2011 NFL Draft Player Rankings: Tight Ends
The key to many offenses in the NFL is a tight end that can do it all. Every team looks for that special player that can block when needed and catch the ball all over the field, and there’s no better to discover that new tight end sensation than in the NFL Draft.
There are different types of tight ends as most of them aren’t proficient in every aspect of the game. Some teams have a tight end they use solely for blocking purposes, and some of them have pass catching tight ends that can make plays in the middle of the field, and sometimes even line up as a split end or slot receiver to create a mismatch.
1) Kyle Rudolph- Notre Dame*- 6’6 1/8 259
It’s tough to question Rudolph’s ability, as he’s one of the most athletic tight ends in all of college football. While he’s not the fastest tight end, he does have solid speed for a guy his size, but his best asset is his hands. He’s very reliable all over the field, and runs routes like a wide receiver. A season ending hamstring injury cut his junior campaign short, but in a weak tight end class, he could still come out and be the first tight end off of the board.
2) Lance Kendricks- Wisconsin- 6’2 7/8 243
Kendricks is another athletic tight end in this draft class who has a lot of experience in Wisconsin. Kendricks has good ability to run after the catch, and has reliable hands. He doesn’t see as many receptions as he’d like as the Badgers aren’t a huge passing team, but he makes plays when his number is called.
3) D.J. Williams- Arkansas- 6’2 1/8 245
If you haven’t noticed, the trend here is athleticism among the tight ends, and it doesn’t stop here. Williams is a better receiving tight end in the middle of the field, and is a surprisingly good deep option. He can also run after the catch, and has been a big reason for Mallett’s success. He could get separation better in the red zone, but he’s an efficient blocker as well.
4) Virgil Green- Nevada- 6’3 3/8 249
Green is one of the most under appreciated tight ends in this NFL Draft. He’s a big, soft handed receiving tight end who uses his athletic skills to his advantage. He’s an excellent red zone tight end, and he runs routes well. He’s good enough to stay in and block, although he could use improvement. His draft stock could soar at the NFL Combine.
5) Luke Stocker- Tennessee- 6’4 3/4 258
Stocker is a big, physical tight end that can do it all. He’s excellent in the middle of the field, he has the ability to get behind the linebackers and make key catches, and he’s a tough blocker. His lack of overall speed makes him slightly less coveted than some of the other tight ends in the draft class, but he’s a hard working, lunch pail type of player who gives his best effort on every play.
6) Jordan Cameron- USC- 6’5 1/4 254
Cameron looks to be this year’s Jimmy Graham. He’s tall and lean, but also quite physical. He has underrated hands, and while we didn’t get to see more than a handful of catches for him, he looks to be one of the safer tight ends to find in the middle rounds.
7) Weslye Saunders- South Carolina- 6’5 1/8 270
Saunders is a big body with very good hands. Saunders is an efficient blocker as well, but hasn’t played in 2010 after being dismissed by Steve Spurrier.
8 ) Rob Housler- Florida Atlantic- 6’5 3/8 284
Housler is one of my favorite tight ends in the draft. While his size mimics more of a wide receiver, he’s very physical when being defended. Housler often uses his speed and excellent route running to separate from starting cornerbacks as he can line up at split end as well. He’s a threat to take the play to the end zone after the catch on every touch, and should move up draft boards.
9) Lee Smith- Marshall- 6’5 7/8 266
Smith is a heavily utilized tight end who makes his name in the short-intermediate routes in the middle of the field. He does a nice job capping the end in blocking situations, and gets a good release off of the line.
10) Schuylar Oordt- Northern Iowa- 6’5 7/8 261
Oordt is a big time pass catching tight end who is very quick for his size. He makes plays down field consistently, and often plays like a wide receiver. His big play ability could make him a higher draft pick.
11) Mike McNeil- Nebraska- 6’4 237
McNeil is a smaller, quicker tight end who can make plays down the field with his speed. His hands are questionable at times as he often catches the ball with his body. McNeil is good at getting separation in the middle of the field, and can turn up the field quickly, making defenders miss.
12) Ben Guidugli- Cincinnati- 6’1 230
The agile tight end plays more like a wide receiver, and doesn’t have excellent size. He may be best as a wide receiver at the next level, although he doesn’t have wide receiver speed. He makes tough catches down field and has been reliable for Cincinnati.
13) Zack Pianalto- North Carolina- 6’3 1/4 256
Pianalto has been very efficient in the middle of the field for North Carolina. He doesn’t see many red zone looks, but he has deep play ability and can get behind the linebackers and get separation.
14) Alston Umuolo- San Diego State- 6’4 250
Umuolo started 2010 off on the Mackey Award list, but has struggled with a hip injury in his senior season. Umuolo is a nice pass catcher over the middle of the field and is fairly athletic, showing good speed, despite a big frame.
15) Charlie Gantt- Michigan State- 6’4 252
Gantt’s calling is as a blocking tight end at the next level, although he can surprise you and make a play down field. His upside is limited, but he is one of the best blocking tight ends in the nation.
16) Stephen Skelton- Fordham- 6’5 250
Skelton had a solid career with Fordham where he played with brother John, now with the Arizona Cardinals. Skelton catches well down field, and can run a bit after the catch. He’s a bruiser in the middle of the field.
17) Preston Dial- Alabama- 6’3 236
Dial is a big time run blocking tight end. Despite not being a bigger tight end, he’s not quite as athletic as we’d like to see, but he does possess good skills in red zone.
18) Jeffery Anderson- UAB- 6’3 255
Anderson doesn’t get much attention down at UAB, but he makes plays all over the field. He’s started games since his freshman year, and broke out in 2008 and hasn’t slowed down since. He’ll make a pass happy team very happy with his athletic ability and great hands.
19) Cameron Graham- Louisville- 6’3 1/8 244
The knock on Graham is his athleticism, although for a bigger guy, he’s not terribly slow. He’s best on third downs, using his reliable hands to make big time catches. He won’t burn anybody down the field, but he’ll eat up the middle of the field and could be an asset in the West Coast Offense.
20) Konrad Reuland- Stanford- 6’6 256
Journeyman Konrad Reuland transferred from Notre Dame, and saw action as Stanford’s blocking tight end and short yardage tight end. He has solid hands, and possesses solid red zone ability.
21) Kyle Adams- Purdue- 6’4 250
Adams is a big target with reliable hands and decent athleticism. Has great body control and is an excellent blocker. Not especially fast or explosive. Won’t be a stud offensive play-maker at the position in the NFL. Figures to make a great number two tight end who can block well and help with underneath routes.
22) Joe Torchia- Virginia- 6’6 264
Torchia is a massive target with a good frame and solid blocking ability. He has the potential to be groomed into a special player, but offensively is still a bit raw, while injuries have killed his stock.
23) Eric Peitz- Colorado State
Peitz has adequate height and speed for the position. He’s a reliable target, but doesn’t have the athleticism or explosiveness to be a major player at the next level.
24) Richard Gordon- Miami (Fl.)- 6’4 265
Gordon is an interesting prospect, as he has all the size, speed, and athleticism you could ask for at the position, but there isn’t a ton of evidence supporting the notion that he can succeed at the next level. Had just 10 catches in his entire college career. He’s inexperienced and quite raw. He lacks fluid movement in his routes, and appears a bit awkward overall as a receiver.
25) Greg Smith- Texas- 6’4 250
Smith isn’t a flashy tight end, but he has solid size, speed, and athleticism. Pretty inexperienced as a receiver and more of a blocking prospect. Still, broke-out somewhat in the 2011 Senior Bowl with four catches, including a 35-yard reception.
26) Martell Webb- Michigan- 6’4 268
Solid size and athleticism with some versatility. Really a quality blocker. Doesn’t have a ton of experience as a receiver.
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