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Finding a tight end in this year's NFL draft class will take some work

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Finding a tight end in this year's NFL draft class will take some work By Mike Triplett, The Times-Picayune There is plenty of talent in this year's tight end draft class. But there are also an abundance of question marks. ...

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Old 04-14-2010, 09:58 AM   #1
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Finding a tight end in this year's NFL draft class will take some work

By Mike Triplett, The Times-Picayune

There is plenty of talent in this year's tight end draft class. But there are also an abundance of question marks.


The top two prospects, Oklahoma's Jermaine Gresham and Arizona's Rob Gronkowski, did not play last year because of injuries.


The Associated PressOklahoma's Oklahoma's Jermaine Gresham is one of the top tight ends in this year's class, and he's coming back from injury.

Another top prospect, Miami's Jimmy Graham, played last year. But it was his only season of college football after he spent the previous four years playing basketball for the Hurricanes.

Several other dynamic offensive weapons come from spread offenses in college, leading to concerns about their ability to bulk up and block in the NFL.


In other words, the next Tony Gonzalez or Antonio Gates might be available in this year's draft class, but NFL teams are going to have to work harder to find them.


"There are less and less tight end and fullback types because of the emphasis in college and even high school on the spread offense," said Kevin Colbert, the Pittsburgh Steelers' director of football operations. "What you are seeing are bigger receivers that may have in the past grown into tight ends, now you're seeing 6-foot-3, 220-pound receivers who would have gone inside are staying outside in the spread."


Gresham has two of those clouds hanging over his head, having played in the spread at Oklahoma before missing his senior season because of knee surgery. But the 6-5, 261-pounder is such a natural talent that he figures to be drafted among the top 25 picks regardless.



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Gil Brandt, a longtime NFL executive and current NFL Network analyst, said he thinks Gresham is "the next Kellen Winslow Sr." because of his combination of size, strength and speed.
Gresham runs like a big wide receiver before the catch, then boxes out defenders to get open and pushes them around after the catch. He had 25 touchdown catches combined in his sophomore and junior seasons at Oklahoma, catching 103 balls for 1,468 yards in that span (14.3 yards per catch).


"I want to be everything," Gresham said when asked what kind of tight end prospect he wants to be at the NFL scouting combine. "I want to be a guy that, you know, the greatest player, if not one of the greats, that played it. So hopefully I can be a great blocker, great pass catcher, great route runner, everything.


"I want to be on the field every down, and I want to compete."
Gresham, who later added that he wants to become one of the "all-time legends," clearly isn't shy about his career goals. But he said he doesn't apply that same lofty standard to his draft position.


After missing out on his senior season, he said he's just ready to get somewhere and play, whether he's drafted in the first round or the third day.


"As long as I'm picked and lucky to play. I just miss football and want to play," said Gresham, who was projected as a first-round talent last year, too, before he decided to go back for one more shot at the national championship with quarterback Sam Bradford.


Obviously, that plan didn't work out too well for either Sooners star. After Gresham tore cartilage in his right knee during the summer, Bradford suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the season opener.


Gresham said he doesn't regret his decision, but he definitely gained an appreciation for the game while on the sideline.


"You don't realize how important something is to you (until) it's taken away from you," Gresham said. "So I think I've seen how important football is to me and how much I love it, seeing my other guys play and not being able to contribute. That took a toll on me and made me appreciate the game a whole lot more."


Gronkowski, a 6-6, 258-pounder who missed his junior season because of back surgery, is equally eager to get back on the field. He was confident enough in his recovery to leave school early.


"When I have an opportunity, I step on board. I don't like waiting around," Gronkowski said, adding that he hasn't "felt this great in a while."


He helped to ease any teams' concerns with an impressive showing at Arizona's Pro Day in late March, and if healthy, he has the potential to be the most complete tight end to come out of this year's draft.


A receiving threat and a solid blocker, Gronkowski caught a combined 75 passes for 1,197 yards and 16 touchdowns (16 yards per catch) in his first two college seasons.


"I would say I'm the top tight end because I bring the whole package. I'm ready to take on the big D-ends. I'm ready to go out there and catch some passes," said Gronkowski, who said he doesn't pattern his game after any single player. "Jeremy Shockey brings some intensity to the table. Tony Gonzalez is a great tight end. I like watching those two guys a lot. I respect their game, big time."


It's not out of the realm of possibility that Gronkowski could wind up learning under Shockey in New Orleans. With Shockey turning 30 this year, the Saints could potentially look to develop a young tight end for the future in this year's draft.


Although the Saints' most pressing draft needs appear to be on defense, they can't afford to get too picky with the 32nd pick in Round 1, and they have a history of drafting the best available player, regardless of position.


Later in the draft, they could look at several intriguing prospects, including Miami's Graham, the former basketball player, or Pittsburgh tight end/receiver/H-back Dorin Dickerson, as well as more traditional tight ends like BYU's Dennis Pitta, Oregon's Ed Dickson, Florida's Aaron Hernandez, USC's Anthony McCoy and Iowa's Tony Moeaki.


Finding a tight end in this year's NFL draft class will take some work | - NOLA.com

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Old 04-14-2010, 01:32 PM   #2
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Re: Finding a tight end in this year's NFL draft class will take some work

Does he catch that ball in the picture? Or was it a bobble-n-drop? I like hands guys, not the arms, bread basket type. I hope we don't waste a lot of time digging through the pick pile looking for a tight-end. We need another tightend like a hole in the head. We have way too many higher priorities 1st, 2nd, or 3rd round. Dude would really have to be a cloaked TE diamond to use our 4th round pick on one.
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Old 04-14-2010, 02:46 PM   #3
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Re: Finding a tight end in this year's NFL draft class will take some work

luckily we don't need one.

I'm happy going onto the season with Shockey, Thomas, & Miller, with Strief as a lead blocker now and then
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Old 04-14-2010, 02:58 PM   #4
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Re: Finding a tight end in this year's NFL draft class will take some work

Originally Posted by darstep View Post
Does he catch that ball in the picture? Or was it a bobble-n-drop? I like hands guys, not the arms, bread basket type. I hope we don't waste a lot of time digging through the pick pile looking for a tight-end. We need another tightend like a hole in the head. We have way too many higher priorities 1st, 2nd, or 3rd round. Dude would really have to be a cloaked TE diamond to use our 4th round pick on one.
then you want gresham did'nt play senior season but a all out stand up rout runner with the sweetest hands i've seen in a while. there calling him a 25 or so pick so he's just a diamond not anything rough. if he's the one at 32, will payton pull the trigger ??????????????? anyones guest. he's gonna be a stud in the league for a very long time.
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Old 04-14-2010, 03:03 PM   #5
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Re: Finding a tight end in this year's NFL draft class will take some work

Just say no to tightends...wait i like tightends...lol
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Old 04-14-2010, 03:09 PM   #6
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Re: Finding a tight end in this year's NFL draft class will take some work

Originally Posted by strato View Post
Just say no to tightends...wait i like tightends...lol
could it be possible we take gresham in the first, let him get his feet wet with shockey's guidence for one season then trade shockey in 2011 for a 3rd rounder? ho, ho, ho you never know. lol
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Old 04-14-2010, 09:53 PM   #7
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Re: Finding a tight end in this year's NFL draft class will take some work

wait a minute.
Miller and Shockey in their 30's.
Thomas has a long injury history.
How can you say TE is not an area of need. While a 1st or 2nd is a bit high I can not see the saints sitting tight for a year or two. My pick in the third or fourth is BYU's Dennis Pitta
Now the fun move would be Pittsburgh tight end/receiver/H-back Dorin Dickerson in the second. FB? SP can line him up everywhere.
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Old 04-14-2010, 09:56 PM   #8
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Re: Finding a tight end in this year's NFL draft class will take some work

Is Darnell Dinkins still on the roster?
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Old 04-14-2010, 09:58 PM   #9
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Re: Finding a tight end in this year's NFL draft class will take some work

Are you kidding, Aaron Hernandez TE Florida. This kid was a great college and player and will be a great player.
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Old 04-14-2010, 10:00 PM   #10
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Re: Finding a tight end in this year's NFL draft class will take some work

Rob Gronkowski..would be a beast...but he will be gone
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