ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Top Five 2016 NFL Draft Prospects- Tight End

Updated on January 24, 2016

These guys will be asked to be blockers in the run game and pass catchers for quarterbacks. Today I rank the top five tight end prospects for the upcoming NFL Draft.

Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas
Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas

1. Hunter Henry, Arkansas

Bio: In three years as Razorback, Hunter Henry proved himself to be a reliable pass target in a run oriented offense. He also was involved in one of the greatest plays in school history where during the Arkansas-Ole Miss he caught a pass on fourth and 25 then flipped back to running back Alex Collins who ran it for the first down. The play eventually set up the game winning touchdown and two-point conversion. After the season, Henry was named the John Mackey award winner as the nation's top tight end. He decided to forgo his final season and enter the draft.

Strengths: Flat footed beast as a run blocker and a big part of Arkansas' success in the running game. Strikes into the core of defenders with inside hands and blocks with a strong base. Able to turn outside linebackers and cornerbacks out of position and sustains his blocks as long as he can. Had no drops and 51 catches this season. Able to secure contested catches and hits won't scare him away from the catch. Able to work all three levels as a go to target and ideal safety blanket. Too skilled to be covered by most linebackers. Able to run a variety of routes and is always on the field.

Weaknesses: Occasionally gets a little grabby as a run blocker as he was penalized for three holding calls in 2015. A little too upright into his breaks with rounded turns over sharp cuts. Can be a little troubled when adjusting his routes to traffic.

Projected Round: 1-2

Possible landing spot: Pittsburgh Steelers

Austin Hooper, TE, Stanford
Austin Hooper, TE, Stanford

2. Austin Hooper, Stanford

Bio: After redshirting his first year at Stanford in 2013, Austin Hooper played in all 13 games as a redshirt freshman. In 2015, he was a finalist for the John Mackey award and was named to he All-PAC-12 team. He still had two years of eligibility but decided to enter the draft.

Strengths: Athletic and lanky frame with broad shoulders and long limbs that should be able to withstand another 10 to 15 pounds of muscle without loss of quickness. Surprisingly proficient run blocker given his age and build. Long arms and strong hands to latch on and sustain blocks. Accelerates smoothly and possesses good balance and agility to generate separation when running routes. Collects the ball easily outside of his frame. Determined runner after the catch lowering his shoulder and spinning through tacklers for additional yardage. Intriguing prospect whose best football is still ahead of him.

Weaknesses: May need a year in an NFL weight room before seeing significant time on the field. Accelerates smoothly, but doesn't possess ideal initial quickness, often being the last Stanford player off the line. Questionable straight line speed to challenge down the seam and is forced to swing his arms to maintain balance. Quite effective in a complementary role for the Cardinal but was never the featured target in the offense.

Projected Round: 2

Possible landing spot: Houston Texans

Nick Vannett, TE, Ohio State
Nick Vannett, TE, Ohio State

3. Nick Vannett, Ohio State

Bio: As a junior at Ohio State, Nick Vannett became a popular red zone target over then starter Jeff Heuerman. He finished his college career with 55 receptions for 585 receiving yards and six touchdowns.

Strengths: Every down NFL body type. Carries long limbs and big hands on a muscular, athletic frame. Comfortable hands in traffic and can make the heavily contested catch. Not afraid of taking a hit over the middle to secure the completion. Fluid mover and is flexible enough to run sharp angle routes. Has body control and catch radius to pluck high or low throws. Has size and ability to handle in­terior blocking assignments and will battle once he’s locked to a defender. Was trusted to help in pass protection. Lined up all across the field. Finds his place against zone and works himself into open, easy throws for quarterbacks on the run.

Weaknesses: Allows himself to be crowded on seam routes. Will need to improve handwork and leverage to create late separation for catches. Needs to be tougher at point of attack as a blocker. Didn’t always fire downhill into his one-on-one ­blocks. Allows defensive ends and outside linebackers to bring the pressure to him. Routes need refining for better separation against man coverage. Run­ after ­catch potential not realized because his legs are easy targets for defenders to chop down.

Projected Round: 2-3

Possible landing spot: Green Bay Packers

Bryce Williams, TE, East Carolina
Bryce Williams, TE, East Carolina

4. Bryce Williams, East Carolina

Bio: After redshirting as a freshman at Marshall, Bryce Williams decided to transfer to East Carolina as a walk on. During his four year career, Williams caught 96 passes for 1,045 yards and 13 touchdowns, all of which are school records for tight ends.

Strengths: Big target who plays to his size in the passing game. Consistent arm extension as a receiver with a smooth grab and tuck approach. Makes catches with defenders all over him and is willing to secure the catch and take the hit over the middle. Consistent high­point catcher with excellent ball tracking and concentration down the field. Quick first five strides off line and into his routes. Deceptively fast in the seam and can surprise safeties who sleep on him. Adjusts to scrambling quarterbacks by freeing himself and becoming open. Not overly shifty in open spaces as runner, but will gain additional yardage by leaning into tacklers and finishes the play. Has the frame to offer resistance to smaller tacklers.

Weaknesses: More straight­line speed than fluid movement in his routes. Early head turns give away direction of routes. Sloppy route running. Running in space at times. Gets caught drifting at top of crossing routes allowing safeties to close in. Needs to play with consistent game speed. Finesse run blocker relying on overall size over strength. As a moving blocker, lowers head into block and absorbs more of the contact than he dishes out.

Projected Round: 3-4

Possible landing spot: New York Jets

Tyler Higbee, TE, Western Kentucky
Tyler Higbee, TE, Western Kentucky

5. Tyler Higbee, Western Kentucky

Bio: After spending his freshman year as a wide receiver, Tyler Higbee made the move to tight end. As a senior, he was named All-C-USA while recording 38 receptions for 563 yards and tied the FBS season high touchdowns by a tight end with eight.

Strengths: Former wide receiver with a smooth stride when he hits top gear. Big hands. Had just one drop this season and showed ability to recover the catch when he juggled a pass. Can protect the ball in traffic. Willing to work middle of the field and take the hit. Quick off line and into routes. Great acceleration out of his breaks and can be a tough cover for defensive backs. Has the speed and toughness to work all three levels of the field. Can own the seam with his vertical speed and hands. Immediately opens and looks for throws when he's over the top of middle linebackers. Frame can add more muscle mass. Competitive after the catch with speed, elusiveness, and power. Can carry tacklers after the catch.

Weaknesses: Must fill out his frame. Slow to adjust blocking assignment during a play. Not strong enough yet to handle NFL edge rushers. Doesn't run feet through to sustain blocks. Body upright into his breaks. Needs to polish route running for underneath routes. Can get better at creating leverage through crisper moves. Suffered through a knee sprain that cost him four games before reinjuring it in Conference USA Championship Game. Won't be active until the NFL Combine.

Projected Round: 4

Possible landing spot: Arizona Cardinals

People's Poll

Which tight end will have the most success in the NFL?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      2 years ago from Oklahoma

      TE has become such a prominent position in the NFL in recent years. Great overview.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)