THE BEST OF THE BEST
TODD HEAP, Arizona State, 6-4, 252 A third-year junior...Two-year starter who has caught 100 passes for 1,449 yards and six touchdowns the last two years...He is a Morman who has yet to go on a Mormon mission, which is encouraged by the church...Has been compared to Kellen Winslow...Has excellent hands and plays more like a big wide receiver than a typical tight end...Solid blocker, but will have problems handling a big defensive end in the pros...Opted not to take part in the Combine.
PROJECTION: For a team looking for a pure pass receiving tight end, Heap can give any offense another weapon. That in itself should be enough for him to be taken late in the first or early in the second round.
ALGE CRUMPLER, North Carolina, 6-2, 265 Brother of former Viking Carlester Crumpeler...Won state championships in discus and shot put in high school...Fifth-year senior who sat out 1998 season after tearing his left ACL and MCL...Three-year starter who caught 67 passes for 756 yards and five TDs...Runs strong in the open field...Doesnt have ideal height for NFL tight ends...Very strong...Hasnt always stayed in the best shape...Never was called on to be an integral part of the UNC passing game...Ran a 4.74 40 at the Combine, as well as doing 22 reps with 225 pounds and had a 34-inch vertical jump.
PROJECTION: With his athletic skills and potential to be a better receiver, he will likely go in the second round of the draft.
THE NEXT BEST THING
TONY STEWART, Penn State, 6-5, 255 Fourth-year senior...Two-year starter who caught 52 passes for 717 yards and three touchdowns...His 38 catches last year was a Penn State school record for tight ends...An ideal size for a pro TE...May have to be a pure blocking tight end, since he doesnt have the pure speed or hands to be viewed as an H-back in the pros...One of the few college tight ends that can create a mismatch and turn a 10-yard pass into a 50-yard TD...Is a little too slender for a man his size...Slow by receiver terms, running a 4.93 40 at the Combine to go with a 33-1/2 inch vertical jump (he didnt lift at the Combine).
PROJECTION: A guy who could slide into the third round of the draft, hell never be a Pro Bowler, but has the ability to be a solid starter.
SHAD MEIER, Kansas State, 6-5, 255 A fifth-year senior whose college career was delayed because he injured himself in the Kansas high school all-star game...Two-year starter who caught 17 passes for 208 yards and one TD...Has excellent in-line blocking ability...Works hard...Is a decent pass catcher, even though K-State didnt throw much...Ran a 4.79 40 at the Combine, along with 20 reps and a 34-inch vertical jump. PROJECTION: Likely to slide well into Day Two and go on the fourth or fifth round.
JABARI HOLLOWAY, Notre Dame, 6-2, 252 True senior who began starting as freshman...Caught just six passes as a senior because of nagging ankle injuries, after catching 27 passes for 451 yards and six touchdowns the previous two years...He did make it back from the injuries last year to be part of the Senior Bowl...Huge target with hands like frying pans...Isnt as tall or fast as a prototype NFL TE...Ran a 4.90 40 at the Combine, along with 20 reps and a 38-1/2 inch vertical jump.
PROJECTION: Has the name recognition, but the numbers really dont justify him being taken any higher the fourth or fifth round.
ARTHER LOVE, South Carolina State, 6-3, 237 The good news is that he was a three-year starter, but the bad news was that SCSU didnt use the tight end as a receiver very often...In three years caught 33 passes for 549 yards and three touchdowns 20-342-2 coming last year...A fourth-year senior...Averaged 17.1 yards a catch last year...Was a factor when thrown passes in the open field...A solid blocker who was able to do his job working with an option offense...A two-time captain, he was loved and respected by his coaches and teammates and is the kind of player many coaches want on their teams...A little thin in the hips for an NFL TE...Ran a 4.79 40, did 24 reps with 225 pounds and had a 36-inch vertical jump at the Combine.
PROJECTION: He has the intangibles that could checker-jump him past a lot of the other tight ends listed above, but his lack of size will be his undoing and will keep him on the board until well in Day Two of the draft.
AN EYE ON