Friday, April 6, 2012

2012 NFL Draft Prospectus-Tight Ends

We contniue our look inside our 2012 NFL Draft Prospectus with a peak at our top 5 Tight Ends coming out of college. As always, you can read the entire report at, as we have profiled over 600 players eligible for this draft.

Tight Ends

If I am being honest, this is not a great class for the TE position in 2012, but hey, the TE, for the most part, has been a dying position in the NFL and in college football for a long while. As more teams go to multiple receiver sets, the TE, like the FB, is getting shut out of the mix more and more often, and coaches are forgetting how to coach the position in today's modernized offenses. There is a solid little group at the top of this lot, and then it's a drop.

The Top Prospects

#1, Dwayne Allen, Clemson
Allen is largely believed to be the best of this group by far this year, which may make him an early round, maybe even 1st round selection. In 41 games at Clemson, he caught 93 passes for 1079 yards and scored 12 times. He caught 50 passes in 2011 for 598 yards and scored 8 times, his best season as a Tiger by far. He caught 33 passes in 2010, and caught only 10 passes in 2009. He left after his junior season for this draft, and it's an interesting argument to say that he could really have dominated with one more season in college, but we'll have to go off of what we see now.
Pros: He is largely thought to be the best block/catch combo TE available. Solid TE size at 6-4 and 255 lbs listed. Despite his size, he moves very well, and is great in short bursts in the short to mid range passing game. Rarely drops passes, and has receiver caliber hands, and can make catches away from his body. Solid body control. Can block well at the point of attack, and also blocks well in traffic.
Cons: Not an elite talent as far as stretching the field. While he does have solid receiving skills, he is not a game changer, Tony Gonzalez typed receiver out of the position. He did not dominate at his position every season, leading me to believe that coming out as a junior was not the best decision for him. He'll need some time to develop into a real threat on the next level, and should not have much expected of him in his first season or two. He needs to be out on the slow cooker.
Overview: Really good, but not great, and did not really produce on a high level until his junior year, which he cashed in on and bolted afterwards. While he has potential, it would have been good to see him if he had two seasons in which to dominate instead of one, because it's hard to tell whether he was a flash in the pan or not. He'll be an early pick for a team that wants to feature the TE spot in their offense.

#2 Coby Fleener, Stanford
Other publications have called him overrated, but it's hard to ignore what Fleener did at Stanford during his career. Fleener became a favorite of Andrew Luck, and caught 22 career TD passes while racking up 96 grabs for 1543 yards for his career. He caught 34 passes in 2011 for 667 yards and 10 scores, while catching 28 passes for 434 yards in 2010, and 21 passes for 266 yards in 2009. He caught 13 passes his freshman season in 2008, and redshirted in 2007.
Pros: Big target at 6-6. He is a big play receiver. Need a 1st down? He'll get it. Need a big redzone score? He'll get it. LBs have trouble covering him, and DBs are not big enough to get the ball from him. Tough tackle down the field, and can move with the football. Is not limited as a mid-range receiver. You can line him up as a receiver and he's not out of place. Solid body control for a big guy, and has very nice hands. Has amazing straight line speed for the position.
Cons: He's more of a smart player than an athletic one. He will not look dynamic on film in any way. He is not the best blocker in the game, and is not normally used as a 3rd tackle typed TE. He may not have a big enough width to be a great blocker off of the edge, and may not be athletic enough to take out a top flight rush end.
Overview: Don't buy too much into the lack of athleticism quip. He does not look like an elite athlete on film, but all he does is get the job done. He is the type of TE that will be a QBs best friend on a team without elite receivers. If I have to be realistic, he compares to a poor man's Todd Heap.

#3 Michael Egnew, Missouri
Egnew was one of the most productive TEs in college football the last few seasons, and caught 147 passes for his career with the Tigers. He caught 50 passes for 523 yards and 3 TDs in 2011, caught 90 passes for 762 yards and 5 scores in 2010, and only caught 7 passes combined in 2008 and 2009.
Pros: At 6-5 and 250 lbs, he is certainly built for the part. With his size, he has surprising quickness and really interesting game speed. He is like having another receiver on the field on every down, and makes catches like a receiver. Despite having a big drop off in 2011, he is still an elite class receiver at the TE position and is a guy who can stretch the field. Was not used to being a blocker in Missouri's offense, but it doesn't mean that he can't. He is one of the threats at TE where LBs have no shot to cover him, and DBs are not big enough to take him out of a play.
Cons: Huge drop in 2011 after Missouri lost Blaine Gabbert. He was double teamed constantly, showing that with that coverage, he can be slightly neutralized, and probably could be more so at the pro level. Not his fault on the lack of blocking, as the Tigers rarely asked him to do so in their spread attack. He'll need some coaching and an adjustment period to an NFL offense. While he was at Mizzou for 4 years, he was only a presence for two of those seasons.
Overview: Think Aaron Hernandez of the Patriots, and that gives you a good guess as to what to expect from Egnew on the NFL level. He has some serious skill sets as a receiver, but comes out of college limited as a blocker. He's a smart guy who will pick up on the game, but he needs some time. Once he matures in the game, he could be a really good pick.

#4 Ladarius Green, Louisiana-Lafayette
Our TE of the Year in 2010, Green was a threat in the passing game that may make the right team drool. He scored 22 times during his career with the Cajuns, and caught 149 career passes, both highs for the TE class in 2012. His 2201 career yards were also by far a high for this group. He caught 51 passes for 606 yards and 8 scores in 2011, 44 passes for 794 yards and 7 scores in 2010, 32 for 533 yards in 2009, and caught 22 passes for 268 yards as a freshman in 2008.
Pros: At 6-6, he's a really tall target who can go up and get the ball. He is a serious receiving threat who can move all over the field, and is a threat in all aspects of the passing game. He has solid speed for his height, and has very solid game speed and quickness on routes. Changes direction well, and has very good body control in traffic. He can fight through jams, and is hard tocover for LBs and DBs both. You can double team him, but he'll still get the football. If the ball gets anywhere near him in the end zone, he's going to get it.
Cons: He's just not a blocker. He was never really used as a blocker, and may be too lanky to be effective even if he was asked. He may move to WR just because he has no value in run blocking schemes. Probably due to his lankiness, he is an easy tackle down field, and is not the toughest receiver in the game as far as fighting off tacklers. There was some yardage drop off in 2011, but his receptions rose slightly.
Overview: Obviously the most prolific pass catcher in this group, but he is just not a traditional TE on the next level. He is a great receiver, however, and should use that skill to obtain employment in the NFL. Green will make someone very happy, but needs to learn the finer points of being a wide receiver, or needs to gain 30 lbs to become a blocker, again, needing coaching to learn the finer points, or the points period that being the case. A right fit for the right situation.

#5 Orson Charles, Georgia
Another big pass catching threat for this class. Charles was a Miami recruit, and produced some solid numbers for the Bulldogs in his three seasons on campus. He caught 94 passes for his career for 1370 yards and 10 scores. He caught 45 passes for 574 yards and 5 scores in 2011, posted 26-422-2 in 2010, and 23-374-3 in 2009 after his transfer from Miami became official.
Pros: Really good pass catcher for a 6-3 240 lbs receiver. He can catch the ball like a widout, including balls away from his body, and he often calls for double teams coming off of the line, opening up the field in other areas. He is a tough tackle in the open field, and will fight hard for extra yardage after receptions. He does have a second gear that can pull away from many defenders, and can be effective in every area of your passing offense. Solid blocker who has a nasty streak.
Cons: He's a little bit stocky for the TE position, and had some games where he just disappeared from the landscape, finishing with 2 receptions or less five times in 2011, and only had three games with at least 3 receptions in 2010. He doesn't always seem tp put the work in that he should, and never developed into the guy who everyone thought that he would be. In my book, probably the most overrated TE in this group. He also translates more to H-Back than TE due to his stocky build. Not the best blocker in the world and will get lazy and sloppy.
Overview: One character potential issue was that he was brought up in the Miami Nevin Shapiro allegations. He's a solid receiver, but he's a guy that needs to have a coach on him at all times. He needs to be pushed, and does not always look like he is focused. He'll probably be decent, but will never be great on the next level. Just not that impressed with him like others are.

For the rest of this class, including small school prospects, please go to

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