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Pass Catching TE (2009 draft)


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1. Brandon Pettigrew, Oklahoma State

Height/Weight: 6'5/263

College Experience: Fifth-year senior

Combine Nos.: 4.87 forty, 22x225, 33" vertical, 9'10" broad, 4.37 short shuttle

Comparison: Zach Miller

2008 Stats: 42 - 472 (11.2) - 0 Tds

Positives: Pettigrew gained ideal experience as a three-year starter in coach Mike Gundy's run-heavy offense. A punisher on the line, Pettigrew paved the way for undersized lead backs Dantrell Savage and Kendall Hunter to rush for 2,827 yards (6.1 YPC) between 2007 and 2008. Pettigrew possesses massive 10 3/4-inch hands and rarely drops passes. He is an excellent all-around athlete, even if he isn't a blazer. Pettigrew is also a physical, competitive player with a nasty streak. He was a major after-catch threat before an ankle injury plagued him as a senior.

Negatives: Pettigrew never scored more than four touchdowns in a college season and was shut out of the end zone as a senior. Linemen carrying significantly more weight ran comparable forty times at the Combine. Pettigrew will not be a consistent seam stretcher or downfield threat and must improve his red-zone efficiency. He was booked for felony assault and battery of a police officer in winter 2008, although charges were later reduced.

Verdict: Traditional in-line TEs are a dying breed, but remain in demand. A far superior blocker to recent first-rounders Marcedes Lewis, Greg Olsen, and Dustin Keller, Pettigrew is a lock to go in the first 32 picks and will likely be an every-down starter as a rookie. He'll never be a game changing receiver, however, and a limited ceiling figures to keep Pettigrew out of the top 20.

2. Shawn Nelson, Southern Mississippi

Height/Weight: 6'5/240

College Experience: Fifth-year senior

Combine Nos.: 4.56 forty, 19x225, 33" vertical, 9'7" broad jump

Comparison: Greg Olsen

2008 Stats: 53 - 557 (10.5) - 3 Tds

Positives: A highly productive four-year starter, Nelson paced the Eagles' run-first offense in catches as a freshman and sophomore, and finished second on the team in receiving in his last two years. Often playing in the slot, Nelson rarely had trouble beating single coverage with near-ideal speed and polished route running. Nelson's stock soared at the Senior Bowl when he showed willingness to block, holding his own against some of the nation's top pass rushers. Mostly durable throughout his career, Nelson exhibited toughness playing through a broken hand as a sophomore.

Negatives: Nelson has potential in the run game, but won't be an asset there as a rookie. He lacks the upper-body strength and technique to block NFL defensive ends. Nelson also drops catchable passes too often and did not make overwhelming year-to-year gains in college. Nelson faced weak competition in C-USA and wasn't considered an elite prospect until pre-draft activities.

Verdict: Nelson has the long-term growth potential to be an every-down tight end. His floor is as a seam-busting No. 2. Either way, Nelson is a safe bet to contribute and merits consideration in the top-42 picks.

3. Jared Cook, South Carolina

Height/Weight: 6'5/246

College Experience: Fourth-year junior

Combine Nos.: 4.50 forty, 23x225, 41" vertical, 10'3" broad jump

Comparison: Ben Watson

2008 Stats: 37 - 573 (15.5) - 3 Tds

Positives: Cook's size-athleticism ratio is possibly the most impressive at any position in this draft. Being able to sky 41 inches and run 4.5 flat at 6'5/246 is almost inhuman. He could probably bulk up to 270 and still run sub-4.6. Cook is a mismatch waiting to happen at the intermediate and deep levels, and offers elite second-gear speed. Few linebackers and safeties will be able to stay with him. Cook showed annual improvement in college and hasn't begun to tap his long-term potential. He entered SC as a wideout/safety and has only 15 career starts at tight end.

Negatives: Cook is raw from every standpoint. He was often split out wide under coach Steve Spurrier and will have to learn to run routes in tight quarters. Cook is an indifferent blocker at times and highly inexperienced as an in-line tight end. He will basically have to rebuild his game from scratch in a pro-style offense and obviously is a project.

Verdict: Is Cook a football player or just an athlete? Some aspects of his profile are similar to Dustin Keller's a year ago, except that Keller clearly was passionate about all aspects of the game and boasted a far superior track record of production. Still, Cook's otherworldly upside is worth drafting on the first day and he could make a situational impact if used correctly in year one.

4. James Casey, Rice

Height/Weight: 6'3/246

College Experience: Third-year sophomore

Combine Nos.: 4.78 forty, 28x225, 36" vertical, 9'3" broad jump

Comparison: Owen Daniels

2008 Stats: 111 - 1,329 (12.0) - 13 Tds, 57 - 241 (4.2) - 6 Tds

Positives: Listed as a QB/TE by the Owls, Casey was the most versatile player in the nation last year. In addition to his receiving and rushing totals, he handled 14 punts for an eight-yard average and threw a pair of red-zone touchdowns. Casey's athleticism is mediocre, but his ball skills, body control, and route running are elite. He is a determined after-catch runner and fearless over the middle. Casey makes up for subpar explosiveness by consistently finding the soft spot in zone defenses. He is bright, instinctive, and has outstanding work ethic.

Negatives: Casey played only two seasons of college ball after trying his hand in the White Sox's system for three years. Rice ran a heavy spread offense, using Casey mostly as a slot receiver. Simply put, he has no experience as a tight end. Casey also has considerably smaller hands (9 1/4") and arms (30 5/8") than this draft's other top TEs, though he rarely drops passes.

Verdict: Many conservative teams won't even consider Casey because there's no reason to think he can help them run the football. However, he could evolve into a major contributor in a system like New England, San Diego, Indianapolis, or New Orleans'. Still, we've seen similar players like Garrett Mills from Tulsa fail, and Casey isn't a sure bet for a long career.

5. Cornelius Ingram, Florida

Height/Weight: 6'4/245

College Experience: Fifth-year senior

Combine Nos.: 4.68 forty, 21x225, 33" vertical, 9'2" broad jump

Comparison: L.J. Smith

2008 Stats: DNP (torn ACL)

Positives: A standout athlete, Ingram was a top high school QB recruit and played there as a freshman. He also appeared in 19 games as a reserve guard on the 2004 UF hoops team. Ingram caught 34 passes for 508 yards (14.9 YPC) and seven TDs as a junior before sitting out all of '08. He showed the ability to pluck and run and make tough catches in traffic, especially on crossing routes. Ingram is sure handed and a legitimate vertical threat, though he was probably faster as a junior.

Negatives: After nearly declaring for the 2008 draft, Ingram tore his ACL in August and missed his entire senior season. He has little experience playing from a three-point stance or blocking on the line. Ingram will go over the middle, but is not considered an overly physical player and saw much of his playing time out wide or in the slot. He nearly quit the Gators' football team after Urban Meyer's first year and Ingram's dedication has been questioned.

Verdict: Ingram might be competing to be the second TE drafted had he stayed healthy as a senior. Though Ingram carries plenty of question marks, his skill set is difficult to find and warrants consideration at the top of round three.

6. Davon Drew, East Carolina

Height/Weight: 6'4/256

College Experience: Fifth-year senior

Combine Nos.: 4.78 forty, 17x225, 9'5" broad jump

Comparison: Visanthe Shiancoe

2008 Stats: 43 - 695 (16.2) - 3 Tds

Positives/Negatives: Coach Skip Holtz converted Drew from QB to tight end in spring of 2006. Naturally, Drew took time to develop and put on roughly 40 pounds heading into his senior year. He exploded in his final eight games, hauling in 32 passes for 536 yards (16.8 YPC) and 120 yards on five grabs in ECU's bowl loss to Kentucky. Drew comes from a historically run-heavy offense and is a fairly experienced blocker. He plays faster than his forty time indicates and is a field stretcher down the seams. Drew needs to add bulk, however, and his all-around technique is raw.

Verdict: Drew lacks a large sample size of production and his game clearly needs polish. But he is a serious sleeper at the position and offers most of what teams look for in an eventual starter. He won't be a candidate to start as a rookie, but could prove to be this draft's best tight end value in a few years.

7. Travis Beckum, Wisconsin

Height/Weight: 6'3/243

College Experience: Fourth-year senior

Combine Nos.: No forty (broken leg), 28x225

Comparison: David Thomas

2008 Stats: 23 - 264 (11.5) - 0 Tds

Positives/Negatives: Coming off a 75-catch, 982-yard junior year, Beckum added 25 pounds last offseason to prove he could produce at a pro-caliber weight. But he missed the Badgers' first two games with a hamstring injury and broke his left fibula in October, ending his season. Beckum has recovered, but there are serious doubts about his ability to carry any more than 225 pounds. Before the injury he was one of the nation's most dangerous H-back/slot receivers. Beckum is a natural over the middle and freakishly explosive down the seams. He also flashed willingness as a blocker, although that wasn't his main role in the Wisconsin offense.

Verdict: Kellen Winslow has gotten away with playing in the 230-pound range, but it's hard to compare Beckum to such a rare talent. Beckum appears to be a boom-or-bust prospect whose future depends on situation. He may not succeed if a team asks him to play heavier than his ideal weight or tries to mold him into a three-down tight end before he's ready.

8. Anthony Hill, North Carolina State

Height/Weight: 6'5/262

College Experience: Fifth-year senior

Combine Nos.: 4.81 forty, 21x225, 8'8" broad jump

Comparison: Robert Royal

2008 Stats: 19 - 234 (12.3) - 4 Tds

Positives/Negatives: Hill appeared to be a future first-day pick when he paced a terrible Wolfpack offense with 45 grabs for 478 yards as a sophomore. But Hill tore his ACL in summer 2007, took a medical redshirt, and returned as mostly a blocker in his senior season. Hill has an enormous wingspan and hands, and after Brandon Pettigrew is this draft's most NFL-ready blocking tight end. He seemed to lose some explosiveness after the knee injury, however, and isn't much of a receiving threat away from the line of scrimmage. Hill also missed a month of last season with a chest injury, so durability remains an obvious concern.

Verdict: Hill hasn't topped 40 receiving yards in a game since the last week of 2006. He won't be viewed as a pass-catching prospect initially, although he may regain some speed as he becomes further removed from the ACL tear. Hill is worth drafting late in the fourth round.

9. Chase Coffman, Missouri

Height/Weight: 6'6/244

College Experience: Fourth-year senior

Combine Nos.: DNP (broken foot)

Comparison: Ben Utecht

2008 Stats: 90 - 987 (11.0) - 10 Tds

Positives/Negatives: Coffman nearly entered the 2008 draft after receiving a second-round grade from the NFL Advisory Board and went on to win the Mackey Award as a senior. Spectacularly productive in Mizzou's spread offense, Coffman offers sure hands and outstanding awareness. He had little trouble getting open in the Big 12. Coffman broke his foot on the last play of December's Alamo Bowl, however, and has not run for NFL teams. That's especially concerning because straight-line speed is a huge question mark for Coffman. He was mostly a stop-and-post route runner in college, rarely plucking and running down the seams. Foot injuries are also nothing new for Coffman; he had ankle surgery last offseason and turf toe cost him two late-season games as a senior. Coffman also has next to no experience as an in-line blocker.

Verdict: If Coffman's suspect speed and lack of proven blocking ability weren't going to keep him out of the draft's first day, his recurring injury problems will. Coffman is only 80% healthy and lacks an NFL skill set. He is unlikely to contribute as a rookie and has a lot of developing to do before he'll see the field.

10. Cameron Morrah, California

Height/Weight: 6'3/244

College Experience: Fourth-year junior

Combine Nos.: 4.66 forty, 24x225, 9'7" broad jump, 4.36 short shuttle

Comparison: Bo Scaife

2008 Stats: 27 - 326 (12.1) - 8 Tds

Positives/Negatives: Morrah emerged as Cal's primary red-zone target in 2008, his first season as a full-time starter. He led the Bears in TD catches and set a single-season school record for scores by a tight end. Morrah is not considered a powerful or polished blocker, but gained in-line experience in Cal's run-heavy offense and has potential to improve in that area. Morrah is a toolsy TE with plus vertical speed, natural pass-catching skills, and run-after-catch ability. He rarely faced loaded coverage because defenses keyed on ultra-productive RB Jahvid Best, however, and definitely would've benefited from another season in school.

Verdict: Morrah played special teams early in his college career and could help an NFL team there initially, but probably won't threaten for offensive playing time. Still, he's one of the most athletic tight ends in this class and worth a flier in the fifth round.

Another good thing about a pass catching TE is that you can carry 1 less WR on the game day roster...... If we normally carry a 6 WR roster on gameday we could now carry 5 WR...... that extra position can go towards a LB, DL, or CB....

I just like the idea of adding a playmaker TE (not in the 1st round) .... Look at the things Dallas Clark not only does for Peyton Manning but also the Colts WR...Not only does a pass catching TE help the QB and move the chains but he also help free up WR... I want our own Greg Olsen or K2 .

One more thing....Some says that Mike Mularkey does not need a pass catching TE in his scheme..... When Mike Mularkey was running the show in Buffalo, Mike draft Kevin Everett (a pure pass catching TE coming out the U with upside) in the 3rd round of the 2005 nfl draft.

Kevin Everett draft profile

POSITIVES: Big, athletic tight end with great upside for the next level. Fluid releasing into pass routes, immediately gets to top speed and adjusts to make the difficult catch. Looks the ball into his hands and strong running after the reception, breaking tackles to pick up positive yardage. Displays good focus and pulls the pass out of a crowd. Solid route runner and uses good body positioning to shield away opponents. Leverage blocker who seals holes for the running game or removes linebackers on the second level.

NEGATIVES: Does not display soft, natural hands. Only average blocking strength and cannot finish. Had shoulder surgery at the end of the season and still recuperating as of early March.

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i don't like the endzone knocks on pettigrew, if he's drafted, that means TD and the coaching staff believe that can be coached. which means good things will come between ryan and pettigrew, because we'll have a legit recieving corps. legit tight end legit run game basically perfect offense. being that this is a defensive heavy draft, and there should be value on defense late in the draft, we may be able to find a starter and some excellent back ups. only scary hole we need to fill for me at least on defense is NT other than that were solid.

I think Pettigrew will be a best in the redzone in the NFL........ his speed bothers me tho....... We have 2 good run blocking TEs..... I just feel like that a guy like Shawn Nelson and Cornelius Ingramn has the most upside.... Both of these guys has the speed to strench the field but also show the ability to block (not the greatest but can block).

I would not draft a TE in the 1st round this year tho.

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i agree... thats why i like Shawn Nelson.

Thanks for the info. I would rather have Shawn Nelson too, I like ingram, but if we cant get either of those two i also like MOrrah and Drew. I like BP but i would rather have a TE that has the chance to be a seam buster and block.

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If you get a TE who can block as well, you only have to dress 2 TE on game days

I agree, unfortunately most of the TE's in this years' draft are pass catchers first & foremost although I'm sure the art of blocking can be taught by our coaches over time. I'd rather have a TE with game changing speed for his position than a pure blocking TE any day.

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Shawn Nelson is the TE i want more than any of them as far as talent, complete package, and value goes not having to go a 1st rounder on him. With that said wtf is Coffman doing in 9th? The guy was like 3rd best TE for a long time and if he drops to the 4th round i would stab a guy trying to get to the podium with my turn in if he got in my way.

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I think Pettigrew will be a best in the redzone in the NFL........ his speed bothers me tho....... We have 2 good run blocking TEs..... I just feel like that a guy like Shawn Nelson and Cornelius Ingramn has the most upside.... Both of these guys has the speed to strench the field but also show the ability to block (not the greatest but can block).

I would not draft a TE in the 1st round this year tho.

i think it depends on alot of things, mainly the usc lbs ... how far will they fall if at all after the rumors ???

plus after all the garbage we have been thru do we really want to take any of these guys with off field issues...

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i think it depends on alot of things, mainly the usc lbs ... how far will they fall if at all after the rumors ???

plus after all the garbage we have been thru do we really want to take any of these guys with off field issues...

Brandon Pettigrew was arrested in January of 2008 and charged with felony assault and battery on a police officer but eventually pled guilty to guilty to misdemeanor assault and battery...

ill rather have Clay Matthews anyday

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