By Marc Sluis, Staff Writer
8. Jake Stoneburner OSU
Strengths: He shows fluid mobility and athleticism that allows him to run routes like a wide receiver.
Weaknesses: Suspended the first few games of this season and needs to mature off the field.
The Take Home: Playing mostly at wide out for Urban Meyer, Stoneburner has displayed the route running ability and change of direction skills typical of that position despite being projected as a tight end. Overall, his stock is hurt considerably by both his suspension and relative lack of production (only 14 receptions all year).
9. Gavin Escobar SDSU
Strengths: He has large and soft hands and catches the ball away from his body.
Weaknesses: He doesn’t generate much push, and is an average blocker at best.
The Take Home: Escobar has good size both in terms of height and bulk and has the soft hands and balance to make difficult, acrobatic catches. Several times last year he made highlight reel grabs and looks to be capable of running routes with enough effectiveness to get open. While not a powerful blocker by any stretch, he has the size to at least chip defensive ends before going out on his route.
10. DC Jefferson RUTGERS
Strengths: He is an outstanding athlete with an ideal frame and surprising blocking skills.
Weaknesses: He’s relatively new to the position and his production has been consistently low from a pass catching perspective.
The Take Home: Originally recruited to play quarterback for the Scarlet Knights Jefferson has the athleticism and frame that makes his potential almost unlimited. However, his lack of production is worrisome and in general is still a very raw prospect.
11. Jordan Reed FLORIDA
Strengths: Offers positional versatility and is very athletic for a tight end and moves like a receiver.
Weaknesses: Due to his shorter frame he lacks the ability to excel as a run blocker and doesn’t have the height to dominate the jump-ball.
The Take Home: Reed is a very athletic and multipurpose type tight end with the ability to line up as an H-back or fullback in addition to out wide or the traditional tight end spot. His height gives him a low center of gravity and balance but means he lacks the red zone threat of the 6’6 power forward types that are in vogue.
12. Ryan Griffin UCONN
Strengths: A lot of experience as a blocker as well as the coordination to look natural in space and running routes downfield.
Weaknesses: Minimal production as a receiver and a lack of energy blocking at times.
The Take Home: Deployed mainly as a blocker for the Huskies maybe Griffin feels his skills are being mismanaged and struggles to commit to blocking every play. At least that’s how I might feel if I were him. Not to say any of that is remotely true and when I say he lacks energy I’m really just referring to the fact he sporadically fails to finish blocks. With more of a role as a receiver I think his hands and footwork should allow him to surprise some people in that regard.
13. Mychal Rivera TENNESSEE
Strengths: Plays with intensity and has a compact, strong build. Solid blocking and receiving skills.
Weaknesses: He isn’t overly dynamic in any one area and hasn’t been known for production as a receiver.
The Take Home: Rivera isn’t talked about much in 2013 draft discussions, but has an NFL body with the strength to compete on the line of scrimmage and underrated athleticism to contribute as a receiver.
14. Brandon Ford CLEMSON
Strengths: A compact and well built frame allows him to generate push and anchor as a run blocker.
Weaknesses: Not overly athletic and lacks ideal height for a tight end.
The Take Home: Ford offers strong run blocking, a physical, forceful frame and adequate hands and overall receiving skills.