Tom Marino: Scouting the TEs

Get the scoop on this year's TE crop from an NFL scout with over 35 years experience.

THE BEST

1. Dustin Keller, TE, Purdue
40: 4.59v Ht: 6020v Wt: 242v Rating: 1.191
Very impressive athlete who only lacks size to become a top pro TE or H. Runs extremely well, has excellent body control, and hands to catch the ball on or off his person. A legitimate up the seam threat who flashed run instincts to go along with the strength to break secured tackles. Adequate blocker who initially gets into his block, but didn't finish with any consistentcy. Will need to improve his overall functional play strength. Late 1 top of 2nd consideration.

2. Fred Davis, TE, USC
40: 4.73v Ht: 6030v Wt: 255v Rating: 1.205
Outstanding prep wide receiver (10.8 100M). Is still in many ways a work in progres who has not come near his potential as a player.Good initial quickness on his get off. Got in and out of a break on his under routes while posing an up the seam threat. Improving as a blocker although needs to finish with far more consistentcy. Not there yet, but in time will give a club the best two way potential in this year's draft. Possible 1st top of 2nd consideration.

3. Martellus Bennett, TE, Texas A&M
40: 4.69v Ht: 6061v Wt: 259v Rating: 1.208
Has a great body and potentially is one talented football player. A physical player at the point of attack with very good body control particularly for a big man. Is much improved as a receiver. Had some concentration drops, but I like catching radius and his ability to win in traffic. Far more physical then I had originally expected. Can drop his weight and get in and out of a route effectively. Is young and said to be a "me guy" who will need to mature. Round 1 consideration.

4. John Carlson, TE, Notre Dame
40: 4.89v Ht: 6051v Wt: 251v Rating: 1.338
Big, smart, athletic, experienced, instinctive football player. Felt he caught the ball well in the under zones although in not a true seam threat (lacks foot speed). Not really nifty after the catch, but did show some body strength, got north-south and worked to finish. Inline was an adequate blocker who came off flat backed, hit on the rise and stayed with his blocks. A solid back up early who could in time develop into a solid regular. Round # 3 draft consideration

5. Craig Stevens, TE, California
40: 4.63v Ht: 6032v Wt: 254v Rating: 1.431
An impressive ball player. Has a good frame to add bulk and strength, runs well and is very solid athlete. I felt he had wide receiver type hands and the quickness and speed to threaten up the seam. As a blocker, wasn't either punishing or a big finisher, but was smart and efficient. Positions after contact (brings his feet around) and stays with blocks. Very good feet and balance. Solid H back prospect who should factor in the mid rounds (4th to 5th).

6. Brad Cottam, TE, Tennessee
40: 4.74v Ht: 6074v Wt: 270v Rating: 1.456
Injured for most of the 2007 season. Is extremely tall with long limbs and big hands. The best area of his game was without question in the passing game. Has very good hands, a wide receiving radius and was extremely difficut to stop in the under zones. Used his body to shield defenders from the football. Will have a difficult time functioning as a blocker at the pro level (high center of gravity - can't leverage the point). Second day draft consideration

7. Martin Rucker, TE, Missouri
40: 4.71v Ht: 6047v Wt: 251v Rating: 1.471
A late bloomer who is a one-dimensional TE prospect. Catches well and was a strong runner after the catch. Money in the bank in the under zones. Lacks the true speed to pose an up the seam threat. Is neither as quick or fast as I originally expected and lacks the essential core strength necessary to contribute at the point of attack. Played too high and got little or no movement. Needs to fit into your offensive scheme. Rd 3-4 draft consideration.

8. Kellen Davis, TE, Michigan State
40: 4.64v Ht: 6064v Wt: 262v Rating: 1.499
Has size and flashed catching skills. Has the ability to run down the seam, but I felt he was stiff and didn't get in and out of his under routes especially well. Can't and didn't appear to have much "want to" blocking inline. Dropped too many balls in critical situations. A classic underachiever (should dominate in all aspects, but didn’t). High maintenance. Mid round consideration. Draft consideration rounds 4 - 5.

9. Jacob Tamme, TE, Kentucky
40: 4.59v Ht: 6034v Wt: 236v Rating: 1.512
In the right system could become a very effective player. Can run (straight line), catch and advance the ball. Good to find and settle in the zone hole. Outstanding ball skills. Smart player with great intangibles. Poses a vertical up the seam threat. Disappointing in traffic. Ineffective contributor within the running game (marginal blocker). Too stiff to play WR and not stout enough for TE. Draft consideration 4 - 5.

10. Gary Barnidge, TE, Louisville
40: 4.65v Ht: 6055v Wt: 243v Rating: 1.53
Has physical limitations; isn't big by today's standards, was stiff & mechanical in his movement and doesn't have good play strength, but none the less is a very under rated ball player. Is smart, showed good route awareness, was tough, competitive, caught and advanced the ball up the field after the catch is going to have to improve his block skills, but should fill the role of a steady back-up TE within the league. 4 - 5 draft consideration

11. Jermichael Finley, TE, Texas
40: 4.85v Ht: 6042v Wt: 243v Rating: 1.542
Was injured for much of the 2007 season. Has rare size and a huge receiving radius and although realize he has a tremendous amount of playing potential, but I thought he lacked concentration and consistency. Tracks the ball extremely well. I particularly liked the way he adjusted to the deep ball. Very awkward getting into a lateral break (plants his heels). Still too many unknowns to consider this player in either of the first day

12. Joe John Finley, TE, Oklahoma
40: 4.95v Ht: 6062v Wt: 254v Rating: 1.666
A former prep quarterback with good hands and intelligence. Was effective in the under zones, but was not what I would consider an up the seam threat. Along the line of scrimmage is a try hard guy, but doesn't have the leg strength and power to either sustain and or finish (does work at it) If he matures physically, I see him as factoring as a second or third tight end and special teams contributor. Has 5th to 7th round draft potential.

13. Darrell Strong, TE, Pittsburgh
40: 4.83v Ht: 6040v Wt: 268v Rating: 1.741
Has had some off the field and dedication issues. Prep quarterback and WR. Has excellent size for the position to go along with solid athletic skills, but has never been a fulltime regular at the position. Much improved in 2007 as a blocker and impressed me with his Hula Bowl receiving ability. In the passing game, I felt he needed room to be effective (didn't see him win a contested battle for the football). See him as a solid back up at the professional level. Rounds 6-7.

14. Joey Haynos, TE, Maryland
40: 4.92v Ht: 6075v Wt: 266v Rating: 1.796
Has a basketball background. Good athlete who caught the ball well in the under zones. Can reach and extend for the ball . Wasn't flashy or insitinctive, but turned it up and advanced the ball. Not a power player (may well be too tall). Has a very high center of gravity which made it difficult for him to leverage people inline. Not a washout, but will have to play in the right system in order to have any successful. Mid second day consideration (6th to 7th).

THE REST

Adam Bishop, TE, Nevada
40: 5.01v Ht: 6047v Wt: 248v Rating: 1.8
Good hands but has been slowed by a bunch of injuries. Competes, but I didn't think he played with the necessary power. Needs lower body strength and improved hand use. Better receiver then blocker at this stage. Has potential as a long and short snapper. Late round draft consideration within the league

Cole Bennett, TE, Auburn
40: 4.78v Ht: 6041v Wt: 246v Rating: 1.8
check medical / Good effort guy with size / competes / Not effective at block point / falls off blks / needs strength and power / marginal angles / not highly involved in passing game / releases were good / willing - 7th or PFA

Dale Thompson, TE, USC
40: 4.79v Ht: 6042v Wt: 245v Rating: 1.8
Has been the front side TE in the past in short yardage situations. A good college player with adequate overall playing skills is a likely free agent prospect with an outside chance of factoring as a third TE in the right offensive system.

Derek Fine, TE, Kansas
40: 4.89v Ht: 6025v Wt: 251v Rating: 1.8
Undersized TE, who was a receiver only. Catches well in the under zone. Lines up in the slot and was a WR in the spread. Don't know where he fits at the pro level. Lacks strength and power. Can't block even a little bit. Down the line free agent prospect whit little chance to impact.

Jed Collins, TE, Washington State
40: 4.95e Ht: 6015v Wt: 254v Rating: 1.8
Little guy with adequate playing skills. Over his Cougar career he played linebacker, special teams, fullback, H-back and, above all else, tight end . Good hands and ability to adjust to the ball. Smart but undersized

Kolomona Kapanui, TE, West Texas A&M
40: 5.08v Ht: 6033v Wt: 271v Rating: 1.8

Mike Peterson, TE, Northwest Missouri State
40: 4.58v Ht: 6021v Wt: 248v Rating: 1.8

Tom Santi, TE, Virginia
40: 4.62v Ht: 6036v Wt: 251v Rating: 1.8

Wade Betschart, TE, Wyoming
40: 4.90e Ht: 6021v Wt: 249v Rating: 1.9

Jonathan Stupar, TE, Virginia
40: 4.85v Ht: 6031v Wt: 254v Rating: 1.9

Doug Jones, TE, Cincinnati U
40: 4.95e Ht: 6034v Wt: 276v Rating: 1.8

Matt Sherry, TE, Villanova U
40: 4.76v Ht: 6033v Wt: 248v Rating: 1.8

Louis Irizarry, TE, Youngstown St
40: 4.70e Ht: 6037v Wt: 256v Rating: 1.9

Mason Templeton, TE, Arkansas U
40: Ht: 6053v Wt: 269v Rating: 1.9

Nick Cleaver, TE, New Mexico St
40: 4.80e Ht: 6030v Wt: 244v Rating: 1.9

Stephen Chicola, TE, Middle Tennessee
40: Ht: Wt: Rating: 1.9

Brian Shope, TE, Marshall U
40: 4.90e Ht: 6040e Wt: 255e Rating: 1.9

Bryan Bergman, TE, Carthage
40: 4.71v Ht: 6021v Wt: 243v Rating: 1.9

Chris Hopkins, TE, Toledo U
40: 5.00v Ht: 6036v Wt: 252v Rating: 1.9

Chris Wagner, TE, So Dakota St
40: 5.10e Ht: 6054v Wt: 256v Rating: 1.9
Good hands but has been slowed by a bunch of injuries. Competes, but I didn't think he played with the necessary power. Needs lower body strength and improved hand use. Better receiver then blocker at this stage. Has potential as a long and short snapper. Late round draft consideration within the league

Coleman Watson, TE, Georgia U
40: Ht: 6053v Wt: 247v Rating: 1.9
Not very physical or strong at the point of attack /

Joseph Tuineau, TE, Southeast Missouri St
40: 4.87v Ht: 6072v Wt: 287v Rating: 1.9

Kris Kasparek, TE, Akron U
40: 4.95e Ht: 6065v Wt: 267v Rating: 1.9
Big tough and competes hard. Doesn't have much in the way of quickness. Slow. Not particularly strong. Free Agent based on his effort

Eric Butler, TE, Mississippi St
40: Ht: 6023v Wt: 258v Rating: 1.9

Andrew Atchison, TE, William & Mary
40: 4.74v Ht: 6054v Wt: 246v Rating: 1.9

Blake Martin, TE, Sam Houston St
40: 4.77v Ht: 6015v Wt: 234v Rating: 1.9
College Tight End. A three year starter. Caught 117 balls for 1,388 yards over his career. A good small college player with athletic ability who caught and advanced the ball well well. High effort guy but not a lot of push inline. Adequate free agent

Brad Listorti, TE, Massachusetts U
40: 4.78v Ht: 6031v Wt: 254v Rating: 1.9

Brandon Davis, TE, Northern Illinois U
40: Ht: 6041v Wt: 273v Rating: 2

Brent Miller, TE, Arizona St
40: Ht: 6045v Wt: 241v Rating: 2

Andrew Boyd, TE, So Carolina U
40: 5.00e Ht: 6030e Wt: 270e Rating: 2

Andy Crooks, TE, Wisconsin U
40: 4.90e Ht: 6024v Wt: 259v Rating: 2

Ben Barkema, TE, Iowa State U
40: 4.90e Ht: 6020e Wt: 260e Rating: 2

Gerrald Landry, TE, Southern U
40: 4.68v Ht: 6014v Wt: 236v Rating: 2

Jason Goode, TE, Maryland U
40: 5.00e Ht: 6024e Wt: 245e Rating: 2
H-back who did noting to distinguish himself in any game viewed. Can catch the ball ok in the under zones, but there was nothing to hang your hat on with this player. Marginal free agent.

Jawad Nesheiwat, TE, Syracuse U
40: 4.95e Ht: 6030e Wt: 255e Rating: 2
W. Carolina frosh starter who was granted a 6th season.. Has a great athletic looking body. Can run and lift . Impressive test athlete but is not a football player. Was marginal at the point of attack (can't break an egg) and was not a major factor within the passing game (can catch it, but can't get open or advance the ball after the catch. See little chance of this player playing beyond this level of play. Just a guy

Joey Thomas, TE, Texas A&M
40: 5.10e Ht: 6053v Wt: 256v Rating: 2
A former wide receiver who has improved considerably as a blocker. Caught the ball well in the under zones (has a good feel for the passing game). Is tall and has a big frame, but does not run well enough to factor at the next level. Would be hard pressed to bring this player to training camp

John Tereshinski, TE, Wake Forest U
40: 4.93v Ht: 6024v Wt: 245v Rating: 2

Jonathan Loyte, TE, Boston College
40: Ht: 6046v Wt: 266v Rating: 2
Back up player who showed nothing that would lead me to believe he has any real chance to play beyond this level.

Langston Johnson, TE, Yale U
40: 4.95e Ht: 6014v Wt: 235v Rating: 2

Keith Zinger, TE, LSU
40: Ht: 6034e Wt: 250e Rating: 2

Craig Chambers, TE, Montana U
40: Ht: Wt: 236v Rating: 2
Wouldn't consider him a fulltime player. Showed no speed and or gear changes and was for the most part unproductive. Showed little that would lead me to believe he has the skills or playing character to play beyond this level of play. Marginal free age

Dan Pickens, TE, Indiana (PA) U
40: Ht: Wt: Rating: 2

Tate Casey, TE, Florida U
40: Ht: 6060v Wt: 232v Rating: 2

Terrence Parks, TE, Tarleton St
40: Ht: Wt: Rating: 2

Zach Selmon, TE, Wake Forest U
40: 4.80e Ht: 6044e Wt: 245e Rating: 2

Matthew Mulligan, TE, Maine U
40: Ht: 6041v Wt: 264v Rating: 2

SCOUTING NOTATION 101
The small "v" which follows the HT, WT, and forty time is the designation for verified. Other designations may include "e" for estimated, "b" for borrowed (from another scout), or "c" for coaches measurement or timed by a college coach.

Heights: The first number in the four numerals height represents the individual in feet while the second and third numbers represents a player in inches, while the last number in fractions of an inch (exclusively by the 1/8th of an inch.  Thus the following examples:

5105v - 5 for five feet, the10 represent ten inches, and the 5 (five) represents five-eights of another inch.

6017v - Six feet, one and seven-eights verified. 

All professional prospects and or suspects are measured numerous times during the course of a scouting season.  The first takes place generally in the spring of his junior at regularly scheduled "Pro days" at his university. At the conclusion of the season, scouts will on some occasions measure a prospect during a school visit.  Players are weighed and measured at every post season all-star contests.  At some lower level games, players are also given the opportunity to run. The next occasion takes place at the Indianapolis scouting combine, followed by individual or team workouts at the university and finally when a player if flown in to visit at a team site.

 


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