2014 NFL Draft: Ben Natan’s Top 10 Tight Ends


Nov 23, 2013; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs tight end Arthur Lynch (88) runs against Kentucky Wildcats defensive back Blake McClain (24) during the second half at Sanford Stadium. Georgia defeated Kentucky 59-17. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

In the age of dynamic NFL offenses, the tight end position is arguably the most valuable skill player on the offense besides the quarterback. Great offenses have mismatch nightmares at tight end that dominate from all over the field. However, despite the demand for stud athletes at tight end, the reliable blocker and receiver types are still highly regarded. This class has a lot of both and here is how they stack up against each other.

  1. Eric Ebron  (UNC): Taking all things into consideration, Ebron is the only tight end I would select in the first round and I think I would spend a very high pick on him. He is a dominating athlete who’s combination of size and strength make him a dominating mismatch. His natural power also makes him a decent blocker but I doubt that is where he will be in the NFL. He needs to improve focus when catching the ball, but flashes strong hands. He is an immediate impact player at receiver and a potential top ten pick.
  2. Colt Lyerla (Oregon): When referring to on field ability, Lyerla is special. His size, strength and athletic ability make him a huge threat as a receiver and after the catch. He is a strong blocker and a stronger runner. Teams might not want to take a chance on his off the field issue, but his talent is undeniable.
  3. Marcel Jensen (Fresno State): A bit of a new name in the upper echelon of tight ends, Jensen is a great prospect as a receiving tight end. He has a great combination of size, speed and open field moves. He has room to improve as a blocker, but he is an intimidating matchup who just needs to be utilized more to shine.
  4. Arthur Lynch (Georgia): In the world of matchup nightmares at the tight end position, people tend to underrate the beauty of dependability. Lynch is just that. A refined, dependable receiver who does a great job getting open underneath and working as a dependable safety valve for the quarterback. He has a strong build that he utilizes very well as a blocker, as it is actually a lot of fun watching him knock a defender on his ass with his aggressive blocking style. He may not blow up the combine like a lot of these guys, but he is going to be an offenses safety valve for a very long time.
  5. Jace Amaro (TTU): One of the biggest name at the position, a lot of people fall in love with Amaro’s tough running after the catch and the mismatch he creates in the slot. I agree with that appeal, but he is also barely a tight end. His blocking leaves a lot to be desired and his route running is not impressive. Not only that, but he refuses to make tough catches in traffic when so many others of these players do. I can see his appeal from a physical player, but he is not the complete player he is being painted as.
  6. Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Washington): Jenkins has a lot to offer as a blocker and his frame is incredibly intimidating in the redzone. However, as a receiver, he doesn’t display anything above average from an athletic standpoint. He is not going to be a downfield threat or create yards after the catch. However, his uncanny ability to dominate at the catch point will make him a very highly sought after.
  7. Troy Niklas (Notre Dame): Niklas’ name has been picking up plenty of steam and it is easy to see why. He is very physically impressive and a very imposing. However, I still feel his all around game is very undefined. I like his upside and he could impact as a seam threat for a while, but he isn’t a sure thing.
  8. CJ Fiedorowicz (Iowa): Fiedorowicz is another throwback at the tight end position. He has a lot to offer from a frame perspective and is a very good route runner with dependable hands. He is also a very good inline blocker. I am not a huge fan of his versatility, but he is a dependable target that teams will like a lot.
  9. Richard Rodgers (Cal): Rodgers is an impressive athlete at the position and is very impressive after the catch. He is not very refined, but I love his potential.
  10. Crocket Gilmore (CSU): Gilmore is a great athlete and has very intriguing size and athletic ability. His size offers a great mismatch and while he is very raw he has great upside as a receiver.