYU; Garrett Graham, Wisconsin; Anthony McCoy, USC.

  Hull's TE Rankings  
RK Tight Ends College Rnd
1 Jermaine Gresham Oklahoma 1
2 Aaron Hernandez Florida 1-2
3 Rob Gronkowski Arizona 2
4 Ed Dickson Oregon 2-3
5 Jimmy Graham Miami 3
6 Anthony McCoy USC 3
7 Dennis Pitta BYU 3-4
8 Nate Byham Pitt 4
9 Jeff Cumberland Illinois 4-5
10 Andrew Quarless Penn St. 5
11 Tony Moeaki Iowa 6
12 Colin Peek Alabama 6-7
13 Nathan Overbay Eastern Wash. 6-7
14 Jim Dray Stanford 7
15 Mike Caussin James Madison 7-F


Linemen

Three to five years from now, there's a decent chance the 2010 draft will be remembered for producing a high number of quality linemen on both sides of the ball.

The OL class features six potential first-round OTs, perhaps the best OG prospect in the history of the draft and a versatile center who also projects in the first round. That's right. I just listed eight OL, who could be taken in the first round of the 2010 draft.

So how does the combine help offensive linemen? It's hard to say. There are some technique drills each player goes through, but who really cares how fast a lineman runs a 40? Although, there are some scouts and coaches who will be lured by an athletic lineman.

The best measured drill for the linemen is the broad jump. It's nice to see how much hip explosion each individual player has. Nothing is more important than for a player to show adequate footwork, though.

Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho
Iupati is the surest thing in this draft. He might be the best OG prospect ever. It's hard to find a weakness in his game as an interior blocker. Some teams would like to see him as a tackle, but he's got some work to do with his feet and hips if he wants to be a LT. He could fill in as a RT option for the right team (Pittsburgh or Dallas). I think Iupati could go in the Top 10. There will be a lot of hype surrounding him throughout his workout.

Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma St.
There is not a consensus top OT in this class, yet. Okung is still the majority leader, but many are starting place him second. He allowed just one sack the entire season and played against some of college football's top DEs in the Big 12.

Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers
Davis is climbing boards and many scouts are starting to name him the No. 1 OT. He's my favorite prospect at the position, although I still rank Okung ahead of him. Davis is athletic for his big frame and flashed the ability to get to the second level seamlessly. Teams running a zone-blocking scheme in its running game will value him highly. His athleticism could push him past Okung on many boards following the combine.

Maurkice Pouncey, OC, Florida
Pouncey already garners a first-round projection as a center, but has the versatility to also play both guard positions. He's going to be valuable at the end of the first round. It's a deep OL class, as mentioned before, so Pouncey is being heavily overlooked right now.

Combine Stud
Bruce Campbell, OT, Maryland
Campbell will most likely be the most athletic OL at the combine. He's incredibly raw, though. Still, in this setting, he's going to become a hot commodity with a likely sub-5.0 40 expected. I see bust written all over him.

Small-school Standout
Jared Veldheer, OT, Hillsdale
Veldheer reeks of potential. Playing for Division II Hillsdale, Veldheer stood out, thanks largely to his size (6-8, 315 pounds). He's a great athlete though and expected to compete with Campbell for the best 40 time among OL. His stock is climbing and will soar some more, but again, athleticism as an OL isn't neccesarily needed. He's got plenty of room to improve.

Other OL to watch
: Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa; Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma; Charles Brown, OT, USC; Vladimir Ducasse, OT, UMass; Ciron Black, OG, LSU; John Jerry, OG, Ole Miss; Jon Asomoah, OG, Illinois; J.D. Walton, OC, Baylor.

  Hull's OC Rankings  
RK Centers College Rnd
1 Maurkice Pouncey Florida 1-2
2 J.D. Walton Baylor 2-3
3 Matt Tennant Boston College 3-4
4 Eric Olsen Notre Dame 4
5 Ted Larsen NC State 5-6
6 Jacob Hickman Nebraska 6-7
7 Chris Hall Texas 7
8 Erik Cook New Mexico 7-F
9 John Estes Hawaii 7-F
10 Kenny Alfred Washington St. 7-F

  Hull's OG Rankings  
RK Guards College Rnd
1 Mike Iupati Idaho 1
2 John Jerry Ole Miss 2
3 Ciron Black LSU 2-3
4 Jon Asamoah Illinois 3
5 Zane Beadles Utah 4
6 Brandon Carter Texas Tech 4-5
7 Jeff Byers USC 5
8 Mike Johnson Alabama 5-6
9 Marshall Newhouse TCU 6
10 Mitch Petrus Arkansas 6-7
11 Sergio Render Va. Tech 6-7
12 Shawn Lauvao Arizona St. 7
13 Thomas Austin Clemson 7
14 Cord Howard Ga. Tech 7-F
15 Reggie Stephens Iowa St. 7-F

  Hull's OT Rankings  
RK Offensive Tackles College Rnd
1 Russell Okung Oklahoma St. 1
2 Anthony Davis* Rutgers 1
3 Bruce Campbell* Maryland 1
4 Bryan Bulaga* Iowa 1
5 Trent Williams Oklahoma 1
6 Charles Brown USC 1-2
7 Vladimir Ducasse Umass 2
8 Rodger Saffold Indiana 2-3
9 Selvish Capers West Virginia 3
10 Jered Veldheer Hillsdale 3-4
11 Kyle Calloway Iowa 3-4
12 Jason Fox Miami 4
13 Ed Wang Va. Tech 4-5
14 Adam Ulatoski Texas 4-5
15 Mike Tepper Cal 5
16 Sam Young Notre Dame 5-6
17 Drew Davis Alabama 5-6
18 Chris Scott Tennessee 6
19 Chris Marinelli Stanford 6
20 Kevin Haslam Rutgers 6-7
21 Drew Davis Alabama 6-7
22 Thomas Welch Vanderbilt 7
23 Will Barker Virginia 7
24 Dennis Landolt Penn St. 7-F
25 Derek Hardman E. Kentucky 7-F
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