NFL Draft: Tight Ends To Watch

April 3rd, 2010
Might the Bucs look to replace Jerramy Stevens with this guy?

"Might the Bucs look to replace Jerramy Stevens with this guy?

The draft madness continues today for subscribers to the draft coverage.

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Today, NFL Draft guru Justin Pawlowski, of WDAE-AM 620, breaks down some tight ends to watch, including how they could impact the Bucs’ roster and who they compare to in the NFL.

Fun stuff.

Still to come today is the quarterbacks breakdown and the daily Draft Countdown.

Enjoy. {+++}

Tight Ends

1. Jermaine Gresham – TE – Oklahoma
6’5’’ – 261 lbs – 4.72
1st – 2nd Round

Why I’m taking him: The thing that stands out most about Gresham is his ability to catch and make plays in the passing game.  His size and speed make him a tough matchup.  Gresham consistently shows the ability to beat the jam and get into his route.  This allows the timing of the play to stay in tact.  Gresham is also a hard worker.

Why I’m staying away: Durability is a major question after Gresham missed all of the 2009 season with a torn labrum.  He also tor his ACL while in high school.  Gresham also offers next to nothing when run blocking.  He can tend to lumber at times and might need to build up steam to reach full speed.

Impact on the Bucs roster: I don’t view Gresham as an upgrade to Kellen Winslow, so I’d hope the Bucs would look to another position to address in the 2nd round.

NFL Comparison:   Tony Gonzalez – Atlanta Falcons

2. Rob Gronkowski – TE – Arizona
6’6’’ – 264 lbs – 4.66
2nd Round

Why I’m taking him: Gronkowski is the most balanced tight end in the draft.  He is an excellent blocker with very good technique.  Gronkowski can also be a nice security blanket for a quarterback with his soft hands and good ball skills.  On film, there seems to be a nasty streak Gronkowski plays with, as well.  He also has all the intangibles you want in leadership, work ethic, blood lines, etc…

Why I’m staying away: Gronkowski can be a reliable target for a quarterback, but he isn’t a big time threat in the passing game.  He isn’t very athletic and takes a while to reach full speed.  Durability is also a major concern with Gronkowski missing games in 2008 and 2009, and also missing part of this offseason due to injury.

Impact on the Bucs: The Bucs lack this type of balanced tight end, but I see Gronkowski going in the 2nd round, and I feel that’s too high for the Bucs.

NFL Comparison:   Heath Miller – Pittsburgh Steelers

3. Dorin Dickerson –TE– Pitt
6’2’’ – 226 lbs – 4.40
2nd Round

Why I’m taking him: I got a chance to see a lot of Dickerson at Pitt while I followed the Big East due to my USF duties, and this guy is impressive.  After I watched his film, I was even more impressed.  He just looks like a receiver trapped in a tight end’s body.  He makes plays all over the field in the passing game, and had the production last year to back it up.  In 2009, he ended with over 500 yards and had 10 TDs.  That all came on an offense known for running the football.  Dickerson is one of the more intriguing prospects in this draft.

Why I’m staying away: I’m not sold that Dickerson can be a true tight end.  He’s not that explosive in run blocking and struggles in short-yardage blocking.  He does not have good size for a tight end.

Impact on the Bucs: I find Dickerson rather intriguing, and for a team in dire need of a receiver, I wouldn’t be too upset if the Bucs took a chance on Dickerson.  The Bucs would have to be willing to transition Dickerson to tight end if they do grab him.  Leaving Dickerson at tight end would render him close to useless with Winslow already in the fold.

NFL Comparison:   Vernon Davis – San Francisco 49ers

4. Aaron Hernandez – TE – Florida
6’2’’ – 245 lbs – 4.61
2nd Round

Why I’m taking him: Hernandez is great weapon as a receiver at the tight end position.  His ball skills and hands are excellent. He runs routes like a receiver and can be elusive with the ball after the catch. Hernandez also possesses intangibles like; toughness, work ethic, and durability.

Why I’m staying away: Hernandez is another tight end who is a threat in the passing game, but brings nothing in terms of run blocking. He also struggles with getting off of jams. These aspects of his game tell me that Hernandez’s strength does not translate to the field. The best Hernandez will do in blocking is to just get in the way of a defender. He seems like more of an H-back than a true tight end.

Impact on the Bucs: Gator fans would like this, but Hernandez is not the right fit for the Bucs. There should be plenty of teams interested in his skills, but with Winslow already locked into his contract, I’m not sure the Bucs should invest a 2nd round pick in another tight end like Hernandez.

NFL Comparison:   Dustin Keller – New York Jets

5. Ed Dickson – TE – Oregon
6’4’’ – 249 lbs – 4.67
3rd Round

Why I’m taking him: I love the soft hands Dickson has. He’s a very good receiving tight end who catches the ball with his hands and away from his chest.  He also tracks the ball well in the air. Dickson is not afraid to go over the middle and can also stretch the field deep. He’s very durable after playing in 26 consecutive games.

Why I’m staying away: I’m not so sure Dickson is balanced enough to be an every-down tight end. He seems to be like Jermichael Finley of the Packers or Martellus Bennett of the Cowboys, where he is a nice threat as a receiver, but offers nothing in run blocking.

Impact on the Bucs: As a 3rd or 4th round pick, I don’t think I’d be overly upset with this pick for the Bucs. I do feel the Bucs lack weapons on offense, but I was thinking more at receiver than tight end. Dickson would give the Bucs a nice 1-2 punch at tight end.

NFL Comparison:   Jermichael Finley – Green Bay Packers

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