2012 NFL Combine - Tight End Analysis
Georgia TE Orson Charles
Georgia TE Orson Charles
Posted Feb 17, 2012

Pre-Combine quick looks at the tight ends invited to Indy.

2012 NFL Pre-Combine

Tight End Rankings

- 2013 Prospects: Offense
- 2013 Prospects: Defense

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- 2012 CFN Pre-Combine WR Rankings 
- 2012 CFN Pre-Combine WR Rankings, No. 11-25 

1. Orson Charles, Georgia (Jr.) 6-3, 245 Proj. 2
Positives: Like a receiver playing tight end. Has nice soft hands and sucks everything in. … Looks the part. Rocked up with weight room and functional strength. A good enough blocker to get by. … Athletic enough to fit the New England Patriot world of tight ends. He could be a featured playmaker in a passing attack.

Negatives: As big as he's going to get. Has no more room to add muscle on his frame. … Not a blaster of a blocker. Not going to do much for the ground game. … Just a receiver. He'll be tried out as an H-back, but he'll be at his best being used like a slot receiver.

2. Dwayne Allen, Clemson (Jr.) 6-4, 255 Proj. 2
Positives: One of the best do-it-all tight ends in the draft. A strong receiver and a good enough blocker to be used for the ground game. … Great hands. Makes every grab and doesn't fight the ball. … Ideal size. Looks the part and has the right frame and skills.

Negatives: Possibly the best all-around tight end, but doesn't dominate at any one thing. … A good blocker. A functional blocker. Not a phenomenal blocker. Gets the job done, but isn't special. … Could stand to be more of a killer. He needs an attitude to put his man into the fifth row.

3. Michael Egnew, Missouri 6-5, 236Proj. 3
Positives: Possibly the best pass catching tight end in college football over the last few years. A pure receiver working technically as a tight end. … Makes plays with the ball in his hands. Knows what to do when he gets the ball on the move. … Willing to do whatever is needed. Great at working across the middle along with stretching the field.

Negatives: He'll work as a blocker. He'll try and he'll do whatever he has to. He's just not that great at it. He's not going to work in every system and he'll almost never put a defender on his back. … Thin. Tall and a bit wiry, built like a beefed up wide receiver. … Missouri tight ends put up inflated numbers.

4. Coby Fleener, Stanford 6-6, 252 Proj. 2
Positives: Big. A tall target with the ability to use his frame and his height to create mismatches. … Surprisingly agile and quick for his size. … Can stretch the field. A big play target who has the right blend of speed, size, and athleticism to be a statistical machine. With his size and skills, he could be a poor man's Jimmy Graham. … Great hands. Doesn't drop the ball and will fight for it.

Negatives: Forget about blocking. He's too tall to get any sort of leverage for the running game. Only a pass blocker. ,,, Not an elite athlete. Athletic, but he's not going to jump out of the stadium. … Not that productive. Had a monster Orange Bowl two years ago, but only had a few decent games in 2011 despite catching ten scoring passes.

5. Deangelo Peterson, LSU 6-3, 229 Proj. 4
Positives: A great receiver who might be scratching the surface. A phenomenal recruit who was never used as much as he should've been. … Athletic. He's a seam-stretcher who should be a much more productive and much better pro than a collegian once he gets a good passer throwing his way. … Strong. Built like a bulked up wide receiver and has the ability to be a go-to target.

Negatives: This is it as far as size. He's stretched out and doesn't have any more room to add more muscle. … An okay blocker and a willing one, but not big enough to blow anyone in the NFL off the ball. … Only caught three career touchdown passes. Wasn't used much last year catching no more than two passes in any game after the Oregon win.

6. Ladarius Green, Louisiana-Lafayette 6-6, 237Proj. 4
Positives: A pure receiving tight end who was used like a wide receiver at times. … Tall, and knows how to use his frame and is great at walling off defenders to make a grab. … Great when the ball is in the air. He'll go after it and will be terrific on jump balls.

Negatives: Lacks burst. Not quick in his cuts and doesn't move like an elite wide receiver. … Good hands, but not great ones. He'll fight the ball a bit at times. … Forget about him as an in-line blocker. He doesn't have the frame of the functional strength to push anyone around.

7. George Bryan, NC State 6-6, 268Proj. 5
Positives: A big, tough, and uses his frame well. Has one of the best-sized tight ends in the draft with good height and the bulk to beat people up. … A nice receiver. Turned in a consistent and productive career. … A vocal leader. He's always jacked up and he's always on. Doesn't need any motivation.

Negatives: A blocker without the athleticism to make big plays down the field. He might be a goal line target, but that's it. … SLOW. He'll never get off the ball and won't stretch the field. … Doesn't cut well. He'll be covered without much of a problem.

8. Brian Linthicum, Michigan State 6-4, 249 Proj. 4
Positives: Grew into a terrific and reliable receiver as last year went on. Ended up as an occasional go-to target. … Good quickness down the field. A good route runner with nice hands. … A decent downfield blocker. Willing to hustle to help come up with the big play.

Negatives: 31 catches in 2011. No touchdowns. … Durability concerns after fighting through knee injuries. … Not athletic enough. He's a good route runner, but he's not a quick one and will be covered easily.

9. Rhett Ellison, USC 6-4, 250Proj. 4
Positives: Can work in a variety of roles and could make his mark as a fullback. He can line up in the backfield if needed. … A fighter. He'll do anything needed and will do whatever it takes to make a team. … A nice short range target. He'll take the shot and make the catch.

Negatives: Not a receiver. Wasn't used much in the USC offense and never stretched the field. … Not strong enough to be a top blocker and not quick enough to scare anyone as a receiver. … Doesn't don any one thing at a high level. He'll make a team by doing a little of everything, but he'll be replaceable.

10. David Paulson, Oregon 6-3, 243Proj. 6
Positives: Attacks the ball. He'll go and get it when it's put in his general area. … Busts his tail. He'll do whatever is needed to make a play or help the team. … Always working. He doesn't quit on plays and is creative at getting open.

Negatives: Severely limited athletically. He's never going to scare anyone with his quickness. … Can't block at a high level. He'll be willing, but he won't be able to flatten anyone. … He needs to find the right team and the right system. He can't be a No. 1 tight end and might need to make his mark on special teams.

11. Drake Dunsmore, Northwestern 6-2, 238Proj. 5
Positives: Ultra-productive receiver who worked in a "Superback" role. Did a little of everything. … Nice hands and a great route runner. A terrific pure receiver who can get deep. … Good in the open field. Works to get open and does nice things with the ball in his hands.

Negatives: Not big. Built like a slender fullback and not like a true tight end. … Not enough of a blocker. He lined up at times at fullback, but didn't really do much from the spot for the ground game. … Injury concerns. Got past a slew of problems, but he has a history of red flags.

12. Kevin Koger, Michigan 6-4, 262 Proj. 4
Positives: Might be just scratching the surface. Did a nice job as a receiver even though he didn't have a top-shelf passer throwing his way. … Was a consistent outlet target. Showed good ability around the goal line and wasn't bad after the catch. … Has a nice frame and beefed up. Put on good weight over the last year and showed he could handle it.

Negatives: Doesn't use his size well enough as a blocker. He's a decent hitter, but not a great one. … Not a great route runner. He'll catch the ball, but he's not sudden out of his cuts and isn't quick. … Fights the ball a bit. Doesn't always suck everything in and he has to have the ball come his way. He won't bail out the passer.

13. Nick Provo, Syracuse 6-3, 251Proj. 5
Positives: Turned in a terrific 2011 growing into a top-shelf receiver. Blew up West Virginia for three scores. … Looks the part size-wise with a filled out frame. He's a big target. …A willing blocker. Not afraid to do the dirty work.

Negatives: Limited athleticism. He gets open, but he doesn't have much pop on the move. … A mediocre blocker. He'll try, but he's not great at it. … Injury problems. Didn't put it all together until his final season.

14. Brad Smelley, Alabama (FB) 6-2, 233Proj. 6
Positives: A good jack-of-all-trades. He could make a living as an H-back and is a proven receiver. … Came up with big games late in the year when the team needed him the most. 17 of his 34 grabs and there of his four scores came in the final three games. … Reliable. Does whatever is needed.

Negatives: Not a top athlete. Isn't going to make anyone miss and has to fight to be forgotten about to get open. … A good blocker, but not an killer of an NFL fullback prospect. He might have to be used as an H-back. … Marginal production. Not a field stretcher in any way.

15. Anthony Miller, California 6-3, 255 Proj. 6
Positives: He'll fight to make a team and make a play. He's always working. A hustle guy. … Nice short-range ability. He was reliable on midrange plays and was a decent outlet target. … A willing blocker who'll put in the effort needed.

Negatives: Not an elite receiver or an athlete. He won't stretch the field. … Doesn't come up with much of a pop for the ground game. He'll hold his block, but he won't get a shove. .. Not athletic enough. Needs to find one thing he can do at an NFL level.

16. James Hanna, Oklahoma 6-3, 244 Proj. FA
Positives: A good goal line receiver who makes plays when needed. A touchdown maker in 2010 with seven of his eight grabs going for scores and became more reliable last year. … Nice size and got bigger. He filled out his frame a bit and should be more physical. .. Reliable and willing to work. He'll be a special teamer if needed.

Negatives: Doesn't stretch the field. He's a prospect for short range and goal line plays. That's about it. … This is as big as he'll get. He might be able to add a few more pounds, but this is it. … Limited athlete. Doesn't fly out of his cuts. Nothing sudden about his game.

17. Cory Harkey, UCLA 6-4, 262 Proj. FA
Positives: Big. Really big and imposing. A good pass-catching prospect who could show far more as a pro than he did in college. … A terrific blocker. He slimmed down a bit, but he can work at around 275 pounds if absolutely needed. … Perfect for two-tight end sets. He'll hit someone.

Negatives: One catch, ten yards. That was his 2011. … Has to keep his weight in check. Played at over 270 to be a blocker, but that all but ended his prospects as a receiver. … A blocker. He's a luxury player to keep on a roster if he can't show anything as a target.

18. Brandon Barden, Vanderbilt 6-5, 240 Proj. FA
Positives: Very smart, very good route runner who could find a role as a No. 2 pass catching tight end. … Tall and with nice hands. Had a strong junior year but missed time hurt last year. When healthy, he's a good target. … Moves well. Shifts in and out of his cuts well.

Negatives: Dinged up last year. His production was cut in half. Not big enough to withstand a big pounding. … Not much of a blocker. He'll chip, but that's about it. He's not going to get any sort of a shove. … Needs to show quick route-running ability. He can move, but can he get open against an NFL defender?

19. Aron White, Georgia 6-4, 225 Proj. FA
Positives: An interesting prospect who might be scratching the surface. Phenomenal skills, but he never seemed able to break through… Long. A great frame and nice wingspan making him longer and bigger than he is. … 34 catches, ten touchdowns. He might have been a bust at Georgia considering he was a superstar prospect, but there's a ton of upside.

Negatives: Won't/can't block. Not nearly big enough to push anyone around. … The knock is that he's not going to give up the big effort to run block. … A red-zone target, but considering he was a huge get for the Dawgs, 34 catches was a mega-disappointment. He never blossomed.

20. Kyle Efaw, Boise State 6-3, 237Proj. FA
Positives: Turned in a nice career as a key target for Kellen Moore. Ultra-reliable as a route runner and a receiver. … Always working. A willing blocker who did a nice job of hustling to make things happen down the field. … Tough. Always managed to hold up despite taking a pounding from time to time across the middle.

Negatives: Not athletic enough for his size. A good college producer who doesn't have what it takes to make a splash in the pros. … Smallish. Too thin and doesn't have a thick frame. … Not shifty. He'll run the route, make the catch, and that's it.
- 2012 CFN Pre-Combine WR Rankings 
- 2012 CFN Pre-Combine WR Rankings, No. 11-25