It’s the time of year where fans of teams that didn’t make playoffs turn their attention to the draft and look to the future. Unfortunately, Raiders fans are apart of that collective. I will be giving you a look at the top prospects (senior and juniors that have declared to date, only) at every position as we head towards the 2013 NFL draft. We will post refreshed rankings after the combine, pro days, etc.
We have already ranked the Quarterbacks, Running Backs and Wide Receivers and today we look at tight ends. Tight end will be interesting for the Raiders this offseason. The Raiders had a breakout at the position in Brandon Myers but he will be an unrestricted free agent if he isn’t resigned by the team before free agency opens.
The other two tight ends on the roster, David Ausberry and Richard Gordon showed promise early on but both were give less and less playing time as the season went on. Both are likely to make it to training camp but neither is a lock to make the final squad which means the Raiders could have an entirely new tight end squad next season.
If the Raider do not re-sign Myers, one of these prospects could take his place.
1. Tyler Eifert 6’5" 255 lbs Notre Dame
Eifert is an elite receiving tight end. He gets up and catches the ball at its highest point as good as anyone. He adjusts well to the ball mid-air and is able to make tough catches at awkward angles. He is also good at shielding out defenders to catch the ball. He has “glue-like” hands and if the ball is thrown to him, he usually comes down with it. Solid route runner and a good blocker with great technique both in-line and chip blocking. Great all round prospect could go in first round.
Pro Comparison: Jason Witten
2. Zach Ertz 6’6" 250 lbs Stanford
Ertz is another good all round prospect and some may even have Ertz over Eifert. Ertz dealt with a QB change after Luck left and also couple of changes on the staff and was still able to show his straps in the passing game and was able to utilize his reliable hands and great route running ability. Ertz is a tough, gritty blocker with solid technique and he’s not shy of roughing it up with defensive players. He has good size, length and athletic ability to be a very good tight end at the next level.
Pro Comparison: Heath Miller
3. Travis Kelce 6’5" 260 lbs Cincinnati
A great blocker at the tight end position, Kelce is able to lock onto his man in run game and drive him off of ball. He’s not only a blocker, though can hold up enough as well in pass game. As a receiver, he shows good hands, runs good routes and has enough speed and athleticism to attack seams or run from the slot. If he transitions well to the next level, Kelce could be a Gronk like steal in the 2nd round.
Pro Comparison: Brandon Pettigrew
4. Jordan Reed 6’3" 245 lbs Florida
Reed is the best “Joker” type tight end in 2013 draft. He is definitely a receiver and will struggle if the team wants to use him as a blocker. He really could've used another year in college to refine his blocking and he’ll struggle agains the superior athletes in the NFL. He has good athleticism so he should be at least adequate but he technique is not refined and he’s very raw which means he’ll be beat by the above average defensive linemen in the game. He runs good routes and is able to get separation from most linebackers or safeties assigned to cover him. He shows the ability to make some great catches and displays solid hands. He understands the position and is able to find the holes in zone defense. This may be at least in part because he played QB in high school so he has good understanding of his piece on the offense. In addition to playing TE he could serve as an emergency QB option on the team that drafts him (like Shane Lechler has for the Raiders for years).
Pro Comparison: Dallas Clark
5.Joseph Fauria 6’7" 255 lbs UCLA
A big, agile tight-end that could be a mismatch at next level due to his impressive size. He has good hands and leaping ability but not the speed to frighten. He’s not really a blocking tight end, so will most likely be used as a flex/joker but he has the ability to improve in that area which will help him get more playing time.
Pro Comparison: John Carlson
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