In response to jjdbrasil's comment:
Declared Underclassmen TEs: www.draftbrowns.com
Xavier Grimble TE USC 6’5” 255 (Added 1/8/2014) – Rivals rated Grimble as the top tight end recruit in the country out of high school in 2010. He redshirted during his first year on campus for the Trojans, and was a part time starter for the past three seasons. The junior closes his college career with 69 catches for 730 yards and 11 touchdowns in 35 games. Grimble was initially leaning toward returning for his senior season, and reportedly did not seek an evaluation from the NFL before changing course and declaring for the 2014 draft.
Jace Amaro TE Texas Tech 6’5” 257 (Added 1/2/2014) – Amaro’s first two years at Tech were clouded by on and off the field incidents. He was arrested in March of 2012 for use of a fake ID and another player’s credit card, but was ultimately not charged. Then he closed out the 2012 season by being ejected from the bowl game for fighting. Amaro vowed to overcome the mistakes of his youth, and went on to complete the 2013 season without incident. Along the way, he caught 106 passes for 1352 yards and seven touchdowns in 13 games. Amaro plays the game like a big wide receiver – a matchup nightmare for opposing defensive coaches – but has the size and strength to develop into an effective blocker if he works at it. He seemed to waver on his decision throughout the season, but in the end opted to move onto the pros.
Austin Sefarian-Jenkins TE Washington 6’6” 276 (Added 12/30/2013) - Aside from catching a career-high eight touchdowns this past season, ASJ’s numbers dipped significantly. But despite his modest receiving totals, he won the John Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end. At the NFL level, Sefarian-Jenkins will serve more of a traditional role than than oversized receiver-types like Jimmy Graham and Jordan Cameron. He has reportedly been given a second round grade by the NFL Draft Advisory committee, but teams will want to be sure that his March 2013 DUI arrest is a mere blip on the radar before spending a high pick on him. For more on ASJ click here.
Jake Murphy TE Utah 6’4” 252 (Added 12/30/2013) – The son of former Major League Baseball great Dale Murphy, the younger Murphy originally signed on to play at BYU. However, upon returning from a Mormon mission in 2010, BYU no longer had a scholarship available for him. Rather than delay the start to his college football career further, Murphy opted to attend Utah and play immediately. In three seasons for the Utes he caught 63 passes for 830 yards and ten touchdowns. He missed time this past season with a broken wrist, but closed out the year with his best two games as a collegian. Murphy’s decision to turn pro was likely driven by the fact that he will turn 25 years old next September. He is not expected to be an early pick but could still work his way into the later rounds with strong pre-draft showing.
Richard Rodgers TE California 6’4” 245 (Added 12/26/2013) – After tipping the scales at 278 pounds while recovering from injuries this past offseason, Rodgers became the target of some…well, tough love from Cal Offensive Coordinator Tony Franklin. According to the coach, “I told (Rodgers) you will not play a down if you don’t (lose weight) because you’re slow and fat and out of shape and you can’t play.” Rodgers cut candy out of his diet, dropped 30 pounds, and became a slot receiver in the Golden Bears’ offense. He finished his junior season with 39 catches for 608 yards and a touchdown. Rodgers decision may come as a slight surprise, but he likely received some solid advice, including from his father, who works as the Carolina Panthers’ special teams coach. Draft insider Tony Pauline tweeted that some evaluators have second round grades on Rodgers, and that the tight end prospect has been compared to Antonio Gates. Not too shabby.
Colt Lyerla TE Oregon 6’5” 245 – Lyerla’s name has been in the draft since he left Oregon early in the season. From November: “Former Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla presents the most interesting case. He raised a slew of questions when he left Oregon, and details of a troubled past began to emerge. Then, just a few weeks later, Lyerla was arrested for possession of cocaine. He has already hired an agent, so there is no question he will enter the draft, but Lyerla will face a barrage of questions about drug use and his desire to play football from the few teams that haven’t already erased his name from their draft boards. Lyerla needs to prove that he is contrite, motivated, and clean if he hopes to be drafted in May, and his handlers will be faced with a daunting sales job.”
Eric Ebron TE North Carolina 6’4” 245 – Ebron has a chance to be the first tight end drafted next spring after catching 95 passes for 1520 yards and seven touchdowns over the past two seasons. Ebron finished the regular season with a five-catch 121-yard performance, just days after making his NFL intentions known. He’ll have one more chance to impress against Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl.
A.C. Leonard TE Tennessee State 6’4” 245 – Just days after committing to the Florida Gators, Leonard, a four star tight end recruit, was suspended for the remainder of his senior season for fighting. Once in college, Leonard left Florida prior to his sophomore season after pleading no contest to a battery charge that stemmed from an ugly domestic altercation with his girlfriend. Leonard landed at Tennessee State where he caught 85 passes for 1174 yards and 11 touchdowns in 22 games. He is reportedly considered a mid round talent by some scouts, but Leonard’s off the field issues will likely push him into the late rounds or priority free agency.
Mike Flacco TE New Haven 6’5” 245 (Added 1/8/2014) – Flacco played minor league baseball for several seaons before retiring in 2012. He is a 26-year old sophomore tight end who caught 30 passes for 591 yards and nine touchdowns in 2013. And yes, he is the brother of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.
TEs this year are a very mixed bunch - they can be very different in playing style. When considering the prospects, I think closer attention should be how the playing style fits with what the team does, and what it wants to do.
Jace Amaro TE Texas Tech 6’5” 257 (Added 1/2/2014)
Saying that Amaro plays like a big wide receiver is an understatement. Over the 13 games this season, he almost always was lined up at the slot. On the few times that he was not playing off the slot, he was split wide more than he was next to the tackle.
The result of that playing style, can be seen in his reception numbers. As JJ mentioned: he caught 106 passes for 1352 yards and seven touchdowns in 13 games. Those numbers are off the charts for TEs. I am not sure if those numbers have ever been seen from a TE.
For context: He tied for 7th in catches overall (He caught more balls than Watkins and PSU's Robinson); 1352 yards was ranked 11th overall (300+ more yards than K Benjamin). Looking at top NFL TEs: On Gronk's best year in Arizona, he caught 47 for 672 yds and 10 TDs; Graham had 17 recs for 213 yds and 5 TDs; A Hernandez caught 68 for 850 yds and 5 TDs.
He's really a slot receiver, whose size, rather than quickness, is his mismatch driver. IMO, it will take him years to learn to be an inline, blocking TE. If a team is to take advantage of what he can bring, I think it just has to embrace what he has been in college.
Eric Ebron TE North Carolina 6’4” 245
Ebron did quite have the gaudy numbers that Amaro had, but recorded ridiculous stats just the same. The way I would contrast Ebrons game vs Amaro is that he was moved around more. I don't have exact numbers, but on the three games that I saw NC play, I got the impression that he played more or less even number of snaps inline, slot and split wide. every now and then starts in the back.
I envision Ebron to play well in Hernandez's old role. This kid, however, is more athletic, perhaps faster and I believe has more reliable hands.
Austin Sefarian-Jenkins TE Washington 6’6” 276 (Added 12/30/2013) -
Aside from catching a career-high eight touchdowns this past season, ASJ’s numbers dipped significantly.
Nonetheless, his 2013 numbers (36 recs, 450 yds, 8 TDs) are better than most TEs in the NFL, including Graham. And he achieved that playing the more traditional role, lining up most of the time next the the OT. His numbers in 2012 were comparable to Ebron's 2013 numbers (69, 852, 7).
Athletic, and probably the toughest of the bunch, the guy makes catching contested and wide balls look easy. In theory, this kid is the closest you can get to finding a college TE who will do what Gronk does for teh Pats.
The question mark on him has to do with passion for the game. On Washington's bowl, I noted on my review that he seemed to lack fire. I used the words "looking like he takes plays off". Interestingly, MB had been noticing it as well.
C J Fiederowicz TE Iowa 6’6” 276
Obviously similar body type to Gronk. When running a route, more than some times, he looks like Gronk. However, for a long time, I could not help but feel there was something wrong with his game. It took me until the bowl (third Iowa game I watched) to notice that eventhough he lines up a lot next to the T, he either blocks or run routes. He does not pretend to block when running routes - meaning, the opponent does not have to figure out what Iowa is trying to do. Fixable? IDK. I would think so. CJ is supposed to be available in the late 2nd or early 3rd round.
Some see CJ as the best receiving threat among TEs not named Amaro/Ebron/ASJ. His numbers (30, 299, 6). do not necessarily say that. Granted, he ahd better numbers in 2012 (45, 433, 1) Also, I believe CJ is very similar to Colorado State's Crockett Gillmore, who will be avilable in the sixth round.
Arthur Lynch TE Georgia 6'6", 254
Lynch IMO is in the same mold as ASJ, albeit slightly smaller. A lot of draft experts and enthusiasts bucket Lynch as mainly a blocking TE. He definitely is among the best inline blocking TEs. Yet, his catch numbers (30, 459, 5) were arguably better than CJ's this year. Lynch is the poor man's ASJ.
Jake Murphy TE Utah 6’4” 252 (Added 12/30/2013) – I did not notice this kid's game. I watched a couple of Utah games, but was paying attention to other people and this kid did not necessarily stand out. I am not saying he is bad. I just did not notice.
Richard Rodgers TE California 6’4” 245 (Added 12/26/2013) –
I watched 2 Cal games to see Coleman, their DT. Along the way, I got to see the offense. He's been used by Cal as a Flex TE. He lined up as RB more frequently than I've seen any other TE in college. He was effective in that role (39, 608, 1). That said, he looks slow even for a TE. Maybe it had something to do with his injury.
Xavier Grimble TE USC 6’5” 255 (Added 1/8/2014)
Not much to add to what was written above. Unlike Murphy, I did notice Grimble when I watched a couple of USC games. Low key, but does a lot of good teams. USC did not use him as much as Lynch or the other TEs, but did his role when he was on the field.
Nick O'Leary TE Florida State 6’3” 248 (Added 1/8/2014)
I have seen someone write here that he is a one of the better receiving threats among the TEs; another said he might be too small to play inline. I think both comments are not entirely true.
Size-wise, he is comparable to Dallas Clark. As a receiver, his best receiving season (33, 557, 7) is just comparable to those of the better TEs not named Amaro/ Ebron/ ASJ. However, the 7 TDs stands out.
IMO a good TE pick, in the third round.
Colt Lyerla TE Oregon 6’5” 245 –
After the Hernandez experience, I don't think BB will want another kid with potential to be as distracting.
A.C. Leonard TE Tennessee State 6’4” 245
Since I have not seen this kid play, I can't comment
Mike Flacco TE New Haven 6’5” 245 (Added 1/8/2014)
I have not seen this kid play either.