The tight end position is one that is often over looked, but these guys are one of the better athletes on the field because of what they have to do. They must have the strength to be able to block in the running game and passing game and have the speed, agility, and soft hands to be a weapon in the passing game.
Super Bowl champion New England Patriots have quite possibly the best tight end in the NFL in Rob Gronkowski. He leads the team in receiving yards and is also a pretty good blocker. You take him away from the Patriots and their offense goes to pot.
The following teams are the top 5 passing offenses in the league and where their tight end ranks on their team in receiving yards:
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Heath Miller, 3rd leading receiver
- New England Patriots: Rob Gronkowski, leading receiver
- Detroit Lions: Eric Ebron, 6th leading receiver
- Baltimore Ravens: Owen Daniels, 3rd leading receiver
- Indianapolis Colts: Colby Fleener, 3rd leading receiver
As you can see with the exception of the Detroit Lions, the other four teams' tight end ranks in the top 3 on their team in receiving yards. All these five teams by the way were in the playoffs this past season.
So, I hope this shows how important the tight end position is.
7 of the 12 tight ends that competed in all the events in the 2015 NFL Combine have the prototype size and speed to play tight end in the NFL. Those seven were:
- Maxx Williams, Minnesota, 6.4 250, 4.78 40
- Clive Walford, Miami, 6.4 254, 4.79 40
- Jesse James, Penn State, 6.7 261, 4.83 40
- Mycole Pruitt, Southern Illinois, 6.2 258, 4.58 40
- Wes Saxton, South Alabama, 6.3 248, 4.65 40
- Blake Bell, Oklahoma, 6.6, 252 4.8 40
- Jean Sifrin, UMASS, 6.5 245, 4.84 40
- Gerald Christian, Louisville, 6.3 244, 4.87 40
- Eric Tomlinson, UTEP, 6.6 262 4.85 40
There were 7 winners among the 12 in the tight end group. Among the 7 winners there were 3 tiers based on how well they performed.
Tier 1 Tight Ends
There were two major winners in tier 1:
- Mycole Pruitt finished with an average 3.7 place finish in all the events. He was the fastest tight
end and had the highest vertical jump. He is the best athlete in the group
- Jesse James finished with an average 3.8 place finish in all the events. He was first in the broad jump and placed 2nd in the bench press and vertical jump.
Tier 2 Tight Ends
There were 3 tight ends in the tier 2 group:
- Wes Saxton finished with a 4.8 average place finish. He was the second fastest tight end.
- Clive Walford finished with a 5th place average. He was second in the broad jump.
- Maxx Williams finished with a 5.5 average place finish in all the events. He ran the 3rd fastest 40 yard dash and was also 3rd in the 20 yard shuttle.
Tier 3 Tight Ends
In the tier 3 group, there were two tight ends to round out the winners:
- Blake Bell finished with a 5.7 average place finish in all the events. He finished 2nd in the 20 yard shuttle and the 60 yard shuttle.
- Nick Boyle finished in tier 3 and I consider him a winner even though he ran a very slow 5.04 40 yard dash. However, he did finish 1st in the 20 yard shuttle and the 60 yard shuttle.
The remaining 5 guys are definitely not losers, but they did not help themselves any with their performances at the combine. So, they were the losers of the tight ends.
Tier 4 Tight Ends
There are four tight ends in the tier 4 group:
- Jean Sifrin finished with a 7.4 average place finish. He did not finish in the top 5 in any of the events he competed in. He also struggle catching the ball.
- Nick O'Leary finished with a 7.7 average place finish. It was reported that he had some kind of knee injury, but ran anyway and ran a very slow 4.93 40 yard dash. He did finish 4th in the bench press.
- Cameron Clear finished with an 8th place average finish. Clear did finish 4th in the 60 yard shuttle and 5th in the 20 yard shuttle.
- Eric Tomlinson finished with an 9.2 place average finish. He did not finish better than a 9th place finish on any of the events.