Scouting the 2004 Draft Tight End Position

Tight Ends Jeremy Shockey of the Giants, Randy McMichael of the Dolphins, Todd Heap of the Ravens and the most consistent TE in the league Tony Gonzalez of the Chiefs have brought stardom back to the Tight End position after years of fading. <br><br> The 2004 draft Tight End prospects have the ability to catch the ball, and the speed to take it the distance.

The Tight End is now back to be an intricate part of a passing offense after years of being labeled an extra blocker. Teams now have focus looking for the next Ozzie Newsome, Kellen Winslow, Todd Christensen, John Mackey or a Shannon Sharpe

Full Name: Kellen Winslow Jr School: Miami-Fl

Ht: 6-2 Wt: 249 40: 4.52 Number: 81

Bio:

2002: First-team All-Big East pick in his first season as the starter when he compiled the most productive receiving year ever by a Miami tight end, exceeding marks set by Glenn Dennison (54 for 594 in 1983) and Jeremy Shockey (7 TD catches in 2001). Led the team in receptions with 57 catches for 726 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging 12.7 yards per catch. Second on the team in receiving yards (726). Team's leading receiver in six games.

2001: One of four true freshmen to play and moved to tight end during the season after starting out as a wide receiver.

The Good: Tremendous athlete and a great football player that's a "chip off the old block". Fluid releasing off the line, runs like a receiver and an effective route runner that gets separation. Extends for the pass, displays great eye/hand coordination and looks the ball in. Possesses both soft and strong hands with the ability to pluck the ball from the air or make the tough, acrobatic catch in a crowd with regularity. Explosive and makes a lot of plays deep into the secondary. Runs well laterally, catches the pass in stride and effective running after the reception. Breaks down well and quick in all aspects.

The Bad: Slowed by jams at the line of scrimmage. Not strong at the point and has difficulty blocking linebackers, though that area of his game has improved.

The Skinny: Winslow, like his father, is indeed a rare specimen justifying the label a "special player". Linebackers cannot run with him and safetys will be over-powered by Winslow. Though he gets minimal results, blocking it is not from lack of effort. Then again, to be truthful, anyone who drafts Winslow will not be doing so for his blocking prowess. A great player presently with an abundant amount of upside for the next level.


Full Name: Kris Wilson School: Pittsburgh

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 235 40: 4.80 Number: 83

Bio:

2002: Started all 13 games and had 18 catches for 389 yards (21.6 avg.) with two touchdowns.

2001: Started all 11 regular-season games and the Florida Tangerine Bowl, finishing the regular season with 19 receptions for 272 yards (14.3 avg.) and two touchdowns.

2000: Played in all 11 regular-season games, making six starts.

The Good:
Pass catching tight end adept at making big plays down the field. Fluid releasing off the line of scrimmage, plays with good speed and catches the ball with solid techniques. Extends, makes the reception away from his frame and possesses soft hands. Displays excellent focus and concentration, coming away with the tough catch in a crowd. Plays with leverage, forward lean and works his blocks. Also plays much faster than his forty time.

The Bad: Tall and slender, lacking bulk or strength at the point. Not explosive into run blocks and gets little movement from them.

The Skinny: Wilson is limited with his blocking skills but his ability to consistently makes plays into the defensive secondary fits right in with what teams desire in a tight end these days. Good workouts prior to the draft will push him into the first day.



Full Name: Ben Watson School: Georgia

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 251 40: 4.48 Number: 89

Bio:

2002: Third leading receiver on Bulldog team with 31 receptions for 341 yards.

2001: Played in every game, including three starts, finishing with 11/187/1.

2000: Transferred to Georgia from Duke and sat out the season.

The Good: Outstanding athlete with great upside potential for the next level. Effective in all aspects of his position; quick off the snap, strong at the point and gets movement from blocks, working hard to finish off defenders. Gets out to the second level and annihilates linebackers or holds the point in pass protection. Fluid releasing into pass routes, decent route runner and always works to make himself an available target. Reaches back to grab the errant throw, displays soft hands and effective running after the catch.

The Bad: Must improve the finer points of blocking such as angles and the use of body positioning. Not often used as part of the passing game.

The Skinny: Though not a big part of the Georgia offense, Watson is a top athlete and good football player thats much further along than many give him credit for. Though he originally gave serious consideration to entering the 2002 draft, Watson did the smart thing and returned to Athens for his senior season. A much more complete version of former UGA tight end Randy McMichael.



Full Name: Ben Utecht School: Minnesota

Ht: 6-5.5 Wt: 250 40: 4.82 Number: 82

Bio:

2002: Played in all 13 games, starting nine but battled a stress fracture in his foot for much of the season. Set career-highs in receptions (37), yards receiving (480) and touchdowns (six).

2001: Started all 11 games at tight end, earning second team All-Big Ten accolades and ranked third on the team with 314 receiving yards on 20 catches. Led all Big Ten tight ends with five touchdown receptions.

2000: Converted wide receiver who played in 10 games in 2000, starting in six at tight end and catching eight passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns.

The Good:
Outstanding pass catcher that gives top effort as an in-line blocker. Fluid releasing off the line of scrimmage, good route runner and constantly gets separation from opponents or finds the open spot in the defense. Shields opponents with his frame, adjusts to the errant throw then grabs the tough reception in the middle of a crowd. Makes plays into the defensive secondary. Plays with constant focus and concentration.

The Bad: Gives effort blocking but lacks overall strength at the point. Hampered by the injury bug last season.

The Skinny: But for his injuries last season, Utecht has been one of the steadiest pass catchers in the Big Ten since 2001. He offers reliable hands and plays a smart brand of football. Utecht's two shortcomings, a poor forty time and minimal results blocking, will have him getting drafted much later than he should.



Full Name: Ben Troupe School: Florida

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 265 40: 4.71 Number: 84

Bio:

2002: Started six of the first seven games and finished with 15 catches for the year.

2001: Played in all 11 regular season games and had nine catches on the season for 98 yards and a touchdown.

2000: Backup at tight end as a true freshman.

The Good: Big, athletic tight end that can be a complete player at the position in the NFL. As a blocker displays decent footwork in pass protection, strength at the point and the ability to anchor yet also gets movement from run blocks. Blocks with leverage, balance and effectively uses his hands. Solid pass catcher that extends, looks the ball in and uses his large frame to shield away defenders. Fluid releasing into pass routes, adjusts to the errant throw and displays soft hands. Reliable and strong running after the reception.

The Bad: Bends at the waist, which hurts his balance. Not fast, light on his feet nor a tight end that makes many plays into the defensive secondary.

The Skinny: Troupe showed us a lot of overall skill as far back as 2001 yet when the offensive system changed last season so did his role. He's gone from an in-line tight end whose main duties were blocking to a pass catcher that often lines up in the slot. We've always maintained he is a better version of Erron Kinney, though Troupe may be drafted a little later than the former Gator.



Full Name: Sean Ryan School: Boston College

Ht: 6-4.5 Wt: 260 40: 4.94 Number: 89

Bio:

2002: Started every game and caught 23 passes for 280 yards (12.2 per catch) with 3 touchdowns.

2001: Started 11 games and the Music City Bowl, finishing with 17 receptions for 223 yards and three touchdowns.

2000: Started six games at defensive end and had 29 tackles with seven for a loss and a pair of quarterback sacks.

The Good: Big, tough slug it out football player who brings a defensive end's mentality to the tight end position. Quick into his blocks, stays square and strong at the point. Anchors in pass protection or takes opponents out blocking for the run. Uses his frame to shield defenders as a pass catcher, extends, then looks the pass into his hands.

The Bad: Lacks speed, soft hands, doesn't make plays into the defensive secondary. More of an underneath safety valve than true receiving threat.

The Skinny: Ryan is a throwback to the tight ends of old; a blocker first, second and for the most part, third. He attacks his blocks and gets results from them. In this day and age of "stretch the field tight ends" it is hard to imagine Ryan being drafted in the first four rounds. Yet after watching him since he was a sophomore, it is hard to imagine he won't succeed in the NFL.



Full Name: Ben Hall School: Clemson

Ht: 6-5 Wt: 240 40: 4.5 Number: 87

Bio:

2002: Started seven of the 13 games and had 12 catches for 160 yards.

2001: Caught three scoring passes to set a Clemson record for a freshman tight end in 2001.

The Good: Athletic prospect with a good degree of upside as both a pass catcher and blocker. Fluid in all aspects of the game, runs well laterally and adjusts backwards to grab the errant throw. Makes the tough catch in contorted positions and displays soft hands. Strong at the point blocking and turns opponents out of the action.

The Bad: Must bend his knees and play with leverage. Not quick off the snap or in his head. Lets the pass get inside him. Originally left the squad after the 2002 campaign for personal reasons but returned and now sits third on the depth chart.

The Skinny: Hall has all the underlying skills to be a first day pick in the draft and become a productive NFL tight end. Must focus on the task at hand and really dedicate himself to football if he's to realize his potential.



Full Name: Michael Gaines School: Central Florida

Ht: 6-2 Wt: 275 40: 4.81 Number: 82

Bio:

2002: Saw action in all 12 games, starting three. Finished the year with 11 catches for 191 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 17.4 yards per reception.

2001: Gaines played in all 11 games, recording one start. Wound up with 11 receptions for 115 yards and one touchdown.

2000: Enrolled at UCF in January, but was not eligible to participate with the team in the fall and subsequently lost a year of eligibility.

The Good: Athletic yet raw tight end prospect with great upside for the next level. Quick off the snap, plays with good pad level and leverage, displaying strength at the point. Works his blocks, jolts defenders with good arm punch, then easily rides them out of the action. Makes plays into the secondary as a pass catcher and displays soft hands.

The Bad: Overextends into blocks, which adversely effects his balance. Not active in the passing game. Limited playing experience and declared ineligible for the 2003 season.

The Skinny: As far as raw potential and upside for the next level, Gaines rates as a top three tight end prospect in the nation. He displayed flashes of terrific skill in the past when he was on the football field. Gaines seemed ready to pull it together this season but was disqualified at the last minute after a pair of classes he passed over the summer were not accepted by the NCAA. No immediate word on where his future may lie.



Full Name: Tim Euhus School: Oregon St

Ht: 6-4.5 Wt: 250 40: 4.78 Number: 84

Bio:

2002: Started all 13 season games at tight end, playing through an assortment of injuries during the season yet wound up as OSU's fourth leading receiver with 22 catches for 385 yards (17.5 average) and one touchdown.

2001: Wound up starting all 11 games and played most of the season on a knee that required surgery following the season yet was OSU's second-leading receiver with 27 receptions for 316 yards (11.7 average) and one touchdown.

2000: Played in all 12 games as a redshirt freshman on special teams.

The Good: Underrated prospect that does a solid overall job at the tight end position. Strong blocker that moves defenders on running plays yet also displays decent footwork in pass protection and holds the point. Solid pass catcher that adjusts well to the errant throw, looks the ball in and gets vertical for the high reception. Deceptive speed and gets down field.

The Bad: Lets the pass get inside him and all too often clutches it against his frame.

The Skinny: Euhus has been a productive tight end for the Beavers since his sophomore campaign and is a solid pro-prospect. Though he may never develop into a number one tight end he would thrive in a role where he is the number two and brought onto the field during third down situations.



Full Name: Jeff Dugan School: Maryland

Ht: 6-3 Wt: 258 40: 4.79 Number: 82

Bio:

2002: 14-game starter and honorable mention All-ACC selection. Totaled nine receptions for 91 yards and a touchdown.

2001: Starter in 10 of 11 regular season games as well as the Orange Bowl and had seven receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown.

2000: 10-game starter at tight end who finished second on the team in receptions (25) and receiving yards (319).

1999: Redshirt season.

The Good: Complete tight end prospect that does a little bit of everything well. Quick off the snap, blocks with solid fundamentals and strong at the point of attack. Sets with a wide base, stays square and controls opposing lineman once engaged in a block. Fluid releasing into pass routes and decent playing speed. Reliable hands and extends to pull the ball out of the air.

The Bad: Game lacks overall explosion. Does not stand out in any single aspect or really "wow" scouts.

The Skinny: Dugan has been a very steady tight end for Maryland three years running. He does not fit the "special" category, rather is a prospect that should be drafted in the middle rounds and could eventually develop into a starter at the next level.

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