Senior Bowl: Tight race at Tight End

MOBILE, Ala. - While each offensive player seemingly takes longer to assimilate to each offensive system during all-star games, tight ends get to prove their worth and versatility in between picking up the schemes. Ranking each at the Senior Bowl is as tight as it gets.

The three major days of practices are over at the 2013 Senior Bowl, and several players' stock may have shifted in one direction or the other based on the total access the NFL scouts and media has at each practice.

At the tight end position, things are about as close as it gets considering the half-dozen representatives at the position each fit the mold of either the modern tight end, primarily as a pass-catcher, or the traditional block-first threat.

Either way, ranks each as they performed during the week, not how they may project at the next level.

1. Ryan Otten, San Jose State - The most balanced of any tight end in terms of blocking and receiving was Otten. He blocked well and caught the ball at a serviceable rate and with good hands though not very quick out of his breaks.

2. Nick Kasa, Colorado - The big former lineman is about as stout as it gets as a blocker, and he has a mean streak to him, but his pass-catching and route-running is still a work in progress. Kasa was the quickest tight end off the line in both running and passing situations.

3. Mychal Rivera, Tennessee - Not very heralded among draft experts, but the UT product is the most natural receiving tight end of the group. He has the best hands and proved he could go up and snag the ball out of the air in tight spots. Rivera's route-running and blocking needs work, but he may fit somewhere down the line in today's pass-first NFL.

4. Vance McDonald, Rice - The seam specialist always seemed to be able to make a tough catch in traffic, and he ran the best routes of any tight end in the field. However, his hands were subpar and his blocking effort was just slightly above average.

5. Michael Williams, Alabama - Big and bold as a blocker as he did some much in helping 'Bama to a BCS title, Williams is very stout at the point of attack. However, when the ball is in the air, he doesn't create separation from defenders either with his routes or with natural speed.

6. Jack Doyle, Western Kentucky - Not very physical at the line of scrimmage, Doyle was gotten the better of some during the week. He helped his cause as a receiver a bit, but not enough to rank higher on this list.

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