This year’s crop of tight ends doesn’t boast the athletic, speedy tight ends in year’s past, although there are a few that could fit the bill.
However, outside of the top six, it’s extremely arguable that an NFL team will find it difficult to get an upgrade over what they already have.
Take a look at our tight end rankings for the 2010 NFL Draft class:
Is basically a wide receiver in a tight end’s body, although he is still a very effective blocker. He’s an exceptional receiver with a second hear in the open field, allowing him to make the type of plays that elite NFL tight ends are expected to make.
Gresham has excellent height and size, which only works to his advantage, as he’s rarely slow off the line, and he is able to attack the ball at it’s highest point.
A tough runner, Gresham is a beast and tough to take down. He’s a bit raw in his route-running, but from the tape, it appears he has all the tools and intelligence to run every necessary route, at least adequately. There’s nothing to say that Gresham won’t be the first tight end off the board.
His injury history is a slight concern, but he appears to be fully healed and ready to take on the NFL.
2. Aaron Hernandez (Florida)
Hernandez isn’t the best blocker in the world, but as far as his pass-catching ability and overall athleticism, very few even come close.
He runs a great 40 time and has a good burst off the line, while also being able to elude defenders in the open field.
He needs more work on his blocking and overall strength, but as far as pass-catching tight ends go, he should easily be the second name called.
3. Rob Gronkowski (Arizona)
Gronkowski has excellent size and bulk for the position, and considering how tall and big he is, he has great speed and solid athleticism.
He’s a red-zone threat and a great receiver in traffic, and appears to be an adept blocker, although his technique could use some work.
He declared for the draft early, despite having back surgery, so where he lands will fully depend on how healthy he is, and whether or not NFL teams view his back as a major problem.
Dickson is a good receiver with a natural ability to make plays with the ball in his hands, especially for his position.
He has decent size and build for the position, and has great hands and running-after-the-catch ability. He could be a real threat in an offense that already has a bonafide blocking tight end, as he doesn’t have the ideal strength or blocking technique to be an ever-down tight end right away.
He could be higher if his fundamentals were better, but Dickson is still a borderline top-five talent, and should be plucked off the draft board before the fifth round.
5. Anthony McCoy (USC)
McCoy is an under-rated prospect by many, as he possesses excellent size and ball skills, and is a fearless receiver in traffic.
His agility and speed border on average, but he can show a burst in the seam once he gets going. His release off the line is slower than you’d like, but once he gets past the line, he’s difficult to defend, and even harder to take down.
Athletically, just as good as some of the other tight ends in this class, but he just doesn’t have the explosiveness that some of the better tight end prospects have.
Few of this year’s prospects challenge his overall effectiveness and readiness to compete at the next level, however. Despite allegations to the contrary, he has the potential to make plays on a regular basis at the next level, although it’s clear he needs to work on his release and acceleration.
6. Andrew Quarless (Penn State)
Easily a top tight end prospect due to exceptional size and speed, Quarless has simply fallen in the rankings due to a horrible character track history.
His work ethic and attitude are in severe question, despite his skills and intangibles being just about as good as either of the top two tight ends.
If he can make NFL GM’s believe he’s a changed man and can put it all together, he could shoot up the board.
Pitta is basically a wide receiver, but doesn’t have near the speed required for him to excel at the next level. He has solid size and blocking ability, which makes him a top-10 tight end prospect, although he’ll have to refine his technique at the next level.
He has great speed and athleticism for the position, however, and uses his dependable hands to catch the ball at it’s highest point, and is fairly reliable going over the middle.
He’s not an elite receiver off the jam, but is elusive enough to shake linebackers, and is extremely effective at getting open after he initially beats his man.
As talented as Pitta is, he may have a difficult time convincing NFL scouts that he can be a true tight end, rather than a slow wide receiver playing the position.
8. Tony Moeaki (Iowa)
Moeaki is a real sleeper at the position, as he has the size, speed, and intangibles to be a solid tight end at the next level, after displaying an ability to be very productive when heavily involved in Iowa’s offense.
However, the guy just can’t stay healthy.
It will be difficult for Moeaki to prove he can be durable enough to be effective at the next level, although his performances when he played were at times stellar.
9. Colin Peek (Alabama)
Peek is a big, strong target, although he doesn’t have the speed or play-making ability to be seen as an elite tight end prospect.
Still, he is a tenacious blocker with tremendous push off the line, and will get a good, hard look from teams looking for a capable receiver who excels at blocking.
Peek could be a mid-rounder if he is needing for his main strength, although teams looking for a dual threat tight end won’t find him as enticing as several other prospects.
10. Jimmy Graham (Miami)
Graham has excellent height and size, as well as the desired bulk to grow into a solid tight end at the next level.
However, he’s extremely raw, as he has just one full year of experience playing the position, and needs to refine his fundamentals is nearly every aspect of the game.
He doesn’t have elite speed, but he can still do some damage in the open field, and could grow to be formidable blocking tight end if he works at his craft. He could go undrafted due to his inexperience, and is clearly a project at the next level.