2013 NFL Combine - TE Analysis No. 11-25
Nebraska TE Ben Cotton
Nebraska TE Ben Cotton
Posted Feb 21, 2013

Pre-Combine quick looks at the tight ends invited to Indy. No. 11 to 25

2013 NFL Pre-Combine

TE Rankings - No. 11 to 25

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 - 2013 CFN Pre-Combine TE Rankings, Top Ten 
11. Ben Cotton, Nebraska 6-6, 255  Proj. 6
Positives: Fantastic blocker when it comes to what he's supposed to do. Great form and extremely effective. … Nice hands. He's a natural receiver with the ability to grow into a good midrange target. … Just scratching the surface. He was badly underutilized in the Nebraska offense as a receiver, but he could blow up with more work.

Negatives: Not a blazer in any way. He'll work his way open, but he'll never run by anyone. … An okay blocker, but nothing special. He's technically sound, but he's not going to blast anyone off the ball. … Not anything great athletically. He'll have problems with the quicker defenders with a great first step.

Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? A solid No. 2 tight end who'll be able to do a little of everything right. He'll be a capable, sound pro for a long time.

12. Vance McDonald, Rice 6-5, 260 Proj. 3
Positives: A phenomenal receiver. He's big and can move, able to light up linebackers by catching the ball across the middle and can stretch the field. … Like a big wide receiver. He's used in a variety of ways and could grow into a quarterback's best friend. He'll be a nice safety valve. … Great catching radius. Just get the ball in his area and he'll make the play.

Negatives: Not a blocker. He's purely a receiver and can only work in one way. He wasn't asked to do much hitting in the Rice offense. … Just for the passing game. If he has to block an NFL defensive end, there will be problems. … Not the most natural of receivers. Fights the ball a bit and drops a few too many passes.

Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? He'll put up big stats as a receiver, but he'll need to be paired with a second tight end who can hit.

13. Chris Gragg, Arkansas 6-3, 236 Proj. 4
Positives: A natural wide receiver, he added weight to technically become a tight end. He's really a big wideout. … While he's not a great blocker, he's willing. He'll do his best to get his man shoved. … A tough receiver. He'll go after the ball and he's great when he gets the ball in his hands.

Negatives: Built like a receiver, but he doesn't necessarily run like one. … Is he healthy? A knee injury turned into a problem last year and he has to get 100% healthy. … Not really a blocker. He's not built to blast away on anyone and he'll be eaten up in pass protection.

Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? Purely a next-level receiver. He'll find a niche in a passing game, but he won't be an every down player.

14. Nick Kasa, Colorado 6-5, 271 Proj. 4
Positives: The former defensive lineman is extremely physical and is terrific at coming up with the big block. He might be the best-hitting tight end in the draft. … Could be used at times like an extra offensive tackles. If he packs on ten more pounds he could be even more valuable in pass protection. … Improving as a receiver. Came on last season despite lousy quarterback play.

Negatives: He's not going to be much of a receiver at the next level. His worth will be as an inline blocker and a physical presence. … Not all that athletic. He's never going to stretch the field. … Still learning the position. He needs a ton of technique work.

Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? He'll find a role as a blocker and a second tight end, but he's not going to scare anyone as a receiver.

15. Mychal Rivera, Tennessee 6-3, 240 Proj. 5
Positives: An excellent receiver, he has makes the plays that are coming his way and he doesn't drop many balls. Nice hands. … Better as a blocker when on the move. He's not a big hitter, but he can get the job done when he has a head of steam. He can be a fullback. … Plays like a big wide receiver at times. He's not an elite athlete, but he's more than fine when he has to come up with a play.

Negatives: Size is a factor. He's built more like a tall fullback or a tight end from about ten years ago. He needs to get up to around 255 pounds, but he doesn't really have the frame for it. … Not a physical blocker. He'll try, but he's not a blaster and he's not going to scare anyone. … Not quite athletic enough to make up for other issues. He can move, but he's not going to zip around a tackle.

Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? He's a good athlete and a good enough receiver to make a roster and contribute as a key backup.

16. Jack Doyle, WKU 6-5, 254 Proj. 5
Positives: Just a good all-around tight end. He does a little of everything well. … Strong blocker. He needs some refining, but he brings a pop. … A nice route runner. He's a good, natural receiver and a solid route runner.

Negatives: Not a sticky blocker. He'll hit, but he doesn't sustain well enough. … Needs a lot of technique work. He's a talented player who could use a few years of NFL coaching to reach his potential. … On okay athlete. He's never going to stretch the field and he's just average athletically.

Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? He'll never be a star, but he's solid in too many areas to not sit on a roster for several years.

17. Justice Cunningham, South Carolina 6-4, 264 Proj. 6
Positives: Very physical. He's a big, thick blocker who's great in pass protection and buries his man for the ground game. … A good enough receiver to get by. He finds the soft spots in the zone and he moves well to make the play. … Can be used in jumbo packages and hold his own against the stronger pass rushers.

Negatives: He's just not athletic enough to be used as a regular receiver. His money will be made hitting someone. … Doesn't exactly have a tight end body. He doesn't look the part. … Was an okay part of the Gamecock offense, but it's not like he lit it up with his receiving skills.

Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? He'll stay around the league for a while as a blocker. He'll be a valuable second or third option.

18. Jake Stoneburner, Ohio State 6-4, 241  Proj. 5
Positives: A good blocker for his size. Moves well with his man and is solid at being able get the job done, even though he doesn't blast away. … Upside as a pure receiver. He's a natural when the ball is in the air and has a knack for getting the first down. … Get the ball in his area and he'll catch it. Adjusts well.

Negatives: Just not athletic enough for his size. He's not slow, but he's not an elite runner. … Not a big body. He has the room to add a little more to his frame, but he's not bulky and isn't all that physical. … Needs a lot of refinement as a route runner and a receiver. He needs to work on the finer points and has to be much, much tighter and more precise.

Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? He'll be a No. 3 tight end for a while and will get a few chances as purely a receiver.

19. D.C. Jefferson, Rutgers 6-5, 255  Proj. 7
Positives: A former quarterback, he's a smart athlete who knows what he needs to do. He finds the holes. … A nice blocker with a great frame. Still emerging and might just now be figuring it all out. … A big target. Takes up a lot of room and is easy to find. Underutilized, he could flourish with an NFL quarterback getting him the ball.

Negatives: Not a great athlete. He can move just well enough to get by, but he's not going to scare a defense. … A willing blocker, but not a special one. He needs a lot of reps and some more coaching. … Purely a prospect. Wasn't a big part of the passing game.

Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? A project, he has intriguing tools, but it could be tough to make a roster much less the field.

20. Matt Furstenburg, Maryland 6-4, 241 Proj. FREE AGENT
Positives: A nice athlete, he's smooth, runs well and cuts without a problem. … A natural receiver. He adjusts well and is able to make a quarterback look better. … Refined. His technique in all phases is solid.

Negatives: Doesn't have the NFL skills. He's a good football player but he doesn't have the size, speed or overall talent to be a starter. … Needs to get a lot stronger and has to add at least ten pounds of good muscle. … Willing to do what's needed, but he loses his share of battles both as a blocker and a receiver.

Really, What's He Going To Do In The NFL? A backup who'll make a roster.

21. Chris Pantale, Boston College 6-5, 256 Proj. FREE AGENT
22. Zach Sudfeld, Nevada 6-6, 261 Proj. FREE AGENT
23. Joseph Fauria, UCLA 6-7, 257 Proj. FREE AGENT
24. Ryan Griffin, Connecticut 6-6, 247 Proj. FREE AGENT
25. Luke Willson, Rice 6-4, 252 Proj. FREE AGENT 

 - 2013 CFN Pre-Combine TE Rankings, Top Ten