Mar 25, 2019

The top 10 tight ends

Bryan Cole / Collegian File Photo
Pascoe looking to break into NFL at draft

The 2009 NFL is full of talent at the tight end position.

Here is a peak at the Top 10 in the draft class –— without former Fresno State tight end Bear Pascoe.

1. Brandon Pettigrew, Oklahoma State
He is easily the best combination blocker/receiver in the draft. He has excellent hands, but he is not a fluid runner. He was unimpressive at the combine. Pettigrew plays the game with an attitude. He is a little unrefined but has the potential to improve. He was a captain in college and he plays like you want a leader to play.

2. Jared Cook, South Carolina
This junior will be drafted as a tight end, but he really has not proven he can do everything an NFL tight end is asked to do. Cook plays in a spread offense and rarely is asked to block in-line. Yet he is an outstanding athlete who has had excellent workouts. A former wide receiver, he has soft hands and big-play ability. Cook gets knocked around on his pass routes at times.

3. Shawn Nelson, Southern Mississippi
This is an athletic tight end who is more receiver than blocker. Nelson does have the potential at least to be a functional blocker although it’s unlikely he ever will be a weapon in the run game. He can create mismatches against linebackers and safeties.

4. Travis Beckum, Wisconsin
A good receiver who knows how to run routes and find seams. He can stretch the field and is dangerous after the catch. As a blocker, Beckum is not very powerful at the point. He can wall off and cut off the backside pursuit, but hasn’t been a lead blocker. Beckum is smaller (6 feet 4 inches, 235 pounds) than you would like. Scouts compare him to 2008 first-round pick Dustin Kellar.

5. James Casey, Rice
A former Chicago White Sox farmhand, Casey is an excellent athlete who can run and catch. The underclassman also has been tried at defensive end, quarterback and wide receiver and once played seven positions in a game. Casey has a feel for getting open. He lacks the girth (6-4, 235) and power to be effective in-line so might be best as an H-back.

6. Cameron Morrah, California
This junior is a nice combination tight end who puts together blocking potential with receiving ability. He needs to get stronger and become more physical, but is a willing blocker who can develop. As a receiver, he can run by most linebackers.

7. Cornelius Ingram, Florida
He is a very gifted receiver who can make big plays. A savvy route runner with speed who catches almost everything and gets yards after the catch. He has had a hard time staying healthy and he missed the 2008 season with a torn ACL. When he last played, he weighed 225 and he hardly ever was asked to block in-line. He has added more than 20 pounds since then, which could improve his blocking potential and/or take away from his abilities as a receiver.

8. Chase Coffman, Missouri
This is a tall (6-6) tight end with a great catching radius and soft hands. He is not a real sudden or speedy runner, but he has a knack for getting open, especially against zones. He wins jump balls. Coffman has not been asked to block much so that element of his game is an unknown. He is hard worker with NFL genes _ his father Paul played tight end for the Packers and Chiefs.

9. Richard Quinn, North Carolina
He may be the best blocking tight end in the draft. Quinn has the toughness to be used as a “sixth” offensive lineman, and the quickness to get out and take care of linebackers. He is not a very quick or elusive route runner, and his hands are average.

10. Darius Hill, Ball State
Scouts see him as more of a big receiver than a tight end so don’t expect much from him as a blocker. At 6-6, he is built like a string bean (246 pounds) and needs to improve his strength.

By Dan Pompei / McClatchy Tribune

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