Panther Prospects: TE's

It's no secret that the Panthers want to upgrade their Tight End position through the draft. PantherInsider.com has compiled a list of candidates that will be drafted on day 1. Will they end up Panthers? That's the question.

Leonard Pope

Georgia
Ht: 6-7 Wt: 250
Profile | Video

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.


Joe Klopfenstein

Colorado
Ht: 6-6 Wt: 245
Profile | Video

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.


Anthony Fasano

Notre Dame
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 255
Profile | Video

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.


Marcedes Lewis

UCLA
Ht: 6-6 Wt: 255
Profile | Video

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.


Dominique Byrd

USC
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 260
Profile | Video

Bio: Three-year starter who totaled 25/274 last season after winning All Conference honors as a junior with 37/384/3.

Pos: Natural pass-catching tight end with reliable hands. Quick to top speed, runs well laterally and makes the reception in stride. Has strong hands, snatching the ball from the air. Sharp route-runner who gets separation from defenders then displays shiftiness transitioning up field after the reception. Good eye/hand coordination and adjustment to the errant throw.

Neg: Marginal blocker who does not get results at the line of scrimmage or downfield. Has been plagued with durability issues the past two years.

Analysis: A reliable pass-catcher, Byrd nicely fits in as a move tight end at the next level. Must improve his blocking to complete his game yet offers starting potential.


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