Back in Play

As the offense rankings continue to chug along, Head Scout Brent Sobleski gives his insight on the top players among the tight end class.    A position which has plenty of potential dependent on upcoming medicals.  If not for all the injury issues, this would have been considered a fantastic group.  Extended comments are included for all his rankings.

Tight Ends

Rank Full Name School Rnd Comments
1 Aaron Hernandez Florida 1-2 A multi-tool threat for the Gators.   Hernandez’s prevalence in their system this year was due to multiple weapons lost the previous off season.   This prospect took advantage of the void by becoming the team’s top target.  He was used in a number of manners as a split end, tight end, wing, pitch option, etc.  As such, his overall athleticism is readily evident.   Hernandez is far from a traditional tight end prospect, but can be very valuable with a creative play caller using him properly at the next level.
2 Rob Gronkowski Arizona 2 A serious back injury derailed Gronkowski’s season and some thought even his career.   His recovery has obviously gone better than expected.  So much so, he felt he was ready for the next level.   If fully healthy, this tight end would have been a first round selection.
3 Jermaine Gresham Oklahoma 2 Gresham’s problems derive from knee injuries.  One which kept him out his senior campaign in Norman, and one in high school.  Both knees have now been rebuilt.   On the field, Gresham was a fantastic receiving option as a junior.  He has enough burst to be a threat down the seam and big enough to really ward off defenders.   His blocking is inconsistent, but he has shown flashes when called upon.
4 Tony Moeaki Iowa 3 Much like the two prospects rated just ahead of Moeaki, the Iowa tight end has had his own injury issues.   None particularly devastating, but multiple nagging problems.   Coach Kirk Ferentz has called him the best he has every coached at the position.   And when fully healthy he is a fantastic receiving target that also blocks with leverage and tenacity.
5 Colin Peek Alabama 3-4 If one looks at Peek’s statistics, he does not come off as anything impressive.  But watching him as he developed in Alabama’s pro style attack this season may make him the most ready prospect in this particular positional class.  Peek is a willing and ample blocker who also has enough athleticism and length to be a threat in the seam as well as the red zone.  He is an ideal target for the type of offenses which their tight ends to control the middle of the field.  Surely there are no regrets for this prospect after transferring to Tuscaloosa from Georgia Tech.
6 Anthony McCoy USC 3 Physically, McCoy should be one of the top two or three tight ends taken off the board.  He has displayed the ability to take over games during his time at USC.  Unfortunately, those were few and far between.   McCoy tends to disappear in games and is rarely the team’s top target.
7 Ed Dickson Oregon 3-4 More of a slot receiver than a true tight end while playing in Oregon’s spread offense Dickson is a nice receiving option.   He is athletic and presents a mismatch problem for linebackers.   As a traditional inline tight end prospect, his potential is still questionable at best.
8 Jimmy Graham Miami 4 Cashing in with his one year experiment of playing football after entering the “U” as a basketball player, Graham has tremendous physical upside.   During the season he did struggle getting a feel for the game while dropping some easily catchable passes.   With his size and athletic ability, Graham has the potential to develop into an outstanding redzone target.
9 Dennis Pitta BYU 4 One of the most prolific tight end prospects to ever leave the college ranks.  Like a few of his contemporaries, Pitta was most often found lined up wide.  As a senior, his inline blocking did improve to a degree but it is still below average.  This tight end is not a top notch athlete like some listed above, but no prospect is more reliable and could easily become a wonderful check down option for some quarterback in the NFL.
10 Garrett Graham Wisconsin 4 Over the last three years, Garrett Graham has been the Badgers top target in their passing attack.  He strung together his best season as a senior with individual game highs in yardage, catches, and led his team in touchdown receptions.  Graham is not the biggest, most physical, or an elite athlete at the position; but he finds ways to get open and often makes tough catches over the middle and in the endzone.  Some project him as a fullback/H-back at the next level.
11 Nate Byham Pitt 5 An extension of the offensive line, Byham is as good a blocking tight end as seen in recent years.  He is not the most powerful at the point of attack but plays with good leverage and constantly drives defenders to the best of his ability.  With the implementation of his opposite Dorin Dickerson as a primary target within the offense, Byham’s usage in the passing attack lessened than in previous years.   He was still able to make a few prominent catches throughout the season displaying his ability is said facet of the game.
12 Andrew Quarless Penn St. 5-6 A very good athlete that contributed every year at Penn State.  Quarless had to overcome some off the field issues being suspended twice by Coach Paterno earlier in his career.  He then put together his finest season as a senior.  Recently in All Star participation, Quarless has shown quite a bit of ability improving his stock as a solid receiving/H-back option.
13 Nathan Overbay E. Washington 6-7 A nice sized target at a listed 6-feet-5-inches tall and 270 pounds, Overbay was also quite productive during the past two years at Eastern Washington.  Recently, he failed to impress at the Shrine Game with a lack of burst and speed to be a consistent threat in the passing attack.
14 Jeron Mastrud Kansas St. 6-7 Battling through a foot injury currently, this long and lanky target will have to wait and see his diagnosis to impress scouts with a late pro day workout.  Prior to said injury Mastrud put together a solid, albeit somewhat underwhelming, senior campaign with the return of Coach Snyder at the helm where his talents were not utilized to full capacity.
15 Michael Hoomanawanui Illinoiis 7 A prospect which entered the season rather highly regarded.   He found his way on the bench after struggling for large parts of the season while missing three games due to an ankle injury.   To counter his lack of speed and quickness, Hoomanawanui is a physical prospect that likes to use his body to shield defenders while making catches.