Eric Ebron*, TE, North Carolina
Height: 6-4. Weight: 250. 40 Time: 4.60. Projected Round (2014): Top-25. 4/5/14: Ebron was phenomenal in 2013. He produced long touchdowns and killed teams down the middle of the field with his speed and athleticism. Ebron is very fast with mismatch speed to get separation and run away from defenders. In 2013, Ebron hauled in 62 passes for 973 yards and three touchdowns. His blocking is much improved.
For the NFL, Ebron looks like a real mismatch weapon. He is too fast for linebackers and many safeties, yet is also too big for defensive backs. Ebron can make acrobatic catches in the deep middle of the field and has the speed to kill defenses down the middle seam. He is a versatile athlete who can line up in a variety of places. As a pro, Ebron can be used as a typical tight end, an h-back or even as a slot receiver. He looks like a potential high-impact receiving tight end in the NFL.
8/3/13: Ebron has a great skill set with size, speed and strength. He has the potential to be a starting tight end in the NFL with three-down ability.
Ebron was the Tar Heels' second leading receiver in 2012, making 40 catches for 625 yards and four touchdowns. He was a dangerous receiver for Bryn Renner.
North Carolina was thin at defensive end last year, so Ebron played some defensive end along with being a tight end. All he pretty much did was try speed rushes to get disruption upfield, but it was impressive that he was able to apply some pass pressures.
Ebron is very fast running through the secondary and is excellent attacking the middle of the field on slants and seam routes. He operates well as a slot receiver, too. Ebron needs to work on his hands and route-running, but he has great potential.
Additionally, Ebron flashes some impressive blocking potential. There are times when he rocks defenders and gets them on roller skates. There are other times where Ebron misses or doesn't finish blocks. He needs to improve his ability to sustain his blocks. Ebron just needs to get more consistent.
Personal: Majoring in communications. Son of Eric Ebron, Sr. and Gina Jackson.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins*, TE, Washington
Height: 6-6. Weight: 266. Projected 40 Time: 4.68. Projected Round (2014): 1-2. 4/5/14: A foot injury knocked Seferian-Jenkins out of the Combine, and he won't be able to do much for scouts before the 2014 NFL Draft. That could send Seferian-Jenkins to the second round and make him a nice value pick. Some teams are said to be turned off by Seferian-Jenkins off the field and are downgrading him for character concerns.
Seferian-Jenkins had 36 receptions for 450 yards and eight scores in 2013. He played well against Stanford and UCLA, but did have a fumble against the Bruins. The Washington offense seemed to have put him on the back burner as it was led by Bishop Sankey, while Keith Price favored throwing to other receivers. Seferian-Jenkins showed some improvement as a blocker and was a contributor to Sankey's big season on the ground.
8/3/13: Seferian-Jenkins turned in a stellar freshman season and continued that trend with a superb 2012 campaign. The sophomore caught 69 passes for 852 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012. Once again, defenses really struggled to matchup against him. He hurt his draft stock in spring 2013 with a DUI arrest.
Seferian-Jenkins was in the running as the best tight end in college football as a freshman in 2011. He was an absolute force as a receiver and a blocker. Seferian-Jenkins already has an NFL body with the speed to be a top tight end at the next level. As a prospect, he looks like he could develop into a tight end on a par with Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham.
Seferian-Jenkins totaled 41 receptions for 538 yards and six touchdowns in 2011. He should produce more in 2013 with quarterback Keith Price maturing. Seferian-Jenkins is a special athlete who also played basketball for Washington. He has a rare combination of size, speed and athleticism. Assuming Seferian-Jenkins maintains his level of play, he will be the top tight end prospect to enter the NFL since the super 2010 crop of Gronkowski, Graham and Aaron Hernandez.
Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame
Height: 6-6. Weight: 270. Projected 40 Time: 4.69. Projected Round (2014): 2-3. 4/5/14: Niklas took Tyler Eifert's place in the Notre Dame offense for 2013 and had a quality season. Niklas caught 32 receptions for 498 yards with five touchdowns for the year. He had only five receptions for 75 yards and a score in 2012.
Niklas has some athletic ability and quickness to go along with a huge frame. He is a good blocker, too. Niklas would have been better off returning for his senior season to have a shot at being a first-rounder, but he entered the 2014 NFL Draft. Niklas was limited at the Combine and didn't run the 40-yard dash.
Sources have told WalterFootball.com that they believe Niklas will go no lower than the middle of the second round.
Personal: Majoring in management entrepreneurship. Son of Don and Kim Niklas.
Jace Amaro*, TE, Texas Tech
Height: 6-5. Weight: 265. 40 Time: 4.74. Projected Round (2014): 2-3. 4/5/14: Amaro was awesome for the Red Raiders in 2013. The junior recorded 106 receptions for 1,352 yards with seven touchdowns. He had huge days against a number of Big XII teams, including Iowa State (9-143), West Virginia (9-136), Oklahoma (8-119) and Oklahoma State (15-174).
Amaro is quicker than he is fast and is a good route-runner. He is skilled at burning defenses down the middle of the field. Amaro is too quick for most linebackers and too big for safeties to cover effectively. He also has excellent body control with generally reliable hands.
About midway through the season, Amaro tweeted that he was going to return to Texas Tech for his senior year, but WalterFootball.com heard that Amaro would be declaring for the 2014 NFL Draft. He ended up deciding to skip his senior season. That isn't surprising because Amaro was dominant in 2013 and probably couldn't have improved his draft stock by returning to Texas Tech.
WalterFootball.com knows teams that are skeptical of Amaro and don't view him as a first-round pick. He ran slowly at the Combine, although he did perform well in the bench press. Teams are concerned if Amaro has enough speed to separate in the NFL, plus his blocking needs a lot of work.
8/3/13: Amaro is a sleeper tight end who could rise in what should be a high-powered offense going against a conference comprised of weak defenses. The sophomore was one his way to a huge season last year, racking up almost 400 yards receiving through the first six games. In a blow out of West Virginia, Amaro was having a massive game with five receptions for 156 yards and a touchdowns. Unfortunately, he injured his spleen in that contest and missed six games.
Amaro ended up catching a total of 25 passes last season for 409 yards with four touchdowns. He caught seven passes for 57 yards and two scores in 2011. Amaro has an off-the-field red flag stemming from an arrest in the spring of 2012.
Personal: Son of Rosemary and Robert Amaro.
C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa
Height: 6-5. Weight: 265. 40 Time: 4.76. Projected Round (2014): 3-4. 4/5/14: Fiedorowicz had 30 receptions for 299 yards and six touchdowns in 2013. He did a solid job as a blocker for the Hawkeyes, and has more speed and athleticism than one would think. Fiedorowicz turned in a solid performance at the Senior Bowl and showed off more athleticism than one would think at the Combine. He could be more than just a blocking tight end in the NFL.
8/3/13: Iowa had a down 2012 season, but Fiedorowicz was one of the bright spots. He hauled in 45 receptions for 433 yards and a touchdown. Fiedorowicz did a solid job as a blocker for the Hawkeyes. He had 16 catches for 167 yards and three touchdowns as a sophomore. Fiedorowicz was used exclusively as a blocker during his freshman season in 2010.
Fiedorowicz definitely has the size and strength to be a good blocker in the NFL. He has the receiving ability to contribute for the passing game and should continue to work on his receiving skills as a senior.
Personal: Pre-business major. Son of Leeann and Gary Fiedorowicz.
Xavier Grimble*, TE, USC
Height: 6-4. Weight: 257. Projected 40 Time: 4.67. Projected Round (2014): 3-5. 4/5/14: Grimble totaled 25 receptions for 271 yards with two scores in 2013. He missed three games with an ankle injury. Grimble is an interesting athlete, but he would have been better off returning for his senior year. Grimble was unable to run at the Combine.
8/3/13: Grimble made his presence felt with a solid 2012 season. He hauled in 29 receptions for 316 yards and five touchdowns. Grimble showcased some impressive receiving ability and could be used more in 2013 with Robert Woods in the NFL. Defenses will focus their attention on Marqise Lee, so Grimble should see some favorable looks. He caught 15 passes for 144 yards and four touchdowns as a redshirt freshman in 2011.
Grimble has some natural receiving ability with quickness and athleticism. The junior should improve his blocking ability, but he could have starting potential for the NFL.
Arthur Lynch, TE, Georgia
Height: 6-5. Weight: 258. 40 Time: 4.82. Projected Round (2014): 4-6. 4/5/14: Lynch played well as a blocker and receiver in 2013. He had 30 receptions for 459 yards with five touchdowns. Lynch made some clutch catches for Georgia in close wins over LSU and South Carolina. He played in the Senior Bowl and ran poorly at the Combine. Lynch is a blocking tight end for the NFL.
8/3/13: Lynch was a solid replacement for Orson Charles in 2012. Lynch didn't provide the big plays that Charles did, but was reliable for Georgia. The junior had 26 receptions for 448 yards and three touchdowns last year. Lynch did a nice job of blocking in the ground game. He was a backup before 2012.
Personal: History major.
Joe Don Duncan, TE, Dixie State
Height: 6-3. Weight: 268. Projected 40 Time: 4.75. Projected Round (2014): 4-6. 4/5/14: The Division II product Duncan was going to get the opportunity to impress NFL evaluators at the Senior Bowl, but he was held out because of an injury. It is rare for D-II players to get Senior Bowl invites, but Duncan managed to impress Phil Savage and the Senior Bowl selection staff. In 2013, Duncan caught 71 passes for 1,045 yards and 13 touchdowns for Dixie State - it is in Utah. His career totals rewrote record books with 135 receptions for 1,994 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Duncan is said to have the athletic ability to also execute some fullback and H-back duties. He had a knee injury in 2012 that required surgery, so have no doubt that his medical check at the Combine was significant to teams. Duncan didn't run at the Combine, but he impressed by leading all the tight ends with 35 reps on the bench press.
Of all the positions to be an obscure prospect, tight end may be the best thanks to unknowns who have become good players in the NFL. Antonio Gates is likely the most well-known example.
Marcel Jensen, TE, Fresno State
Height: 6-6. Weight: 259. 40 Time: 4.85. Projected Round (2014): 5-7. 4/5/14: Jensen contributed to Fresno State's aerial offense in 2013 with 26 receptions for 353 yards and three touchdowns. He's a sleeper tight end to keep an eye on. Jensen ran slowly at the Combine.
8/3/13: Jensen contributed as a junior to a good Fresno State offense led by quarterback Derek Carr. Jensen had 20 receptions for 339 yards and four touchdowns. He had only two receptions for 16 yardsbefore 2012. With Carr returning, Jensen could rise with a strong senior season.
Personal: Son of Mark and Carolyn. Marcel Jensen is married and has a son. Majoring in criminology.
Jacob Pedersen, TE, Wisconsin
Height: 6-3. Weight: 238. 40 Time: 4.89. Projected Round (2014): 6-7. 4/5/14: Pedersen had 39 receptions for 551 yards and three touchdowns in 2013. Even though he's undersized, he blocked well in the Badgers' offense. Pedersen ran a very slow time at the Combine.
8/3/13: Pedersen is a nice receiving tight end with H-back potential for the NFL. The junior hauled in 27 receptions for 355 yards and four touchdowns last year. Pedersen caught 30 passes for 356 yards and eight touchdowns in 2011. He could produce more as a senior if Wisconsin can get good quarterback play.
Pedersen has blocking potential, but could use more bulk for the NFL. He has the height to add weight to his frame. Pedersen is a sleeper prospect who could rise.
Personal: Majoring in agricultural and life sciences. Son of Paul and Ronda Pedersen.
Richard Rodgers, TE, California
Height: 6-4. Weight: 257. 40 Time: 4.87. Projected Round (2014): 5-7. 4/5/14: Rodgers has some athletic and receiving ability for a big tight end. He collected 39 receptions for 608 yards with a touchdown in 2013. Rodgers made 20 catches for 288 yards and a score in 2012. With a loaded 2014 tight end class, the junior should have returned for his senior year, but he entered the 2014 NFL Draft. Rodgers didn't impress at the Combine.
Personal: Undeclared major. Son of Richard Sr. and Mindy Rodgers. His father played at California and was part of the 1982 lateral play with the Stanford band on the field. Richard Sr. then played in the Canadian Football League and Arena league. He currently is an assistant special teams coach with the Carolina Panthers.
Jordan Najvar, TE, Baylor
Height: 6-6. Weight: 256. Projected 40 Time: 4.93. Projected Round (2014): 5-7. 4/5/14: Najvar used the East-West Shrine to get on the radar of scouts as he had only 10 receptions for 85 yards as a senior. Still, Baylor's offense not featuring tight ends is a lot to overcome. Navjar had 15 catches for 146 yards and two scores in 2012. He started his collegiate career at Stanford before transferring to Baylor.
Najvar had a phenomenal week of practice in St. Petersburg. He was dominant in the Monday practice as he made a lot of catches downfield. When asked who was impressive to him for the week, coach Romeo Crennel picked Najvar before anyone else.
Najvar has good size and body control to go for receptions. He has surprising quickness with some athleticism. Najvar is a sleeper tight end prospect who could be a steal on the third day of the 2014 NFL Draft, although he had a bad Combine performance with a very slow 40.
Personal: Graduated in May 2013 with a degree in distribution management technology. Son of Don Najvar and Lee Schulz.
Crockett Gilmore, TE, Colorado State
Height: 6-6. Weight: 260. 40 Time: 4.89. Projected Round (2014): 5-7. 4/5/14: Gilmore was a late addition to the Senior Bowl, but he made up for lost time by impressing in practice and the actual game. Gilmore is a good blocker who flashed some receiving ability. He caught 43 passes for 533 yards and two scores in 2013 and 19 catches for 263 yards and two touchdowns the year before. In his first two seasons, Gilmore spent time at defensive end and tight end.
Personal: Majoring in communication. Son of Phil and Rose Gilmore.
Gator Hoskins, TE, Marshall
Height: 6-1. Weight: 244. Projected 40 Time: 4.62. Projected Round (2014): 6-FA. 4/5/14: Hoskins had a good senior year with 50 receptions for 821 yards and 15 touchdowns for Marshall. He is a nice receiving weapon, but is undersized as a blocker for the NFL. Hoskins could be a nice mismatch player as an H-back. In 2012, he had 35 catches for 374 yards and 10 touchdowns. Hoskins didn't participate in the Combine.
Personal: His given first name is Harold, but goes by Gator.
Colt Lyerla*, TE, Oregon
Height: 6-4. Weight: 242. Projected 40 Time: 4.61. Projected Round (2014): 6-FA. 4/5/14: Lyerla had two receptions for 26 yards in 2013 before quitting Oregon's football team. In the weeks afterward, he was arrested for cocaine possession. Lylerla is a very talented athlete with speed and athleticism, but with his off-the-field problems, he would be lucky to get drafted. Lyerla had a mixed performance at the Combine.
8/3/13: Lyerla is an athletic tight end who has been a nice weapon in the Ducks' offense. He is extremely explosive as a receiver, and his speed takes defenses by surprise. The sophomore caught 25 passes for 392 yards and six touchdowns last year. He also ran the ball as a power back and totaled 77 yards on 13 carries. Lyerla was a real red-zone weapon with five touchdowns on just seven passes for 147 yards in 2011. Lyerla would have greater utilization by most programs, but Oregon has had so many other weapons to spread the ball around.
Lyerla could, and should, add weight for the NFL to help improve his blocking ability. He has a lot of upside and is just scratching the surface. Some draft analysts have ranked Lyerla ahead of Seferian-Jenkins. There is no doubt that Lyerla is a dangerous receiver who presents a lot of mismatches. He has early-round potential.
Personal: Son of Roger and Tammy Lyerla.
A.C. Leonard*, TE, Tennessee State
Height: 6-2. Weight: 252. 40 Time: 4.50. Projected Round (2014): 6-FA. 4/5/14: In 2013, Leonard had 34 receptions for 441 yards with five touchdowns. He would have been better off returning to school as there is no guarantee that he will be drafted. The junior ran a fast time at the Combine.
Leonard started out his collegiate career at Florida. A misdemeanor battery charge led to his leaving the Gators. He was arrested for assaulting his live-in girlfriend. She claimed that Leonard shoved her into a wall and dragged her by her hair out of the apartment before locking her out. As a freshman for Florida, Leonard had eight receptions for 99 yards.
Chris Coyle, TE, Arizona State
Height: 6-3. Weight: 222. Projected 40 Time: 4.73. Projected Round (2014): FA. 4/5/14: Coyle contributed as a receiver to the Sun Devils' offense in 2013 with 29 receptions for 423 yards and four touchdowns. He is a tweener for the NFL. Coyle did not participate at the Combine.
8/3/13: Coyle is a very undersized tight end who has to add weight for the NFL. He is a good receiver and led the Sun Devils in receiving as a junior with 57 receptions for 696 yards and five touchdowns. It was a breakout year as for Coyle, who had only 73 yards on six catches as sophomore. He could potentially be moved to fullback.
Personal: Majoring in business. Son of Richard and Karen Coyle.
Kaneakua Friel, TE, BYU
Height: 6-5. Weight: 250. Projected 40 Time: 4.74. Projected Round (2014): FA. 4/5/14: Friel served as a blocker in 2013, but had 11 receptions for 128 yards. Friel didn't participate in the Combine.
9/1/13: Friel had 30 receptions for 308 yards and five touchdowns as a junior. He has some blocking potential, but looks like a backup tight end candidate for the NFL. Friel had seven catches for 55 yards and a touchdown in 2011. His redshirt and freshman year were in 2007 and 2008. He went on a missionary trip before returning to the field in 2011.
Personal: History major. Was an Eagle Scout and served in the South Africa Durban Mission for the LDS Church in 2009 and 2010.
Asa Watson, TE, N.C. State
Height: 6-3. Weight: 237. Projected 40 Time: 4.63. Projected Round (2014): FA. 4/5/14: Watson had three catches for 41 yards in 2013. He didn't attend the Combine.
8/3/13: Watson caught 24 passes in 2012 for 282 yards and a touchdown. He barely played his first two seasons, 2009 and 2010, before missing the 2011 season because he had to undergo heart surgery. Watson was given the go-ahead to resume playing football and had a solid junior season. He needs to improve his blocking. Watson looks like a potential H-back in the pros.
Personal: Majoring in communications. Watson is the younger brother of NFL tight end Ben Watson.
Come on Walt. You have the Vikings drafting for need. They did a fairly good job if FA filling needs. I could see the RB in the second because thats value. The only needs they have are at dt and safety. I hope they pick highest rated player.