Best Tight Ends
Mar. 10, 2002
NFL teams are always in need of talented tight ends, and this year's class is loaded. Here's a look at the prospects and where we see them be selected on draft day.
Shockey came out early after having a great junior year. He is a tremendous receiver for a big man, and is very good once he gets the ball in his hands. He needs to add some bulk to help improve his blocking. He's still fairly new to the position and has huge upside.
Ranking: No. 8, 1st Round.
Graham is quite possibily the best overall prospect of this class. He's not as explosive a receiver as Jeremy Shockey, but his blocking skills are much better at this point. He has everything it takes to be an elite tight end in the NFL.
Ranking: No. 15, 1st Round.
Stephens is the wildcard of this class. He's huge and is strong in all aspects of the game. So why is he ranked as the third best tight end? He's been very prone to injury and has some legal issues pending. He'll probably either be a big star or a big bust.
Ranking: No. 27, 1st Round.
McMichael is the best receiver in this group. The problem is he's small and wasn't asked to do anything other than catch passes at Georgia. He's likely to end up at H-Back, which limits his draft possibilities somewhat.
Ranking: No. 36, 2nd Round.
Sanders came out after his junior year. With another season under his belt we could be looking at a first round pick. Right now he still has some improving to do, mostly in the finer points of route running and getting open. He could possibly develop into very good starting tight end.
Ranking: No. 48, 2nd Round.
Like his big brother Aaron (Bills' DE), Matt Schobel is a tremendous athlete. He hasn't played tight end very long and is still pretty raw. He's a bit of a project with a ton of talent.
Ranking: No. 57, 2nd Round.
Joey Harrington's go to guy. Peelle is very average in all aspects of the game. The thing that sets him apart is his ability to be a clutch player. He is very good at getting open and catching the ball. He's not a great blocker, but always gets it done when it's needed. Overall he's just a great leader.
Ranking: No. 71, 3rd Round.
Smith ranks near the top of this class in every category except one; he blocks like wide receiver. Only time will tell if he can improve enough to see a lot of action.
Ranking: No. 75, 3rd Round.
Jolley is your typical overachiever. He lacks experience and his blocking needs a lot of work. It's his receiving skills that set him apart, and they aren't fully developed. He'll probably never be an every down player, but is likely to make a name for himself as a receiver.
Ranking: No. 79, 3rd Round.
Looking at Royal makes us wonder why this kid isn't great. He has all the tools, and looked great in about four games this year. If he finds the desire to be a great player, he very well could be a starter in time.
Ranking: No. 83, 3rd Round.
Jones was considered one of the best young tight ends in the country a couple of seasons ago. Then he tore up a knee and hasn't quite been the same player. If he can make it back to his former form, then we could be looking at a potential starter. If not, he may be moved to offensive tackle due to his great blocking skills.
Ranking: No. 114, 4th Round.
Wistrom is our sleeper pick out of this class. After a fine junior season, he just couldn't seem to stay healthy this season. He has good speed and very good receiving skills. With some improvement in his blocking and some added bulk, he could develop into a starter down the road.
Ranking: No. 126, 4th Round.
Dominating. That is what we saw when we watched this kid play. Heinrich has everything the scouts want except Division One experience. Time will tell if he can make the jump to the next level.
Ranking: No. 130, 4th Round.
Owens has the size and speed combination to make him a first round pick. Problem is he has only played tight end one season, and is very raw. He did enough in that one season to warrant a late round selection. If he fails at tight end, he may end up back on the defensive side of the ball.
Ranking: No. 160, 5th Round.
We feel Blakley is a very underrated prospect. However, he lacks a little in size and is injury prone. Even with that in mind, he should find a home at the next level based on his exceptional receiving skills.
Ranking: No. 179, 6th Round.
Luzar is huge. He's a project who'll need some time to develop. At this point he's an average tight end with great size.
Ranking: No. 183, 6th Round.
Hayes is another Division I-AA product. He appears to have all the tools to play the NFL game; only time will tell if he can produce at the next level.
Ranking: No. 214, 7th Round.