Football / Sports

Top tight ends for the NFL draft

CREAM OF THE CROP

TIGHT ENDS:

Player, position, school, height, weight

Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina, 6-4, 250

Potential top 10 pick broke Vernon Davis' single-season ACC record with 973 yards in 2013.

Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech, 6-5, 265

Set FBS single-season record for TEs with 1,352 yards (on 106 catches). Off-field issues.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington, 6-5, 262

Set several career and single-season TE receiving records for Huskies; DUI in March 2013.

Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame, 6-6, 270

Has size, potential to be effective receiving and blocking TE in NFL; converted from LB.

C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa, 6-5, 25

Best blocker among top TE prospects, was underutilized as receiver in run-heavy offense.

Don't overlook: J.C. Copeland (FB), LSU; Xavier Gamble (TE), Southern Cal; Crockett Gillmore (TE), Colorado State; A.C. Leonard (TE), Tennessee State; Arthur Lynch (TE), Georgia; Trey Millard (FB), Oklahoma; Jay Prosch (FB), Auburn; Larry Webster (TE), Bloomsburg.

Fun fact: Troy Niklas of Notre Dame and OT Jake Matthews of Texas A&M are cousins.

Quotable: "I think I'm a mixture of both. I think that's why I'm so unique. It's kind of a revolution to the game now with what tight ends can bring across the board." -- Texas Tech's Jace Amaro, when asked if he's a TE or WR.

Rating the field: An average group at best, but at the head of the class Ebron could have Pro Bowl potential. Amaro, Seferian-Jenkins and Niklas are possible early-round picks. Only a handful of true fullbacks get drafted anymore -- the average is five per draft over the past six seasons, according to NFLdraftscout.com. And usually, they don't start hearing their names called until the fourth or fifth round.

Local line in St. Louis area: Reggie Jordan (TE/FB), Missouri Western (Hazelwood Central HS) projects as a late-round pick or priority free agent.

Rams' needs: This appears to be one of the team's stronger areas, so unless it's a late-round pick it's doubtful the Rams address this position. They have an athletic receiving TE in Jared Cook, an all-around TE who can catch and block in Lance Kendricks and a TE/FB blocking specialist in Cory Harkey. In addition, prospect Justice Cunningham was signed late last season.

(c)2014 St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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