Back in the day, 20-30 years ago, the tight end was considered slow, blocking, an extra offensive lineman for the offense. If you found a good catching TE, it was a big bonus to your offense. It’s tough to cover a guy who maybe 240-250 pounds but can run a 4.5 forty. What was considered a bonus is now considered a necessity. The TE has become a key part of almost every offense in the league. If you don’t have a dynamic TE that can split out wide, you need to get one.
This year, two TEs have stood out as 1st round picks. OJ Howard of Alabama and David Njoku of Miami both have what you look for in a big time pass catching TE in this league. Njoku is an athletic freak and will likely have better combine numbers than Howard. However, Howard is a better overall player due to his blocking ability. Both will be competing to be the 1st TE selected. But those aren’t the only two TEs with big time ability.
The depth in this year’s tight end class is immeasurable. You should be able to pick up a solid, possible starting TE going into the 3rd and possibly 4th round. Other than Howard and Njoku, some other guys to pay attention to include: Evan Engram of Mississippi, Gerald Everett of South Alabama, Bucky Hodges of Virginia Tech, Jordan Leggett of Clemson, and Jeremy Sprinkle of Arkansas. Two other TEs that may be available on day 3 that could end up being big sleepers are Ashland’s Adam Shaheen and Michigan’s Jake Butt. Shaheen is a late riser and Butt was a highly regarded before tearing his ACL in his last career college game.[Sean2]
Below are the Tight End measurements from the 2017 NFL Combine.
|Brown, Pharaoh||Oregon||6-6||255||10 3/8||35 5/8|
|Carter, Cethan||Nebraska||6-3||241||9||32 3/8|
|Daniels, Darrell||Washington||6-3||247||10 1/4||34 1/2|
|Engram, Evan||Mississippi||6-3||234||10||33 1/2|
|Everett, Gerald||South Alabama||6-3||239||8 1/2||33|
|Hikutini, Cole||Louisville||6-4||247||10||32 3/4|
|Hodges, Bucky||Virginia Tech||6-6||257||10 1/8||32 1/2|
|Howard, OJ||Alabama||6-6||251||10||33 3/4|
|Kittle, George||Iowa||6-4||247||9 1/4||33 1/8|
|Leggett, Jordan||Clemson||6-6||258||10 3/8||33 1/2|
|Njoku, David||Miami (Florida)||6-4||246||10||35 1/4|
|Orndoff, Scott||Pittsburgh||6-5||253||10||33 1/4|
|Plinke, Hayden||UTEP||6-4||264||10||32 1/2|
|Roberts, Michael||Toledo||6-4||270||11 1/2||33 1/4|
|Saubert, Eric||Drake||6-5||253||10 3/8||33 1/2|
|Shaheen, Adam||Ashland||6-6||278||9 5/8||33 1/2|
|Smith, Jonnu||Florida Int||6-3||248||9 1/4||32 7/8|
|Sprinkle, Jeremy||Arkansas||6-5||252||10 3/4||34 1/2|