2010 NFL Draft - Ranking The Tight Ends
Jermaine Gresham, Dennis Pitta, & Tony Moeaki
Jermaine Gresham, Dennis Pitta, & Tony Moeaki
Posted Apr 3, 2010

The 2010 NFL Draft is almost here. From a college football perspective, here's the CFN ranking of the top 25 tight end prospects. There's a little something for everyone in a strong class, led by OU's Jermaine Gresham, BYU's Dennis Pitta, and Iowa's Tony Moeaki, along with the most overrated and underrated prospects and the deepest sleeper.

2010 NFL Draft Position Rankings

Tight Ends

By Pete Fiutak

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

2010 NFL Combine Quick Looks & Post-Combine Rankings

- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs
- Cs | OTs | OGs | DEs
- DTs | ILBs | OLBs
- Ss | CBs

2010 NFL Combine Results
- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs
- Cs | OTs | OGs | DEs
- DTs | ILBs | OLBs
- Ss | CBs 

2010 NFL Combine
- Offensive Winners  
- Offensive Losers 
- Defensive Winners 
- Defensive Losers

This Class Is … Terrific. There are more than enough options for anyone who needs a tight end, and it should be good shopping for anyone looking for a solid No. 2. The top ten options can all play and all start, while there are five-to-seven more who should find jobs.

The Best Value Pick Will Be … Garrett Graham, Wisconsin
Most Underrated … Andrew Quarless, Penn State
Most Overrated … Michael Hoomanawanui, Illinois

1. Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma 6-5, 261 (Jr.)
The most talented receiving tight end in the draft, Gresham runs and moves like a big wide receiver, is almost uncoverable by linebackers, and has tremendous hands with great route running ability. Not just an H-Back target, he can also block and isn't afraid to get a little dirty for the running game. The only question mark was an injured knee that cost him the entire 2009 season, but those concerns are gone after looking great at the Combine. He benefitted from a hurry-up offense that was loaded with talent but he's a tremendous talent with room to get even better.
CFN Projection: First Round

2. Rob Gronkowski, Arizona 6-6, 264 (Jr.)
Very big and very talented with the total package of talents, he can run better than his 4.75 40 would show, has phenomenal hands, and is tough enough to grow into a better blocker. If he can stay healthy he has the potential to be the top tight end in this draft and one of the most productive in a decade, but he can't be counted on to last more than ten minutes. He missed time with mono, missed most of last year with a herniated disk, and he has never been able to show he can play for a full season. The experience isn't there, but the upside is limitless.
CFN Projection: Second Round

3. Aaron Hernandez, Florida 6-2, 245 (Jr.)
He's built like a fullback, moves like an H-Back, and catches like a wide receiver. He's not all that big and doesn't have the prototype look, but he's a phenomenal route runner and a great pass catcher with excellent athleticism and the ability to make the tough catches. While he might be thickly built, he's not a blocker and has some character issues after having a few minor problems at Florida. You know what you're getting; he'll be a strong receiver who'll need a better blocking tight end to be in the rotation.
CFN Projection: Second Round

4. Garrett Graham, Wisconsin 6-3, 243
While he's a bit thin and he's not all that big a blocker, he's a great receiver with savvy route running ability and the talent to find the seam and make the tough grabs. There were times when he was the only viable target in the Badger passing game, everyone knew it, and he still produced. He needs to be stronger, is only around a 4.75 runner, and he'll be limited in what he can do, but he can be like another Wisconsin product, Owen Daniels, and can be a cheap draft pick who'll hang around for a long time.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

5. Dorin Dickerson, Pitt 6-1, 226
While he's way too small and he'll never block anyone at the next level, the 4.4 speed at the Combine and the 43.5" vertical overcomes a ton of problems. A field-stretching H-Back who can be used in a variety of ways as a receiver, he can make deep plays, work in the slot, or line up as a tight end from time to time. However, he doesn't use his speed well enough on the field and he doesn't block anyone. Someone will fall in love with his athleticism and his potential, but he could turn out to be flashier than consistently good. He needs the right fit.
CFN Projection: Third Round

6. Jimmy Graham, Miami 6-6, 260
Potential, potential, potential. While he's a raw prospect who needs time and a whole bunch of coaching, the upside is there to potentially be the best tight end in the draft. He's huge, 4.53 fast, and he can jump out of the stadium. The former basketball player is trying to make the adjustment and has come along extremely fast. He needs a ton of work on his route-running ability, isn't much of a blocker, and he needs a boatload of technique work, but he'll bust his tail to try to get better. He'll require patience, but there should be a tremendous payoff in a few years.
CFN Projection: Third Round

7. Ed Dickson, Oregon 6-3, 245
A natural, talented receiver with fantastic hands and smooth wide receiver-like ability, he'd be a star prospect if he could only run a little bit faster. A 4.8 runner, he doesn't have the separation speed to blow past too many NFL defenders and he doesn't block well, but he's a fighter who'll go after the ball and could be a very nice, very safe backup who sticks in the league for a long time.
CFN Projection: Third Round

8. Anthony McCoy, USC 6-5, 259
Good enough to be the top tight end on a few draft boards, he has big-time receiving talent, comes through big on key downs, and he makes quarterbacks look great. Stronger on the field than in the weight room, he fights for the ball and almost always wins. However, he could be heartbreaking. His Combine numbers were mediocre, especially the 4.77 40 and the 19 reps on the bench, but he doesn't bring it play-in-and-play-out. It's all there to be terrific, but he just doesn't have the concentration and fire to be special.
CFN Projection: Second Round

9. Dennis Pitta, BYU 6-5, 245
A naturally pure pass catcher, he helped himself at the Combine and in workouts by running well, clocking in under 4.7, while coming up with 27 reps on the bench. He also showed surprising agility. So what's the problem? He doesn't really use his strength as a blocker, doesn't have enough suddenness to get in and out of his cuts quickly enough to give an NFL defender problems, and there's little upside for a player who'll be 25 when he starts his career. He is what he is, and that's not all that bad.
CFN Projection: Second Round

10. Tony Moeaki, Iowa 6-3, 245
The big concern is his durability, but other than that he has the potential to be a solid No. 2 tight end. A good receiver, he showed good quickness at the Combine and caught everything thrown his way. While he's not huge and he's not a top blocker, he's big enough to give a few matchup problems. You name the body part and he has probably had some issue with it.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

11. Nate Byham, Pitt 6-4, 268
In a draft full of receivers, Byham is the best of the blockers. He's big, extremely slow, and a bit lumbering, but he sucks in every pass that comes his way and he's too strong and tough for most defensive backs. His money will be made by hitting people in two-tight end sets, but he could find a role as a nice short-range, goal line target.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

12. Clay Harbor, Missouri State 6-3, 252
A decent prospect going into the offseason, he helped himself immeasurably with a good Combine showing decent 4.69 speed with a tackle-like 30 reps on the bench and a 40" vertical. He looks the part and moves extremely well, and he's a strong enough blocker to be used on all three downs. While he hasn't played anyone of note and needs coaching, he played like he belonged in workouts and has fantastic upside. If there is such a thing, he's a safe flier to take in the middle rounds.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

13. Michael Hoomanawanui, Illinois 6-4, 264
A tweener who doesn't do anything at a particularly high level on a consistent basis. He should be a matchup problem as a receiver, but he's not fast enough (running around a 4.85 40), and he should be a good blocker with his size, but he doesn't finish his blocks. Just good enough to get a long look as a full-time, three-down tight end, but he doesn't have special skills and he hasn't stayed healthy.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

14. Colin Peek, Alabama 6-5, 254
Extremely tough and willing to take big shots, he might not be much of a receiver but he makes the big plays at the right time and he's more than willing to provide the big block. However, he doesn't do anything all that well and will get pushed around by the better linemen. He's good enough to stick on a roster, but he's not good enough, or durable enough, to be anything more than a part-time player.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

15. Andrew Quarless, Penn State 6-4, 254
An intriguing prospect, he has the hands, he moves well, and he's a strong, tough blocker who can get down the field. The problem is his head. He doesn't play nearly as well as his measurables and lacks concentration. He had a few off-the-field issues that kept him in hot water at Penn State. On talent and potential, he might be one of the best tight ends in the draft, but he's too flaky to invest heavily in him.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

16. Michael Palmer, Clemson 6-5, 237
There's nothing special about him at all except his will and his work ethic. He's not big, is a bit too tall and rangy, and he's 4.95 slow. However, he catches everything that comes his way and will do whatever he must to make the big block. On want-to he should be a tough cut and could stay as a reliable short-range receiver.
CFN Projection: Seventh Round

17. Dedrick Epps, Miami 6-3, 250
While he's built a bit like a tall linebacker, he's quick and athletic with the ability to get open against the lesser linebackers. He has the potential to stay on a roster by his hustle and special teams ability, but he needs to get a lot stronger and he has to get over a knee problem to stay. He's not going to overpower anyone, but he could be a decent backup receiving tight end and H-Back who sticks around because of his special teams ability.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

18. Brody Eldridge, Oklahoma 6-5, 261
A knee problem should limit his mediocre receiving skills and athleticism. While he's a run-through-the-wall blocker and will do whatever he has to, he's not all that durable, won't catch any passes, and if he's not hitting anyone, he's not of much use. As long as he's consistent for the ground game, he'll stay on a roster.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

19. Steve Maneri, Temple 6-7, 256
Very tall with the room to get a lot bigger, if he can bulk up a bit he has the potential to be a dangerous all-around tight end. He's not the best of receivers and runs like a tackle, but he has just enough skills and want-to as a blocker to possibly be an athletic tackle with a lot of developing. He's a project who might be out of the league for a year or so before making a splash.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

20. Jeron Mastrud, Kansas State 6-5, 256
While he lacks bulk and is extremely slow, he's a willing blocker and he was productive for a time as a college receiver. He doesn't have NFL pass catching skills and he needs to get much, much stronger, but he could grow into a No. 3 tight end who can do just enough to hang around the league for more than a cup of coffee.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

21. Cody Slate, Marshall
22. Riar Geer, Colorado
23. Richard Dickson, LSU
24. Jason Harmon, Florida Atlantic
25. Fendi Onobun, Houston