2012 NFL Draft Analysis - TEs No. 11-20
Oklahoma TE James Hanna
Oklahoma TE James Hanna
Posted Apr 18, 2012

From a college football perspective, here's the analysis of all the top tight end prospects.

2012 NFL Draft Position Rankings

TEs - No. 11-20

By Pete Fiutak

- 2012 NFL Tight End Rankings - Top Ten
11. James Hanna, Oklahoma 6-3, 252
Really, really, REALLY fast, he's a mid-4.4 runner with the wheels to stretch the field and the hands and moves to make things happen around the goal line. With good size, he proved he could run even at a bigger size and can still get more physical. This offseason he proved to be far more athletic than he shows on tape with better raw skills and tools than just about any tight end in the draft. However, he didn't actually do much on deep plays and wasn't a go-to target. He's not a great blocker and he needs a lot of work on his route running ability, but he's too athletic not to develop.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

12. Drake Dunsmore, Northwestern 6-2, 241
Not just a back, he was a Superback, filling a variety of roles for the Wildcats including receiving tight end, fullback, and H-back. A terrific receiver, he can get deep and is a smart route runner who finds ways to get into the open. Productive, he was very good for a long time. Built like a pumped up wideout, he's not a blocker and he didn't do much for the ground game when he lined up at fullback. Durability will be a major problem after suffering through a variety of problems. The versatility will make him draftable, but he doesn't have enough NFL skills to stand out as a starter.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

13. Evan Rodriguez, Temple 6-2 244
Originally considered a fullback prospect, he worked out at tight end this offseason and showed he could be like a poor man's Aaron Hernandez. He's not all that tall and he's built a bit like a blocker, but he's an athletic receiver who moves well, times fast, and has the look of a possible sleeper target who can be a key part of a passing game. He'll block, but he's not going to blast away on anyone. In this class, though, he's one of the better hitters. There are warning signs after some off-the-field issues, and he might not be good enough in any one area to be a strong starter, but he's a good enough receiver to find a home as an H-back.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

14. Nick Provo, Syracuse 6-3, 237
A strong receiver, he grew into the job last year and showed the ability to become a go-to target. While he might not time well or be a workout star, he's football fast and he looks the part on the field. Just athletic enough to cause a few matchup problems, he could find a role as a third down producer who moves the chains on short-to-midrange throws. Blocking isn't a plus, but he doesn't shy away from contact and he'll do whatever is needed to make a play. There's upside considering there isn't a big body of work thanks to a slew of injury issues, but he's used to being a part of a pro attack and he could be a find if he hits the weights a bit.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

15. Brad Smelley, Alabama (FB) 6-2, 233
A jack of all trades player, he could find a home as a fullback who'll occasionally move outside to tight end. A great H-back prospect and a proven receiver, he turned into a big part of a national championship offense and emerged as AJ McCarron and the Tide passing game started to improve. A good blocker and with nice hands and smarts, he's a good football player. However, he doesn't have NFL talent missing athleticism and the right body. Built like a fullback, he's too short and doesn't have the speed to make up for it. A bit of a luxury pick, he'll be a special teamer to start before being a decent backup option at several spots.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

16. Anthony Miller, California 6-3, 255
A great worker and a self-motivator, he's a strong, willing blocker who's always hustling and always trying to get better. With nice receiving ability he's reliable on short-to-midrange passes and could find a niche as a third down move-the-chains guy. While he doesn't have any speed and he's not a great athlete, he seems to find ways to get open after he gears up a bit. Just an okay blocker, there isn't any one thing he does at an NFL level other than battle. More of a throwback football player than a tight end for today's passing game, he'll have a hard time making a team if he doesn't find a role right away in a camp.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

17. Brian Linthicum, Michigan State 6-4, 249
Built like a big receiver, he's a big target with good speed and a nice ability to get open. He's quick, tough, and plays a bit bigger than his size. There are enough warning signs to stay away – he has knee problems and had an altercation with police after a bar fight – and he's not a blocker. There's a lot of work needing to be done on his mechanics, and he didn't score last year, but there's upside if he can add about ten pounds of good weight. He won't be anyone's No. 1 receiver, but he might be a nice add-on and a second tight end.
CFN Projection: Seventh Round

18. Cory Harkey, UCLA 6-4, 260
With great size and nice toughness, he's a bit of a throwback tight end with good blocking skills and with excellent work in pass protection. If needed he could get up to around 275 pounds and find a home as a true blocker, but he has just enough upside to grow into a decent all-around player in two tight end formations – eventually. One catch, ten yards. That was his 2011, and while the UCLA offense was bad, it wasn't 1-for-10 bad. He'll never stretch a field and he'll never be a go-to target, but he could find a home on a team that needs more blocking and a few short-yardage catches.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

19. Brandon Barden, Vanderbilt 6-5, 240
A very smart, very good route runner, he could find a role as a No. 2 pass catching tight end to utilize his good hands and ability to find holes in the seam. He'll be knocked down on a few draft charts after being banged up last year, but when healthy he could be a late round/free agent steal with the make-up to step in and be ready off the bench. Forget about getting a big block and he's not a good enough athlete to stand out, but he could surprise if he can get a quarterback's trust to move the chains.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

20. Adam Nissley, UCF 6-5, 263
Very slow and not an athlete, but he's a blocker who fits the role of a third tight end for jumbo packages. Able to be used like a third offensive tackle, he's a tough blocker who spent a long and solid career hitting people for a good UCF ground game. He blasts his man and gets the shove needed – he does all the dirty work. Not a receiver, he can make a few grabs but he'll never scare anyone. Not a starter, he'll get a long look in a camp by a power running team that lives on generating hard yards.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

- 2012 NFL Tight End Rankings - Top Ten