“The Year of the Tight End” in 2011 left many teams hungry to find the next big weapon at the tight end position. Every team is looking to find their own Gronkowski, Hernandez, Graham, Davis,etc. The 2012 did not provide many options outside of Coby Fleener, and it doesn’t look like this year’s class offers much more.
The depth of the class looks more impressive this year, but there are no guys that stand out as day one contributors that can produce as weapons in the passing game.
Iowa’s CJ Fiedorowicz is currently my number one tight end. The 6’6 265 pound Junior has an NFL-sized frame and big hands. He has sneaky athleticism and could run the 40 in the 4.6 range. He is also a tough in-line blocker. I think he would be a solid pick in the second round unless he really blows up during the last few months of the season, where he could rise into the back half of the first round.
Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert is a solid receiving option with good size and strong hands, but he is lacking in bulk and won’t provide much as a blocker. He also lacks the explosive athleticism to really stand out at the position.
Michael Williams of Alabama is probably the most complete tight end coming out this year. He won’t be a liability in the blocking game early and his size makes him a very solid checkdown option, even if he lacks NFL speed.
Joseph Fauria from UCLA intrigues with huge frame and solid hands, but he is a liability in the blocking game and tends to disappear.
Jordan Reed, Chris Gragg and Jake Stoneburner are intriguing receiving options at the position, but at this point are one-dimensional.
Gavin Escobar out of San Diego State is one name to keep in mind as a potential stud at tight end. He is only a redshirt junior, but he is draft eligible. He has great size, athleticism, and receiving ability and has produced despite very little talent surrounding him. He would jump to the top spot in my tight end rankings if he were to come out this year.
Hopefully some of these guys use the rest of the season and the offseason to make a claim as the top tight end of this draft. As of right now, it doesn’t look like anyone wants that title.