Richner: Top TEs
Top 5 Tight Ends
I’m curious to see what the reaction of NFL clubs will be this year to the tight end position. Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez were dynamic forces from the tight end position last season and in just their second seasons. This year's class has a great deal of athletic tight ends that could be big, potential matchup problems and key offensive weapons. Coby Fleener and Ladarius Green lead this year's group of promising tight ends.
1. Coby Fleener (Stanford): Coming from a pro-style offense in college, which used multiple tight end formations, Fleener is prepared to handle the nuisances and responsibilities of the NFL. At 6'6" and 247 lbs., to go along with his 4.45 40 time, he will be a tough matchup for linebackers to cover in space and for defensive secondary players to tackle. He averaged 19.6 yards-per-reception and had ten TDs last year. Fleener is an above average run blocker. He does have a mean streak in him and a willingness to drag would-be tacklers a few extra yards to pick up critical yardage.
2. Ladarius Green (Louisiana): In the same mold as Fleener, Ladarius Green is 6'6" and 240 lbs. with excellent pass catching abilities. With 148 career receptions for over 2,200 career receiving yards, he out-produced any of the other tight ends in this year's draft. In the All-Pro Report, I point out the fact that small schools prospects should dominate and that is exactly what Green did. He needs coaching in run blocking, for he played in a spread, passing-orientated offense. He could turn out to be a huge offense weapon if the right team selects him. I would project him to go in the second round. Anything after that he is a steal.
3. Dwayne Allen (Clemson): The John Mackey Award winner and First Team All-American, Dwayne Allen has the skills and talent to be the top tight end in this year's class. With 93 career receptions, 1079 career receiving yards and 12 TDs, he was a consistent producer for Clemson. His route running abilities are at the top of this year's class of tight ends. He would excel in the H-Back style position similar to Chris Cooley's role.
4. Orson Charles (Georgia) : Charles is a bit undersized, but he does have the speed and athletic ability to be compared to many of today's top NFL tight ends. A two-year starter in the SEC, Charles had 94 career receptions for 1,370 receiving yards and 10 TDs. If he had stayed for his senior season, he would have been the top rated tight end on my board next year. His strengths come in his pass blocking abilities and his team leadership skills. He was voted to the SEC Academic Honor Roll and won the Georgia Team Leadership Award.
5. Michael Egnew (Missouri) : The Missouri Tigers have been producing tight ends at a fairly decent rate the past few seasons. In 2009, Chase Coffman was taken in the third round by the Cincinnati Bengals and in 2008, the Cleveland Browns selected Martin Rucker. Neither one of these players has necessarily set the league on fire with his play. I believe Egnew is better than his alumni counterparts. At 6'5" and 252 lbs., he has the frame to be a dominant force in the red zone and across the middle of the field. For his career, Egnew had 147 receptions for 1,332 receiving yards and 8 TDs. Coming from a spread offense, he should be suited for the passing game in the NFL, but will need to work on his run blocking. In pass protection, he is susceptible to outside speed rushers and will need to work on his overall foot work in this area.