Draft: Scouting Guards, Tackles & Tight Ends

One of the better tight end groups in a while, for TE talent and depth. There is quality at the top with three potential first round picks. At the guard position, the draft offers several players with the ability to quickly break into starting line-ups in the NFL, but little depth after that. As for tackles, the senior tackle class did not live up to expectations. There may be only three first round picks in the group. Here's a look at the top five prospects at each position.

TOP 5 TIGHT ENDS

Full Name: Vernon Davis School: Maryland Pos: TE

Ht: 6-3.5 Wt: 254 40: 4.40 Year: 3Jr

Bio: All-Conference and All-American selection as a junior after totaling 51/871/6. Sophomore totals were 27/441/3, when he started six games. Ran 4.41 at the combine, totaling 33 repetitions on the bench press.

Pos: Explosive athlete swiftly developing into an outstanding football player. Quick off the snap, gets downfield and creates mismatches in the secondary. Plays with good pad level, adjusts to the throw and makes the difficult reception in a crowd. Has soft hands, and is a sturdy pass catcher who takes the big hit then holds onto the ball. Immediately transitions up the field running after the reception. Solid route-runner who quickly gets into breaks then stays low on exit. Shields opponents away with his frame or physically beats them down to make the catch. Strong, controls opponents at the point blocking or beats jam at the line of scrimmage.

Neg: Still raw and indecisive on the field. Not a dominant drive blocker who finishes.

Analysis: An exceptional athlete, Davis offers tremendous upside potential. Continuing to make strides in all areas of his game, he is a top 12 pick who will grow into a complete tight end at the next level.


Full Name: Leonard Pope School: Georgia Pos: TE

Ht: 6-7.5 Wt: 258 40: 4.67 Year: 3Jr

Bio: Broke into the starting unit as a sophomore and has won All-Conference honors ever since. Led the team in receiving last year with 39/541/4 after 25/482/6 as sophomore.

Pos: King-sized pass-catching threat who creates mismatches in a defensive secondary. Quickly releases into routes, remains focused throughout the action and makes the tough grab in a crowd. Immediately gets to top speed and consistently makes important receptions down the field. Extends and adjusts to grab the pass from the air, displaying soft and strong hands. Gives effort blocking.

Neg: Lacks footwork in pass protection. Bends at the waist as a blocker and does not finish the play.

Analysis: An imposing target, Pope has been a game-changing pass-catcher the past two seasons. May never turn into a dominant blocking force but his playmaking skills catching the ball will give him significant opportunities as a rookie.


Full Name: Marcedes Lewis School: UCLA Pos: TE

Ht: 6-6.5 Wt: 261 40: 4.85 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Three-year starter awarded All-Conference and All-American honors as a senior after a team-leading 58/741/10. All-Conference recipient as a junior after 32/4077.

Pos: Exceptional pass-catching tight end with tremendous upside for the next level. Quickly releases into routes, finds the soft spot in the defense and consistently makes plays in the secondary. Has soft hands and pulls the ball from the air even with defenders draped on him. Works back to the quarterback and regularly makes the acrobatic grab. Takes a pounding yet holds onto the throw. Works hard running after the reception, displaying the ability to break tackles and carry the pile. Plays with outstanding focus, concentration and body control.

Neg: Must improve his blocking strength and intensity.

Analysis: A team player who displayed a willingness to work hard and improve his game, Lewis is a natural receiver with consistent hands. Needs to polish his blocking yet offers starting potential at the next level.


Full Name: Joe Klopfenstein School: Colorado Pos: TE

Ht: 6-6 Wt: 255 40: 4.66 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Three-year starter and All-Conference selection since his sophomore campaign. Senior totals included 32/463/4 after 33/418/5 as a junior.

Pos: Athletic tight end consistently making plays in the defensive secondary. Quick into routes, displays outstanding focus and consistently makes the difficult reception. Will extend for the difficult catch or easily adjusts to the errant throw. Uses his frame to shield away opponents and plays heads up football. Adequate route-runner and gets separation from defenders.

Neg: Marginal playing strength and has trouble finishing off opposing linebackers.

Analysis: A playmaking tight end with outstanding work habits, Klopfenstein learns quickly and has been reliable at Colorado. Offers the tools to develop into a productive starter at the next level and should see significant action as a rookie.


Full Name: Anthony Fasano School: Notre Dame Pos: TE

Ht: 6-4.5 Wt: 250 40: 4.73 Year: 4Jr

Bio:

Full-time starter the past two seasons. Junior totals were 45/564/2 after 27/367/4 the prior year.

Pos: Athletic tight end and natural pass-catching threat. Quickly releases into routes, adjusts to the errant throw or lays out for the difficult reception. Extends making the reception away from his frame, displays solid concentration and works to pick up yardage after the catch. Consistently finds the open space in the defense. Blocks with excellent pad level, jolting defenders at the point of attack.

Neg: Does not always win out in battles. Marginally strong and cannot finish blocks.

Analysis: Possessing a solid combination of intelligence, athleticism and intensity, Fasano offers starting potential at the next level as a move tight end. Could be an effective blocker in time as he physically matures.


TOP 5 GUARDS

Full Name: Max Jean-Gilles School: Georgia Pos: G

Ht: 6-3.5 Wt: 355 40: 5.53 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Moved into the starting lineup as a sophomore and awarded All-Conference honors every season since. Played both left tackle and guard.

Pos: Big, powerful blocker who dominates the opposition. Quickly gets into blocks, explosive at the point and controls defenders or buries them into the ground. Keeps his feet moving throughout the action and jolts defenders with terrific hand punch. Anchors and rarely gives up an inch of room. Plays heads-up football,

Neg: Gets lazy and sloppy at times. Struggles redirecting or adjusting.

Analysis: A dominant blocker with the versatility to be used at several spots, Jean-Gilles has immediate starting potential at the next level. Could reach All-Pro status if he consistently plays to his capabilities.


Full Name: Davin Joseph School: Oklahoma Pos: G

Ht: 6-2.5 Wt: 311 40: 5.15 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Moved in with the first unit as a sophomore, then awarded All-Conference and All-Academic honors the past three years.

Pos: Self-motivated, small-area blocker who can be a devastating force. Moves defenders off the line or engulfs them at the point of attack. Outstanding position blocker, keeps his head on a swivel and displays great awareness. Strong in his upper body and jolt defenders with great hand punch.

Neg: Lacks overall quickness, adjustment and blocking range. Not light on his feet. Minimally effective when used at left tackle as a senior.

Analysis: A hard-working blocker with both size and athleticism, Joseph projects well to the next level. Offers potential in several blocking schemes and should break into the starting lineup by the end of his rookie season.


Full Name: Charles Spencer School: Pittsburgh Pos: G

Ht: 6-4.5 Wt: 352 40: 5.36 Year: 5Sr

Bio: Former defensive lineman who moved to the offensive side of the ball as a junior, then proceeded to win All-Conference honors the following two years. Used at left tackle as a senior after playing guard the prior year.

Pos: Big, strong blocker with a good degree of upside. Athletic, plays with leverage and moves opponents off the line. Displays good hand punch, pushes rushers from their angle of attack and works assignments. Effective position blocker on the second level. Patient in pass protection and anchors at the point.

Neg: Lacks blocking range and top footwork. Poorly conditioned and seemingly skates through plays at times.

Analysis: Ever-improving on the offensive line, Spencer made major strides in his game the past two years. Has starting potential at the next level yet must put forth consistent effort and properly condition himself.


Full Name: Taitusi Lutui School: USC Pos: G

Ht: 6-3.5 Wt: 334 40: 5.45 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Two-year starter used at right tackle and guard. All-Conference and All-American choice as a senior.

Pos: Powerful small-area blocker best on the strong side. Quick into blocks, plays with good lean and very strong at the point. Solid position blocker with the ability to turn defenders off the line. Explosive, jolts opponents off the snap and works to finish blocks.

Neg: Lacks adjustment, footwork and does not play with great balance. Struggles moving laterally and heavy-footed in motion.

Analysis: A large blocker who is tough to get around, Lutui has shown consistent signs of progress the past two years. Not as tall as most would like in a strong-side tackle yet has starting potential at the next level.


Full Name: Rob Sims School: Ohio State Pos: G

Ht: 6-2.5 Wt: 307 40: 5.21 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Two-year starter at left tackle who moved inside to guard as a senior.

Pos: Athletic blocker coming off a good senior campaign. Quick off the snap, jolts opponents at the point and seals them from the action. Picks up stunts or twists and flashes skill in space.

Neg: Weight-room strong yet not a dominant blocker who finishes the play. Minimal skills in motion. Must make better use of angles.

Analysis: Consistent the past three seasons, Sims benefited from the move to guard as a senior. Must take his game to another level yet holds potential as a back-up.


TOP FIVE TACKLES


Full Name: D'Brickashaw Ferguson School: Virginia Pos: T

Ht: 6-6 Wt: 312 40: 5.21 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Four-year starter who missed two games in his college career. All-Conference and All-American choice over the past two years.

Pos: Athletic, pass-blocking tackle with tremendous upside potential. Displays outstanding footwork, blocking range and ability protecting the edge. Fluid pulling across the line of scrimmage and effective blocking on the move. Quick with his hands, stays square and jolts opponents at the point of attack. Patient and plays with intelligence.

Neg: Must improve his playing balance, strength and run-blocking abilities. Not a true finisher. Mild-mannered and not a high-intensity prospect.

Analysis: An exciting prospect with All-Pro possibilities at the next level, Ferguson offers immediate starting potential and will only get better as he physically matures. Well- spoken and respected, his future is bright in the NFL.


Full Name: Winston Justice School: USC Pos: T

Ht: 6-6 Wt: 319 40: 5.15 Year: 4Jr

Bio: Moved into the starting lineup as a true freshman, then awarded All-Conference honors as a sophomore and junior. Suspended in ‘04 season after a student conduct violation.

Pos: Athletic, versatile blocker who can be used at left or right tackle. Strong at the point, seals defenders from the action and pounds them into the turf when the opportunity arises. Fights with his hands, can adjust and easily anchors at the point. Controls opponents or turns them off the line once engaged in a block.

Neg: Not explosive off the snap into run blocks. Had several off-the-field incidents. Interviewed poorly at the combine.

Analysis: Combining size, strength and athleticism, Justice offers terrific upside potential for the next level. If he keeps his focus on the football field, he should only get better as he physically matures through the years.


Full Name: Eric Winston School: Miami-Fl Pos: T

Ht: 6-6.5 Wt: 310 40: 4.97 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Former tight end who moved into the starting lineup as a sophomore. All-Conference selection as a senior and awarded the Jacobs Trophy as the top lineman in the ACC. Started the first four games of his junior campaign, then suffered a torn ligament in his left knee, ending his season.

Pos: Athletic blocker with terrific upside for the next level. Patient, makes effective use of angles and is a strong position blocker. Stays square, jolts defenders with hand punch then turns them off the line. Blocks with good lean and a wide base. Alert and works well with teammates. Displayed improved blocking strength as a senior.

Neg: Lacks top blocking range and not quick-footed. Did not distinguish himself during his senior campaign.

Analysis: A former top 10 selection prior to his knee injury, Winston never seemed completely healthy in ‘05. Previously displayed the skills teams want in a left tackle and could be a bargain in April's draft for a franchise which patiently coaxes him back to form.


Full Name: Marcus McNeill School: Auburn Pos: T

Ht: 6-7.5 Wt: 336 40: 5.08 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Four-year starter and All-Conference selection the past two years. Awarded All-American honors as a senior.

Pos: King-sized athlete who dominates the opposition. Strong at the point, jolts opponents and easily removes them from their angle of attack. Makes effective use of blocking angles, keeps his feet moving throughout the action and slides off the edge. Patient in pass protection, flashes abilities on the second level and looks relatively athletic moving about the field. Possesses long arms and big hands, which he effectively uses.

Neg: Bends at the waist, lacks balance and seems sluggish at times. Has a long history of back problems, which prevented him from practicing most of his senior season.

Analysis: At the top of his game, McNeill is an awesome talent worthy of a top 10 pick. Concerns about his ailing back are likely to push him into the latter half of round one. A starter and dominant force in the NFL if he stays healthy.


Full Name: Daryn Colledge School: Boise State Pos: T

Ht: 6-4.5 Wt: 299 40: 5.04 Year: 5Sr

Bio: Four-year starter awarded All-Conference honors since his sophomore campaign. Previously timed at 4.93 in the 40-yard dash.

Pos: Hard-working offensive tackle who was very productive on the college level. Nasty and works to finish off opponents, yet a lineman who plays with great intelligence. Patient, keeps his feet moving throughout the play and slides off the edge in pass protection. Makes outstanding use of blocking angles and body positioning.

Neg: Not a dominant run-blocker who gets much movement off the line. Marginal skills in motion. Does not possess the height teams want in a blind-side tackle.

Analysis: A coachable prospect and favorite of the Boise State staff, Colledge is a polished lineman with a good game. Can quickly start in the right system at either tackle or guard.



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