In an effort to get through all of the positions before the draft, I’ll be just shortly naming some of the prospects to watch in this draft class, as well as some potential sleepers and maybe busts. I wasn’t able to go as far in depth this year as I did last year, but enough to develop a feel for the class and compile my rankings.
This is not a good year for your team to need a tight end. That’s not to say that there isn’t talent at the position this year, but it’s definitely more depth based rather than future stars. Hunter Henry is the headliner, but there are a couple other potential steals in this group. Tyler Higbee, before his recent legal incidents, was an emerging prospect. Stephen Anderson, a Cal Bear, is the best receiver of the position. There’s a little bit of everything in this class, they’re just not huge upside players.
Top TE Prospect: Hunter Henry 6’5″ 250 Arkansas
Henry is the most well rounded player at the position in the draft. He’s not an overly explosive athlete, but he’s pretty smooth and has little wasted motion in his game. The Arkansas offense is very run heavy, but Henry thrived in play action passing situations. He’s not an elite blocker by any means, but he’s not a liability in-line. A bit of a throwback at the position, he plays with the style of a Heath Miller type.
Biggest Bust Potential: Tyler Higbee 6’6″ 249 Western Kentucky
I don’t know if he can be considered a “bust” in the traditional sense, as he likely wasn’t going to be drafted before Day 3. However, after some recent legal issues, it’s likely that he won’t be drafted, or at least not until late. He’s got talent, there’s no denying that. He played well in Western Kentucky’s prolific offense, he’s just got to get his off-field concerns taken care of before an NFL team will place a major investment in him.
Biggest Sleeper: Nick Vannett 6’6″ 257 Ohio State
As is the case in nearly every position this draft, there’s a Buckeye coming out. Vannett was criminally under utilized in the Buckeyes’ power run offense, but showed promise when allowed. Vannett is likely one of the cases where he becomes a better player in the NFL than he was in college. He’s got the frame and athletic ability to be a solid move tight end at the next level.
Small School Stud: Beau Sandland 6’4″ 253 Montana State
The former University of Miami Hurricane has flown very under the radar throughout this draft process, but could be one of the better steals out of this group. He ran a 4.74 in Indianapolis, not too shabby for someone of his size. The small school label will likely keep any attention away from him, but a fifth or sixth round flier would be well worth it for the former transfer.
My Tight End Rankings:
1. Hunter Henry Arkansas 2nd-3rd Round
2. Austin Hooper Stanford 3rd Round
3. Nick Vannett Ohio State 3rd-4th Round
4. Tyler Higbee Western Kentucky 4th Round (pre-legal)
5. Stephen Anderson California 4th Round
6. Tammarick Hemingway S.C. State 4th-5th Round
7. Jerrell Adams South Carolina 4th-5th Round
8. Beau Sandland Montana St. 5th Round
9. Ben Braunecker Harvard 5th-6th Round
10. Thomas Duarte UCLA 5th-6th Round