Not 1, not 2, but 3 sub .500 teams in the top 10. I know everyone was expecting the Cards, Panthers, and Bengals to be really good this year... but they haven't been. The Cards lost to a really good Pats team, beat a mediocre Bucs team, and got embarrassed by an embarrassing Bills team (that you have ranked in the 20s). The Panthers have a bit more of an excuse as their losses have been to mostly good teams (the Broncos and Vikings) but I am still not buying a #5 ranking for a 1-2 team who's only win came against a horrible 49ers team. Lastly you said it all about how the Bengals have performed so far this year. These are not good teams this year, shouldn't their ranking reflect that?
While your brief analysis of the Panther's Oline has a lot of truth to it, I'm not sure it's yet fair to say that their is a problem in the 2ndary. The rooks are playing pretty well and definitely aren't the problem. Another is that they can't get a pass rush because the QBs are having success throwing the ball for short, quick, Brady esque passes, but when throwing deeper, the interior rush at least is getting there, and the corners have been impressing. While they are no Norman at this point, I can say that they are one of the few bright spots so far. The main problem is that the Oline can't block, and special teams can't tackle.
Maxx Williams**, TE, Minnesota
Height: 6-4. Weight: 249. 40 Time: 4.77. Projected Round (2015): 1-2. 4/27/15: Not many redshirt sophomores declare for the NFL draft, but Williams made a wise decision to do so as he is the favorite to be the first tight end selected. Williams has good size, natural receiving skills, athleticism and speed. He also has some blocking potential.
Williams recorded 36 passes for 569 yards with eight touchdowns during the regular season. He was capable of a lot more production for the Gophers, as he is a real mismatch weapon, but they used a run-based offense.
At the Combine, Williams ran much slower than expected and didn't look great in the field drills. Fortunately for him, he doesn't have any competition as the top tight end prospect. Some teams said he had mixed reviews in his interviews, but has done better in recent weeks when speaking to teams. Williams is more likely to be selected in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
2/14/15: Not many redshirt sophomores declare for the NFL draft, but Williams made a wise decision to do so as he is the favorite to be the first tight end selected. Williams has good size, natural receiving skills, athleticism and spee. Williams also has some blocking potential. He recorded 36 passes for 569 yards with eight touchdowns during the regular season. He was capable of a lot more production for the Gophers, as he is a real mismatch weapon, but they had a run-based offense.
Williams only started seven games in 2013, but he still led the team in receiving with 417 yards on 25 receptions and five touchdowns.
Personal: Son of Brian and Rochele Williams. His father played for the New York Giants, and his grandfather Robert played quarterback at Notre Dame and was drafted by the Chicago Bears. Rochele played volleyball at the University of Minnesota.
Clive Walford, TE, Miami
Height: 6-4. Weight: 251. 40 Time: 4.79. Projected Round (2015): 2-3. 4/27/15: Like Williams, Walford ran slower than expected in the 40 at the Combine. However, Walford looked pretty good in the field drills.
Walford totaled 44 receptions for 676 yards and seven touchdowns in 2014 despite inconsistent quarterback play. Sources say that Walford has soft, natural hands with strength as a blocker, but NFL teams feel that the senior is short on speed and athleticism to be a real receiving threat in the NFL. Walford had a huge week at the Senior Bowl and really helped himself by showing excellent receiving ability.
8/27/14: Walford is coming from a school known for its star tight ends and has been a solid contributor for Miami the past two seasons. In 2013, he caught 34 passes for 454 yards with two touchdowns. The previous season, Walford made 25 receptions for 451 yards and four scores. He caught 18 passes for 172 yards and a score in 2011.
Walford has upside to develop and could provide his biggest production in 2014. The senior still needs to improve his blocking.
Nick O'Leary, TE, Florida State
Height: 6-3. Weight: 252. 40 Time: 4.94. Projected Round (2015): 3-4. 4/27/15: The senior totaled 48 receptions for 618 yards and six touchdowns in 2014. He was huge for the Seminoles in their narrow win over Clemson (6-77). Sources told WalterFootball.com that with the weak tight end class, they expect a team to reach on O'Leary sooner than where he should be drafted. O'Leary hurt his stock by running slower than expected at the Combine with a surprisingly poor 40.
8/27/14: Throughout 2013, O'Leary was a good weapon for the Seminoles and quarterback Jameis Winston. O'Leary had 33 receptions for 557 yards and seven touchdowns for the year. He was superb in the first game of the season with three catches for 47 yards with three touchdowns against Pittsburgh. In the game that propelled the Seminoles to the National Championship, O'Leary dominated Clemson with five receptions for 161 yards.
O'Leary made clutch catches for Winston all year. O'Leary is undersized, but he could be a move tight end and play some h-back in the NFL. O'Leary is a mismatch receiver, but is somewhat under-utilized because Florida State spreads the ball around so much. For the NFL, he'll need to add weight and improve his blocking. His game is similar to former Colt Dallas Clark. With Florida State having an inexperienced receiving corps, O'Leary could see a lot of targets in 2014.
O'Leary would flash on occasion for the Seminoles in 2012. He totaled 21 receptions for 252 yards and three touchdowns for the season, but he played better than the numbers indicate. O'Leary worked his way onto the field as a true freshman in 2011. He led all Seminole tight ends with 12 receptions for 164 yards.
Personal: Grandson of legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus.
Blake Bell, TE, Oklahoma
Height: 6-6. Weight: 252. 40 Time: 4.80. Projected Round (2015): 3-5. 4/27/15: After playing quarterback in his early years, Bell moved to tight end as a senior. He recorded 16 receptions for 214 yards and four touchdowns in 2014.
Sources with teams were impressed with Bell at the East-West Shrine and feel that he has really helped himself. Bell was able to get open with route-running and quickness. At his measurements, Bell has excellent size and length to be a receiving tight end in the next level. He showed surprising receiving ability as he used his size and leaping ability to go for catches in the middle of the field. His hands were also better than expected for a player who spent the majority of his collegiate career as a running quarterback.
Entering the NFL, Bell will have to work on his blocking, but he is impressive as a receiver. After his solid week in Mobile, Bell has pushed himself into mid-round consideration and could crack the second day of the 2015 NFL Draft given the overall weakness at tight end.
Jeff Heuerman, TE, Ohio State
Height: 6-5. Weight: 253. Projected 40 Time: 4.83. Projected Round (2015): 3-5. 4/27/15: Heuerman totaled 17 receptions for 207 yards and two touchdowns in 2014. Ohio State didn't use him up to his abilities. Heuerman had a solid year as a blocker and didn't go to the Senior Bowl due to injuries. He also was unable to work out at the Combine.
8/27/14: Heuerman hasn't been used much as a receiver as he probably should have been and is primarily a blocking tight end for the Buckeyes. The junior had 26 receptions or 466 yards with four touchdowns in 2013. He had only eight catches for 94 yards and a score in 2012. Heuerman should get more opportunities as a senior, but the Buckeyes will probably lean on their ground game as they break in a new quarterback.
Personal: Son of Melissa and Paul Heuerman. Younger brother Mike is a freshman tight end at Notre Dame.
Wes Saxton, TE, South Alabama
Height: 6-4. Weight: 235. 40 Time: 4.56. Projected Round (2015): 3-5. 4/27/15: Saxton has the speed and athleticism to be a receiving threat. He notched just 20 receptions for 155 yards as a senior, but in his junior year, he had 50 catches for 635 yards and a score. Injuries were said to hold Saxton back as a senior. He showed off some real speed at the Combine with the fastest time of any tight end.
Tyler Kroft*, TE, Rutgers
Height: 6-6. Weight: 246. Projected 40 Time: 4.75. Projected Round (2015): 4-6. 4/27/15: Kroft totaled 24 receptions for 269 yards in 2014. He has some receiving talent, but he probably should have returned for his senior year. Kroft did not work out at the Combine.
8/27/14: Kroft was a backup as a freshman, but he broke out in 2013 by hauling in 43 receptions for 573 yards and four touchdowns. Kroft has good height and length to him with some quickness. If he fills out his frame, he'll likely improve as a blocker.
Ben Koyack, TE, Notre Dame
Height: 6-5. Weight: 255. Projected 40 Time: 4.75. Projected Round (2015): 4-6. 4/27/15: Koyack recorded 30 receptions for 317 yards and two touchdowns in 2014. He also did well as a blocker for Notre Dame. Koyack has the skill set to produce more, but the Fighting Irish had issues at quarterback. He had a solid week at the Senior Bowl, but wasn't overly impressive. Koyack didn't do the field work at the Combine.
8/27/14: Koyack was the secondary tight end to Tyler Eifert in 2012 and Troy Niklas in 2013. Koyack only caught three receptions for 39 yards in 2012, but he was impressive as a blocker. That trend continued in 2013 when Koyack hauled in 10 passes for 171 yards and three scores. He should see more targets as a senior.
Personal: Majoring in marketing. Son of Karen and David Koyack.
Rory Anderson, TE, South Carolina
Height: 6-5. Weight: 244. Projected 40 Time: 4.75. Projected Round (2015): 4-6. 4/27/15: Anderson had 22 receptions for 260 yards and a touchdown during 2014. He was capable of producing a lot more, but the Gamecocks didn't use him enough. Anderson is a sleeper prospect who could end up being a steal. WalterFootball.com knows teams that are targeting him for a pick on Day 3. At the Combine, Anderson weighed in 10-15 pounds heavier than expected and that was good for him. However, he didn't run the 40.
8/27/14: Anderson is a nice, but seldom used, receiving weapon for South Carolina. In 2013, he notched 17 receptions for 235 yards. Anderson had 14 catches for 271 yards and five touchdowns in 2012. He caught eight passes for 188 yards and three touchdowns in 2010.
Anderson has some quickness and receiving ability. He has the ability to contribute as a blocker in the ground game, but he needs more size for the NFL.
Nick Boyle, TE, Delaware
Height: 6-5. Weight: 273. 40 Time: 5.04. Projected Round (2015): 4-6. 4/27/15: Boyle earned an invitation to the Senior Bowl and put together a decent week. He has good size, but is short on speed and athleticism. Boyle needs more refinement for the NFL. The senior caught 37 passes in 2014 for 304 yards with four scores. As a junior, he had 42 receptions for 474 yards with seen touchdowns. If Boyle doesn't have the skill set to be a receiver in the NFL, he could be a blocking tight end.
E.J. Bibbs, TE, Iowa State
Height: 6-2. Weight: 258. Projected 40 Time: 4.74. Projected Round (2015): 4-6. 4/27/15: Bibbs recorded 45 receptions for 382 yards and eight scores in 2014. He could be an H-back-type tight end in the NFL. Bibbs didn't run at the Combine.
8/27/14: Bibbs put together a nice 2013 season with 39 receptions for 462 yards and two touchdowns. It was his first year at Iowa State after playing in junior college. Bibbs was a Second-Team All-Big XII selection for his performance. He has some athleticism and receiving ability.
Personal: Son of Emmanuel and Debbie Bibbs. Liberal studies major.
Jesse James*, TE, Penn State
Height: 6-7. Weight: 254. 40 Time: 4.83. Projected Round (2015): 5-7. 4/27/15: James surprisingly declared for the 2015 NFL Draft, but should have returned for his senior year. He had 38 receptions for 396 yards and three touchdowns as a junior. As a sophomore (25-333-3) and freshman (15-276-5), James put together decent production. He could fit as a Y (blocking) tight end in the NFL. At the Combine, James ran slow and didn't stand out.
Gerald Christian, TE, Louisville
Height: 6-3. Weight: 244. 40 Time: 4.87. Projected Round (2015): 6-FA. 4/27/15: Christian made 32 catches for 384 yards and five touchdowns in 2014. He had a strong start to the season against Miami (6-59). In 2013, Christian notched 28 receptions for 246 yards and four touchdowns. He started out his career at Florida before transferring because of a lack of playing time. Christian had a decent week at the East-West Shrine. He has some quickness with athleticism, but ran slower than expected at the Combine.
Devin Mahina, TE, BYU
Height: 6-3. Weight: 250. Projected 40 Time: 4.82. Projected Round (2015): 7-FA. 4/27/15: Mahina had a decent week at the Senior Bowl and looks more like a blocking tight end for the NFL. The senior recorded 20 receptions for 244 yards with five touchdowns in 2014. Mahina didn't produce much in his other seasons and missed a year over a neck injury that required surgery. He didn't participate in the Combine.
Randall Telfer, TE, USC
Height: 6-4. Weight: 260. Projected 40 Time: 4.73. Projected Round (2015): 7-FA. 4/27/15: Telfer caught 21 balls for 197 yards and two touchdowns in 2014. He was used mainly as a blocker. Telfer didn't run at the Combine.
8/27/14: Telfer has been the Trojans' blocking tight end the past two seasons. With Xavier Grimble in the NFL, the senior should get a bigger opportunity to contribute as a receiver in 2014.
In 2013, Telfer caught six passes for 78 yards with a score. He had 12 receptions for 100 yards and four touchdowns the year before. His biggest production came as a freshman with 26 catches for 273 yards and five touchdowns. Telfer has the potential to produce more.
C.J. Uzomah, TE, Auburn
Height: 6-5. Weight: 263. Projected 40 Time: 4.80. Projected Round (2015): 7-FA. 4/27/15: Uzomah recorded 11 receptions for 145 yards and three touchdowns during the 2014 season. He was capable of producing more, but Auburn struggled to pass the ball. Uzomah didn't participate in the Combine.
8/27/14: Uzomah has been primarily a blocking tight end for Auburn, which is no surprise considering the program runs a ground-focused offense. He had 11 receptions for 154 yards and three touchdowns in 2013. The season before, Uzomah totalled seven catches for 136 yards and a score.
Personal: Son of Xavier and Stephanie Uzomah. Marketing major.
Pharaoh Brown, TE, Oregon
Height: 6-6. Weight: 250. Projected 40 Time: 4.69. Projected Round (2015): 7-FA. 4/27/15: Brown recorded 25 receptions for 420 yards with six touchdowns in 2014 before a season-ending knee injury. He was playing really well for Oregon and helped make up for some injuries to the Ducks' receivers. Brown was on pace to have one of the best seasons for a tight end in Oregon history. He showed quickness, athleticism and separation skills. Brown still needs to improve as a blocker. He didn't participate in the Combine.
8/27/14: Brown has some quickness and athletic ability, but just hasn't been the featured tight end at Oregon. He recorded 10 receptions for 123 yards and two scores in 2013 after Colt Lyerla left the team. However, freshman Johnny Mundt took over as the Ducks receiving tight end. Brown needs to produce more in the passing game to make sure he's drafted.
Brown was suspended for the Alamo Bowl for appearing in a video of a snow ball fight ... seriously. Reportedly, the snow ball fight turned ugly as Brown dumped a container of snow on another student while cars and students were targeted with snow balls from over 100 students. Oregon coach Mark Helfrich deemed his players actions as "unacceptable and dangerous."
Personal: Son of Michael Brown and Jeannetta Smith.
Clay Burton, TE, Florida
Height: 6-4. Weight: 258. Projected 40 Time: 4.85. Projected Round (2015): FA. 4/27/15: Burton totaled 18 receptions for 156 yards and a touchdown in 2014. He is a blocking tight end. Burton didn't participate in the Combine.
8/27/14: Burton is a good run-blocker for Florida's rushing offense, but doesn't contribute as a receiver. He had one catch for 12 yards in 2013 and two for 12 yards the season before. Burton will be used for his blocking ability again in 2013, but the senior probably won't be thrown the ball very much.