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NFL Draft Positional Rankings: Tight Ends

Next in the positional rankings are tight ends. The Packers addressed their immediate need at the position by signing Jared Cook to a one year deal but could still use someone for the long term.  I've watched just about every tight end in this draft but I've only ranked five of them because that’s the cut off of who I believe would be an upgrade over Richard Rodgers early in their career. 

Previous positional rankings:

http://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/nfl-draft-positional-rankings-quarterbacks

http://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/nfl-draft-positional-rankings-running-backs

http://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/nfl-draft-positional-rankings-wide-receivers

Tight Ends

1.       Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas- Henry combines great size, 6’5” 250lbs, with solid route running and soft hands.  Henry is a threat at just about every level of the field and can line up in several different spots. Henry has no fear going over the middle to make contested catches and didn’t record a single drop on the year. While Henry’s hands are good, he isn’t overly athletic and isn’t going to scare defenders as a guy who can create much after the catch. Despite his lack of elite athleticism, Henry does a decent job creating separation and uses his body to shield off defenders. As a blocker, the 21 year old leaves a bit to be desired. He does a nice job down blocking and can seal the edge, but he can get a bit grabby, as he was called for 3 holding calls last year. He certainly has the size and flashes good technique, but he needs quite a bit of refinement. 

2.       Tyler Higbee, TE, Western Kentucky- Tyler Higbee is arguably the best pass-catching tight end in the 2016 draft. At 6’6, 249lbs he is built extremely well and still has room on his frame to add more muscle. Western Kentucky had Higbee line up inline, as an H-back, and in the slot to take advantage of the mismatches Higbee created as a receiver. Higbee can stretch the seam and is a great red zone threat due to his size, flexibility and athleticism. Higbee is an animal after the catch; he can run away from defenders, juke them out, or run through tackles to fight for extra yards.  As a blocker, Higbee has some things to improve on but is certainly willing. He has no hesitation about sticking his face in a guy but he could stand to add some strength to better sustain blocks.

3.       Austin Hooper, TE, Stanford- Hooper is a very solid receiving threat as well as a very good inline blocker. At 6’4” 254lbs, Hopper doesn’t consistently get open vs man coverage, and needs to work on his route running. He makes up for his inability to separate by making very tough catches in traffic. Hooper has good technique and has shown the ability to move or re-direct his man when blocking inline. He does, however, have a tough time blocking a moving target in space. Overall, Hooper has enough athleticism and technique as a blocker that he could develop into a starting tight end in the NFL.

4.       Jerell Adams, TE, South Carolina- Jerrell Adams is a long strider who at 6’5” 247lbs looks the part of a prototypical tight end. He’s one of the more athletic tight ends in the draft, who can stretch the seam and works hard for yards after the catch. He isn’t a natural pass-catcher and tends to run his routes really high. Adams is a very functional blocker both inline and when split out. He does a nice job latching onto smaller defenders and can ride them out of the play.

5.       Nick Vannett, TE, Ohio St. – At 6’6 257lbs Vannett has ideal size for the tight end position. He was severely underutilized as a receiving option for Ohio St., catching only 19 balls his senior year. Vannett has shown the ability to make tough catches in traffic and does a nice job finding openings in zones. As a blocker, he does a nice job pulling around and sealing the edge.

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Comments (11)

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Bearmeat's picture

April 04, 2016 at 01:39 pm

In the new look NFL, hybrid TE/WRs and ILBs who cover like FSs and SS who can run like the wind.. all necessary - and very few of them around.

This crop of TEs is really really weak.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

April 04, 2016 at 08:07 pm

https://youtu.be/VlVXoXWo7yU?t=6m43s

Thanks, Ted.

Or

https://youtu.be/VlVXoXWo7yU?t=7m11s

So, he dropped a couple. But he made plays like...

https://youtu.be/VlVXoXWo7yU?t=7m45s

He did this to a CB.

https://youtu.be/VlVXoXWo7yU?t=8m12s

Ok, last one, I promise...

https://youtu.be/VlVXoXWo7yU?t=8m38s

I'm HYPED!!!

Edit: Promises are meant to be broken. If Lacy gets back to his regular self -- and/or better -- this is all day...

https://youtu.be/VlVXoXWo7yU?t=9m5s

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WinUSA's picture

April 04, 2016 at 03:21 pm

How can this Brat eating German Receiver NOT be on the Packers radar? Check out this guys highlight reel...granted not NFL caliber opponents...but he sure is a tantalizing prospect...check out his highlight reel and comparison to Megatron's physical attributes:

http://www.acmepackingcompany.com/2016-nfl-draft-packers/2016/3/31/11338...

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LeagueObsrvr's picture

April 04, 2016 at 04:39 pm

Agreed. I posted about this in the wide receiver thread yesterday. And yes, the Packers are interested:
http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2016/04/01/pro-day-workout-creates-...

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croatpackfan's picture

April 05, 2016 at 04:45 am

Packers are interested in Moritz Boehringer, they discover the man, but now many clubs are interested too...

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holmesmd's picture

April 06, 2016 at 05:18 am

Who said he wasn't?! This guy has been linked to the Packers as a player of interest in numerous articles. The guy plays in the equivalent of an American High School league. Color me skeptical

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Icebowler's picture

April 04, 2016 at 06:59 pm

From reading your descriptions, I would have thought that you would have Higbee as #1.

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croatpackfan's picture

April 05, 2016 at 04:48 am

If Ted will pick TE in the draft, I would be satisfied with either Jerell Adams or Nick Vannett. Catching the ball in heavy traffic is proof he can catch the ball consistently, and they are already willing and good blockers...

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RCPackerFan's picture

April 05, 2016 at 06:34 am

completely agree.

Adams is very similar to Cook. So if the Packers weren't able to resign Cook next year they could have a good replacement for him. Plus it would give him the year to develop.

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AgrippaLII's picture

April 05, 2016 at 08:48 pm

I'd settle for any Tight End on this list...as long as it's a value pick and not a reach.

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Turophile's picture

April 11, 2016 at 05:07 am

TEs Jerrell Adams in round three, and Temarrick Hemingway or Ben Braunecker in round 5, will do nicely. All have the 4.6 speed to stretch the seam down the middle, not an attribute many TEs have, this draft. They are all pretty athletic as well.

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