2012 NFL Draft - The Tight Ends
Georgia TE Orson Charles
Georgia TE Orson Charles
Posted Apr 18, 2012

From a college football perspective, the analysis of the top tight end prospects.

2012 NFL Draft Position Rankings

Tight Ends

By Pete Fiutak

- 2012 NFL Tight End Rankings - No. 11-20

- Wide Receivers
- Tight Ends
- Centers
- Offensive Tackles 
- Offensive Guards
- Defensive Tackles
- Inside LBs
- Outside LBs
- Cornerbacks
- Safeties


2011 NFL Prospect Rankings & Breakdowns
- QBs | RBs | FBs | WRs
- TEs | OTs | OGs | Cs 
- OLBs | ILBs | DTs | DEs
- CBs | Ss

2011 NFL Post-Combine Draft Rankings
- Top 32 Talents
- 2nd Rounders
- 3rd Rounders
- 4th Rounders
- 5th Rounders
- 6th Rounders
- 7th Rounders & Top Free Agents  


2010 CFN Talent Rankings
- 1st Rounders
- 2nd Rounders
- 3rd Rounders
- 4th Rounders
- 5th Rounders
- 6th Rounders
- 7th Rounders 
- Top Free Agent Talents 

2010 CFN Position Rankings & Analysis

- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs
- Cs | OTs | OGs | DEs
- DTs | ILBs | OLBs
- Ss | CBs
This Class Is … Mediocre. There aren't any sure-thing stars and there are way too many question marks. Blocking isn't a part of the equation for most of the top prospects, but almost everyone can catch and most will be tried out as receivers. There will be some decent boom picks midway through the position and there's no real need to invest high after the top three prospects.

The Best Value Pick Will Be … Kevin Koger, Michigan
Most Underrated … Deangelo Peterson, LSU
Most Overrated … Coby Fleener, Stanford
The Deep, Deep Sleeper Is … Lamont Bryant, Morgan State

1. Orson Charles, Georgia (Jr.) 6-3, 251
Like a wide receiver playing tight end, Charles is a nice route runner with great hands. He has the potential to be a go-to target who can make midrange plays to go along with moving the chains, and he's just good enough of a blocker to not be a liability. Rocked up, he looks the part with a strong, muscular frame, but he doesn't really do too much for the ground game. He'll fight to make a block, and he cranked out 35 reps on the bench at the Combine, but he's not going to flatten his man. His worth is as a target and with a little bit of route-running refinement and work he can be a featured playmaker in an attack who can take the heat off a No. 1 target. The speed is there and the strength is in place, and now it's just up to the quarterback to get him the ball.
CFN Projection: Second Round

2. Dwayne Allen, Clemson (Jr.) 6-4, 255
All the tools are there to be everything for everyone. One of the best all-around tight ends in the draft, he's a nice receiver with soft hands, and he's just strong enough to be a good blocker. He's aggressive and was a major producer in a high-octane attack, and now he has the potential to become a key part of any passing game. With the right size and the right body type, he looks the part of a go-to NFL tight end. Like most tight ends, though, he needs to be a better route runner and he could stand to be a more dominant run blocker, but he's going to be a sound part of an offense for a long time. He might not be a star, but he'll be a great starter.
CFN Projection: Second Round

3. Coby Fleener, Stanford 6-6, 252
Very tall, very big, and a very good receiver, he's not Jimmy Graham athletically but he has the same sort of body type and knows how to dominate smaller defensive backs. With great hands, he doesn't drop the ball and is a good fighter when the ball is in the air. He didn't need to bail out Andrew Luck too often, but he helped the cause coming up with several big plays highlighted by a huge game in the 2011 Orange Bowl. However, he only had a few big games last year despite scoring ten times. The potential is there to be a stat-sheet filler and become a pure receiver, but forget about blocking. While he'll try, he doesn't get enough of a push and he's not going to do too much for the ground game. Yes, he's an athletic receiver, but he's not an elite athlete and is more of a football player than a workout warrior.
CFN Projection: Second Round

4. Michael Egnew, Missouri 6-5, 236
When he had Blaine Gabbert throwing his way, he was a dominant producer and a sure-thing target on short-to-midrange plays. While he was fine last year with James Franklin under center, he was able to change things up a bit and improved as a blocker. Yes, he got better for the running game, but he's not a blaster of a run blocker and he isn't going to do much to hit at the next level. However, he's willing to do whatever is needed, and with good size and speed, he can find a fit in any offense and can be a solid starter for a long time as a receiving tight end. The potential is there to become a whale of a safety valve.
CFN Projection: Third Round

5. Deangelo Peterson, LSU 6-3, 243
Is he just scratching the surface? He's a great receiver who wasn't used enough in an offense that couldn't seem to throw the forward pass on a consistent basis. A phenomenal recruit, he has all the talent and all the skills to potentially be a much, much better pro once he's finally utilized the right way. Even after bulking up a bit he's still a strong athlete who runs well and can stretch the field enough to be a dangerous go-to target. This is as big as he's going to get, but he's one of the best blockers among the top tight end prospects. There are still a few question marks about whether or not he can actually be a consistent playmaker, but again, blame that on the LSU quarterbacks. He could be one of the mid-round steals of the draft.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

6. Ladarius Green, Louisiana-Lafayette 6-6, 238
Purely a receiving tight end, he's a blossoming wide receiver who'll be put in an H-Back hybrid role. Really, really, REALLY fast, he's a sub-4.5 runner and he knows how to use his size and his athleticism to destroy his man. While he's not going to huge anyone just because he's too lanky, he's going to do everything asked of him and he's going to bust his tail to make sure he works with the coaching staff. As long as everyone knows what he's going to be, and as long as there aren't expectations for big blocks for the ground game, he could be a terrific target who'll exploit one-on-one coverage. Some offensive coordinator will be ecstatic in the middle of the draft to get the Ragin' Cajun.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

7. George Bryan, NC State 6-6, 265
Very big and very tough, he's the best blocker of any of the top tight end options. While he's a nice receiver who turned in a productive career, his worth will be on short-to-midrange plays and as a pass protector. He's going to play like a third offensive tackle, but he also runs like one – a slow one. Forget about stretching the field and there's little suddenness to his game, but he's always working, is a great leader, and he doesn't need any motivation. He'll never be a No. 1 tight end, but he'll be extremely valuable as a key backup.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

8. Rhett Ellison, USC 6-4, 251
Part tight end and part fullback, he's a strong blocker who can be utilized in a variety of roles. Line him up at H-Back, in the backfield, or as a true tight end; he'll do whatever it takes to make a team. While not much of a receiver, he wasn't used much in the USC offense and he never stretched the field. While he's a good blocker, he's not quite built to be a true NFL fullback on a full-time basis. There are plenty of reasons to not draft him, and he might be more of a luxury item, but he'll find a role for anyone who makes the pick.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

9. Kevin Koger, Michigan 6-4, 262
There's plenty of upside and he could be a nice mid-round sleeper depending on the coaching and the system. Even though he never had a top passing quarterback throwing his way he still did a nice job of making himself a part of the passing game. While he's not fast, he does a decent job with the ball in his hands and he should be great around the goal line. A decent blocker, in a class full of tight ends who can't hit anyone he'll stand out and will be functional. His boom potential comes from more polish as a receiver. He needs to camp out with a JUGS machine and learn to not fight the ball, but he could become a nice pick with time.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

10. David Paulson, Oregon 6-3, 246
A good receiver who flew under the radar in the high-octane Duck attack, he's a good receiver who attacks the ball and will go and get anything in his general area. Tough, smart, and the type of football player every coach wants to have, he'll make it really hard to get cut. However, he's not the best athlete, isn't much of a power blocker, and he doesn't have any elite NFL skills. He can't be a No. 1 target and might have to find a role on special teams early on, but he's a good enough football player to force himself into a role.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

- 2012 NFL Tight End Rankings - No. 11-20