NFL Draft: Scouting The Tights Ends & Fullbacks

<p>In the ever-evolving NFL, the tight end position has taken on new meaning. Once thought of as the sixth offensive lineman used to catch the ball on third down, today's players are big, fast athletes who create mismatches in the defensive secondary.</p> <p>Eventhough the Patriots have no need for another TE, they are looking at players on the other half of this list, the Full Backs. Don't be surprised to see them take one of the names here on draft day.</P>

Heath Miller School: Virginia
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 256 40: 4.79 Year: 4Jr

Bio: Three-year starter who's led Virginia in receiving the past two seasons, posting 41/ 541/5 as a junior after 70/835/6 the prior year. Recipient of the Mackey Award in 2004, handed to the nation's top tight end. All-American and All-Conference player the past two years.

Positives: Play-making pass catcher slowly turning into a complete tight end. Very quick off the snap into routes, displays good focus and easily makes the catch in traffic. Shields away opponents with his frame, extends his hands and looks the ball in. Settles into the open spot on the field, consistently gets separation, and makes himself an available target for the quarterback. Possesses soft hands and plucks the ball from the air. Sturdy pass catcher who takes a pounding or makes the catch with defenders draped on him and holds onto the ball. Solid route runner. Blocks with leverage and strong enough to turn defenders off the point. Good potential as a position blocker.

Negatives: Must learn to finish blocks. Not a consistent downfield receiving threat and does not present himself as a tight end who consistently makes plays in the secondary.

Analysis: Productive and reliable in all aspects of the game, Miller is not as flashy nor as explosive compared to many of the recent junior tight ends who have entered the draft, though he may be a more complete player at the position. Offers good upside at the next level, and will be quietly productive in several areas throughout his NFL career.
Matt Jones School: Arkansas
Ht: 6-6 Wt: 242 40: 4.42 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Three-year starter who also spent time on the school's basketball team. All-Conference selection as a senior after totaling 57.2%/2,073/ 15/12 as a passer while leading the team in rushing with 83/622/6, for an average of 7.5 yards per carry. Junior totals included a career-high 707 yards rushing with eight scores.

Positives: Productive college quarterback who projects to wide receiver or even tight end at the next level. Intelligent passer who is patient in the pocket, buys time for receivers and finds the open wideout. Sells his ball fakes, senses pressure and remains poised throughout the action. Improvises when plays break down and is both fast and strong carrying the ball. Works runs, puts his shoulders into opponents and keeps the play in-bounds. Used at receiver during the Senior Bowl and made a seamless transition to the position. Displayed natural skills, using his large frame to shield away opponents, extending and plucking the pass out of the air over the middle or down the field.

Negatives: Slings the ball from the side as a quarterback, lacks top pass placement and has receivers constantly waiting on his throws. Cannot drive the deep ball nor does he zip the pass. Possesses more built-up speed rather than sudden explosion.

Analysis: An outstanding athlete who works hard in a variety of ways to make positive plays, the ability of Jones to play several different positions is enticing. Did an outstanding job transitioning to receiver at the Senior Bowl and even looked efficient long snapping and fielding kickoffs. His underdeveloped frame at over 240 pounds, combined with a lack of quickness and outright speed, may all add up to Jones eventually finding a home at tight end. Could start off as a slot receiver used in third-down or goal-line situations and a prospect with a large degree of upside for the next level.
Alex Smith School: Stanford
Ht: 6-4 Wt: 258 40: 4.73 Year: 5Sr

Bio: Three-year starter and All-Conference performer who posted 52/706/3 as a senior after junior totals of 24/185.

Positives: Athletic, pass-catching tight end who creates mismatches in the defensive backfield. Fluid releasing off the line, adjusts to the errant throw and looks the pass into his hands. Consistently finds the open spot in the defense and extends to pull the fast ball from the air. Shields opponents away with his frame and displays the ability to make the difficult catch in traffic or take a pounding and hold onto the ball. Excellent focus and concentration. Moves laterally with speed and very reliable. Bends his knees, blocks with leverage and works until the whistle blows.

Negatives: Not quick or explosive off the snap into blocks. Marginal playing strength at the point of attack and gets pushed back off the line. Only average footwork in pass protection.

Analysis: A consistent pass-catching threat who continually improved his game, Smith broke out as a senior and significantly enhanced his draft stock. Known as a hardworking player and high character prospect, he will receive solid consideration during the early part of round two and should immediately contribute as a rookie.
Joel Dreessen School: Colorado State
Ht: 6-4.5 Wt: 260 40: 4.81 Year: 5Sr

Bio: Four-year starter and All-Conference selection who posted 43/427/3 as a senior. All-Academic choice in the past.

Positives: Effective pass-catching tight end with solid size/speed numbers. Quick releasing off the line of scrimmage, runs well laterally and catches the pass in stride. Adjusts well, displays good eye/hand coordination and extends to make the reception away from his frame. Comes back to the quarterback, making himself an available target. Bends his knees, blocks with solid fundamentals and works throughout the play. Competitive and plays hurt.

Negatives: Marginal strength at the point of attack and does not get results blocking. Does not play to his timed speed. Never overly productive on the college level.

Analysis: Coming off a solid senior campaign in which he seemed unaffected by the quarterback change at Colorado State, Dreessen offers both physical and mental skills for the next level. Has upside and the potential to develop into a starting tight end, yet must start to pull the pieces together and make plays regularly.
Kevin Everett School: Miami-Fl
Ht: 6-4.5 Wt: 241 40: 4.75 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Moved into a starting role as a senior and caught 23 passes for 310 yards. Backed up Kellen Winslow, Jr. the prior year and posted 9/90/9.

Positives: Big, athletic tight end with great upside for the next level. Fluid releasing into pass routes, immediately gets to top speed and adjusts to make the difficult catch. Looks the ball into his hands and strong running after the reception, breaking tackles to pick up positive yardage. Displays good focus and pulls the pass out of a crowd. Solid route runner and uses good body positioning to shield away opponents. Leverage blocker who seals holes for the running game or removes linebackers on the second level.

Negatives: Does not display soft, natural hands. Only average blocking strength and cannot finish. Had shoulder surgery at the end of the season and still recuperating as of early March.

Analysis: A well-sized tight end who plays much faster than his forty time, Everett displays flashes of dominance as a pass catcher with the ability to make the tough reception during the game's important moments. Suffered with minor injuries as a starter last season and will need a lot of time to become a complete player, but has the ability to develop into a team's number one tight end.

Top 5 Fullbacks

Nehemiah Broughton School: Citadel
Ht: 5-11.5 Wt: 250 40: 4.65 Year: 4Sr

Bio: Three-year starter and All-Conference selection the past two years. Rushing totals as a senior were 180/793/5, after 165/778/8 the prior season. Posted a career-best 1,038 yards rushing as a sophomore. Totaled 46 receptions the past three years.

Positives: Big, powerful back who possesses solid running skills. Runs with forward lean, puts his shoulders down into opponents and falls forward when tackled. Keeps moving up the field, yet also displays the ability to slide off tackles. Surprisingly nimble with good first-step quickness. Has the ability to quickly cut back, make defenders miss and displays a burst through the hole. Helps the quarterback sell the play fakes and aggressive with blocking assignments. Adequate pass catcher out of the backfield.

Negatives: Overall, not a back who can create when nothing is available. A little stiff.

Analysis: A bruising runner on the inside who can take a pounding, Broughton presents himself as a complete runner on film. Combines solid ball-carrying skills as well as football intangibles, which should help him at the next level. Performed well as a lead blocker at the Senior Bowl and has the potential to be a triple-threat fullback if he improves his hands.
Manuel White Jr. School: UCLA
Ht: 6-2.5 Wt: 244 40: 4.65 Year: 5Sr

Bio: Starting featured back at UCLA the past two seasons, totaling 164/764/8 on the ground as a senior, also adding 20/115/1 catching the ball. Junior rushing totals included 96/379/3 in eight games. Played fullback with the first unit as a sophomore.

Positives: Big, strong, athletic ball handler with potential as a triple-threat fullback in the NFL. Hard-working runner who breaks tackles, falls forward to pick up the extra yardage and can be a battering ram in the middle of the field. Patient, waits for blocks to develop and displays decent footwork for a big man. Solid hands out of the backfield and shows good blocking vision. Tough and works hard until the whistle blows.

Negatives: Lacks speed around the outside and does not have a burst through the hole. Adequate blocker but must learn to finish.

Analysis: Possessing excellent size/speed numbers, White is a threat handling the ball, yet also has potential as a lead blocker. Needs repetition to round out his game, but a solid prospect who could break into a starting lineup two or three seasons down the road.
Noah Herron School: Northwestern
Ht: 5-11 Wt: 224 40: 4.74 Year: 5Sr

Bio: Moved into the starting lineup as a senior, leading the team in rushing with 274/1,381/5 on the ground and 36/351/1 as a pass catcher. Shared the ball with Jason Wright as a junior, yet still posted 739 yards rushing with five scores.

Positives: Good-sized ball carrier with solid running intangibles. Keeps driving forward displaying strength in his lower body and a punishing runner between tackle who picks up yardage off initial contact. Works to finish runs and always giving top effort. Also patient, waits for blocks to develop and immediately finds the running lanes. Solid receiver out of the backfield, extending his hands to catch the ball away from his frame.

Negatives: Lacks speed and agility around the corner. Not an elusive runner who can immediately change direction or make defenders miss. Must pick all aspects of his blocking.

Analysis: An offensive threat as a ball carrier or pass catcher, Herron's ultimate NFL position could be at fullback. Has potential as a triple threat player, yet must quickly improve all of his blocking skills as well as intensity.
Zach Tuiasosopo School: Washington
Ht: 6-1.5 Wt: 249 40: 5.07 Year: 5Sr

Bio: Three-year starter at fullback who saw extensive action at linebacker as a freshman. Broke his leg during the third game of his senior campaign and finished the year with 5/62 on the ground. All-Conference selection as a junior after 29/87/2 carrying the ball with 11/132 as a pass catcher. Pleaded guilty to malicious mischief in April of 2003 after breaking several car windows while under the influence.

Positives: Nice sized fullback with possibilities as a triple threat player. Quick off the snap, blocks with leverage and strong at the point of attack. Displays good blocking vision, has a nasty attitude and always looking for someone to hit. Jolts opponents at the point and finishes blocks. Solid receiver out of the backfield and does a good job carrying the ball.

Negatives: Must concentrate and play under control for 60 minutes. Marginally productive handling the ball in college.

Analysis: One of the better lead blockers in this draft, Tuiasosopo offers a good degree of upside potential for the next level. Must remain healthy and keep himself focused on the task at hand, yet could be a very productive player at the next level for a long time to come.
Keith Joseph School: Texas A&M
Ht: 6-2 Wt: 254 40: 4.78 Year: 5Sr

Bio: Full-time starter the past two seasons, totaling 58/207/3 on the ground as a senior after 21/64/2 the prior year.

Positives: Solid collegiate player who does not stand out in any area. Displays good blocking vision, squares into opponents and strong at the point of attack. Solid short-yardage runner who falls forward when tackled. Runs with excellent lean, picks up a lot of yardage off initial contact and finds the running lanes. Helps the quarterback sell the ball fakes.

Negatives: Not explosive nor an offensive threat. Lacks true fullback power and not a lead blocker who opens up big holes for his ball carrier.

Analysis: A solid prospect, Joseph possesses good size/speed numbers, yet does not always play to them and has yet to prove he is the complete package.

Complete Tight End Rankings - Complete Fullback Rankings - Complete NFL Draft Rankings

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