2013 NFL Draft - Tight Ends

Posted Apr 23, 2013

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

2013 NFL Draft Position Rankings

Tight Ends

By Pete Fiutak
Follow Us ... @ColFootballNews 

2013 NFL Draft Analysis
- Quarterbacks | Run Backs | Fullbacks | Receivers
- Tight Ends | Off Tackles | Off Guards | Centers
- Defensive Ends | Inside LBs | Outside LBs
- Cornerbacks | Safeties | Kickers & Punters

2014 Top TE Prospects

1. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington (Jr.)
2. C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa
3. Nick O'Leary, Florida State (Jr.)
4. Ben Koyack, Notre Dame (Jr.)
5. Devin Funchess, Michigan (Soph.)*
6. Chris Coyle, Arizona State
7. Jacob Pedersen, Wisconsin
8. Jay Rome, Georgia (Soph.)
9. Jordan Najvar, Baylor
10. Jace Amaro, Texas Tech (Jr.)
11. Xavier Grimble, USC (Jr.)
12. Asa Watson, NC State
13. Justin Jones, East Carolina
14. Kaneakua Friel, BYU
*Not eligible until 2015
2012 CFN Prospect Rankings & Breakdowns
- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs
- Cs | OTs | OGs | DTs
- ILBs | OLBs | CBs | Ss

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

2010 CFN Position Rankings & Analysis

- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs
- Cs | OTs | OGs | DEs
- DTs | ILBs | OLBs
- Ss | CBs
1. TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame (Jr.) 6-6, 251
With prototype size and speed, he's like a big wide receiver with excellent athleticism and tremendous hands. A strong route runner, he works himself open and shows a huge catching radius – get the ball anywhere near him and he'll get it. With his leaping ability and frame, he makes himself even bigger and can be used on jump balls around the goal line, and he can be a reliable third down target who becomes a quarterback's best friend. The best part is that there's still room to grow and improve with more bulk to be added to his frame with the ability to get up to 265 pounds without losing a thing. He's not an elite blocker, but he's fine, and while he's going to struggle against the more physical linebackers, he'll be fine against any defensive back. The sky's the limit and he'll become an elite target who fits the mold.
CFN Projection: First Round

2. TE Zach Ertz, Stanford (Jr.) 6-5, 249
A pure pass catcher, he's not going to do much to blast away on anyone and he's not going to be the most physical of blockers, but he's a nearly perfect route runner without any wasted motion. With great hands, he sucks in everything that comes his way with a soft way of grabbing everything. There will be a drop now and then, but he'll be as reliable as any receiver in the draft. He's a wiling blocker who won't be afraid to hit, but he's just not very good at it. He's not an elite athlete and there are limitations on what he'll do – he's not a Rob Gronkowski or a Jimmy Graham – but he'll be a pure receiver who'll destroy teams underneath on short to midrange routes. He might not have Pro Bowl skills, but he'll put up big numbers.
CFN Projection: Second Round

3. TE Levine Toilolo, Stanford (Jr.) 6-8, 260
Massive, he might not be fast, but he's a gigantic player with tremendous strength and length to outmuscle anyone like. He's like a power forward who'll box out and go after any ball in his range, and while he's not an elite athlete, he doesn't labor. Cut, he's in great shape and carries his weight well with the strength to be a nice wall-off blocker like a thin offensive tackle. While he has rare abilities and size, he never became the main man for the Stanford passing attack and he isn't nearly a good enough route runner to be a reliable third down target out of the box. He's not going to stretch the field and he's not going to blaze past anyone, but he's a worthwhile project who could destroy smaller defenders on short-range passes. There's game-changing upside.
CFN Projection: Third Round

4. TE Gavin Escobar, San Diego State (Jr.) 6-6, 254
A go-to receiver who could become a main man for an NFL passing attack, he looks the part with excellent size, soft hands and great production as a key part of the Aztec offense. While his 40-time at the Combine was a miserable 4.84, he's functionally fast and was fantastic in the short and cone drills. Like a big receiver, he's a strong route runner and he'll fight for the ball when it's in his radius. He's not going to hit anyone and he's never going to push anyone around in the running game, but the tools and talent are there to fit what pro-style offenses are looking to do. If he's able to get in a pro weight room and transform his body a bit, the sky's the limit.
CFN Projection: Second Round

5. TE Jordan Reed, Florida (Jr.) 6-3, 236
While he's not blazing fast, the former quarterback is extremely athletic and great at making things happen with the ball in his hands. He plays faster than he times with the ability to get deep and make the big play. Powerful, he doesn't get brought down easily and he cuts like a running back in the open field. Not a blocker, he's never going to bury his man and he's only going to be a receiver and a possible Wildcat/emergency quarterback, but once he gets down all the finer points of becoming an NFL route runner, he could be devastating.
CFN Projection: Third Round

6. TE Travis Kelce, Cincinnati 6-5, 255
The prototype with the right look and the right body, he's a big wide receiver who doesn't need much time to be ready to roll right out of the box. A natural target, he runs the full route tree and he uses his frame well to grab anything in his area. Out of all the top tight ends, he might be the best blocker of the bunch with the ability to bury his man and not just chip. While he has the skills, he's not an elite athlete and a few huge college plays upped his stock to make people think he's a deep threat. Yes, he can all the routes, but he's not a technically sharp runner and might need to show that he's ready to do all the little things to be better. The skills are in place, but he needs to put them all together on a consistent basis.
CFN Projection: Third Round

7. TE Ryan Otten, San Jose State 6-5, 230
A tough all-around player who makes things happen when he gets the ball in his hands, he's a No. 1 target who took on the role of being the main man for a strong passing game. With a nice pass catching radius, throw it anywhere near it and he'll go after it, attacking the ball with everything sticking to his hands. Extremely coachable, he'll do whatever is asked of him and will do all the little things right. The raw athleticism is missing and he's not going to blast anyone as a blocker, but he's a good hustler who'll work himself into a job. At the very least, he can grow into a nice short-to-midrange go-to target on third downs.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

8. TE Dion Sims, Michigan State (Jr.) 6-5, 262
Really, really big, he's a large target with the size to be like a third tackle in jumbo packages. While he's not an elite blocker right now, if he gets the right fire lit under him he could grow into a devastating factor for a running game. With great hands, he's a pure, natural receiver who cuts well and is great at getting open against mediocre defenders. Now he has to get into an NFL strength and conditioning system to transform his body a bit. A bit doughy, he's not consistently physical enough and needs to get technically stronger. Yes, he's a nice receiver, but he has to have the ball thrown right to him; he doesn't have the biggest radius. It might take a little bit after coming out a year early, but there's a world of upside with time and coaching.
CFN Projection: Third Round

9. TE Chris Gragg, Arkansas 6-3, 244
Not quite big enough to be a top all-around NFL tight end, he's a receiver who bulked up to get to his current weight and won't be able to rock up any more. He's a willing blocker, but he's not great at it and will get eaten alive if he has to hold up in pass protection. The quickness is there and he's a terrific all-around athlete, but he's not smooth and he's not helped by a leg injury that never seemed to get right. He'll be a dangerous receiver with straight-line speed and deep ability, but he won't be a do-it-all tight end.
CFN Projection: Third Round

10. TE Vance McDonald, Rice 6-4, 267
A phenomenal receiver, he's big and can move just enough to slip past linebackers and make the short-to-midrange play. He's not a blocker considering his size and he's not fast enough to be an elite target, but who plays much faster than his timed speed. Tough, he doesn't go down with one pop and can drag tacklers for a few extra yards. The offseason workouts have been impressive and he has looked the part of an NFL target. Ten years ago he would've been a far stronger prospect, but now that the game has changed to more athletic tight ends he slips back a bit. Even so, he should be a decent No. 2 target who can shine as an occasional go-to receiver.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

11. TE Nick Kasa, Colorado 6-6, 269
Still learning on the fly, the former defensive end is extremely physical and terrific at coming up with the big block. He might not be the most natural of receivers, but he's one of the best-hitting tight ends in the draft and can be used at times like an offensive tackle. A fighter, he'll battle a defender to make the big block and go after the ball. He's getting there as a target, coming on last season despite lousy quarterback play. It's going to take a lot of work to make him an all-around NFL tight end, and he's never going to stretch the field, but once he gets it, he's going to be a huge blocker who'll make a few grabs now and then.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

12. TE Mychal Rivera, Tennessee 6-3, 242
Too small and too slow, he can't stretch the field and isn't going to be dangerous when covered by any NFL defensive back, but he's a great receiver with nice hands and good route running ability. More like a fullback as a blocker, he'll hit and he'll be willing to do whatever is needed. Now he has to add weight to get closer to 260, but that will only kill his speed and athleticism that much more. Athletic enough on the field to get by, he'll be functional and can be a nice, solid backup who can step in and produce on a short-term basis.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

13. TE Jake Stoneburner, Ohio State 6-3, 252
A solid blocker who showed up when he needed to as a goal line, go-to receiver, he moves well with nice athleticism and the quickness to blow past the average linebackers. There's the potential to grow into a dangerous receiver now that he'll be with an NFL passing game, and as a natural when the ball is in the air, he'll go get it. The problem is that he's not athletic enough to be a dangerous No. 1 target and he needs a lot of work to transform his body and rock up a bit. He's not a reliable blocker and he needs a ton of refinement, but he should make a team as a occasionally decent receiver who makes some big plays now and then as a key backup.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

14. TE Philip Lutzenkirchen, Auburn 6-3,258
Way too slow and unable to stay healthy, he never lived up to his immense prep hype and never turned into the playmaking receiver the program was hoping to get. There's a hard ceiling on what he can do, but he has good size, tremendous hands and a world of natural talent with the fight to go after the ball and a nose for making something happen in the red zone. The problem is his offensive tackle foot speed with no ability to stretch the field or get past any NFL defensive back. Throw in his injury history, unable to stay healthy over the last few years, and there are a world of reasons not to take him. However, he's a good football player and a nice blocker who could be a cheap late backup.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

15. TE Jack Doyle, WKU 6-5, 254
A natural receiver and a good blocker, he does a little of everything well. While he's not going to throw his man into the fifth row, he brings a little pop to his blocks and can be useful for the ground game. A nice route runner, he works his way open and always seems to find the seams. With no speed and mediocre strength, he's missing the NFL athleticism and talent to make a big impact, but he's extremely coachable and will do anything needed to contribute. He doesn't do any one thing at a high level, but because he's decent at everything, he'll be a decent backup for a long time.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

16. TE Matt Furstenburg, Maryland 6-4, 242
All of a sudden his stock has gone way up after some excellent offseason workouts. Fast, smooth and quick, he looked athletic through the short drills and solid as a pass catcher. He adjusts well to the ball and doesn't need the ball thrown right at him to make a play, and he'll do all the dirty work needed to block. He has to get bigger and stronger and needs to show that the workouts can be translated to the field on a more consistent basis, but he has enough upside to be given several chances to show what he can do.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round