Senior TE class void of premier talent
When the 49ers selected Vernon Davis with the sixth overall pick in April's draft, he joined Kellen Winslow Jr. as the highest-selected tight ends since Riley Odoms (fifth by Denver in 1972). The 2006 draft also saw eight tight ends come off the board on the first day, the largest such total in more than two decades. Davis was among three underclassmen selected on Day 1, leaving next year's senior class void of premier talent.
|INSIDE THE NFL DRAFT|
With the college football season under way, NFL scouts are hard at work evaluating prospects for the 2007 draft. Our Scouts Inc. draft specialists are no different. DraftTracker 2007 already is loaded up with in-depth scouting reports on nearly 250 college seniors who are on the NFL's radar, and our guys are filing updates each week as the prospects perform on the field.
• NFL DraftTracker 2007
As for the seniors, Clark Harris (Rutgers) and Matt Spaeth (Minnesota) rank among the leading candidates. Spaeth has better size, but Harris is a more complete player at this point. Unfortunately, neither possesses the speed to consistently stretch the field as a vertical weapon in the NFL.
Scott Chandler (Iowa) is a former wide receiver who continues to come into his own as a tight end with more time in the weight room and more game-experience. He lacks elite speed and has room to improve as a blocker, but Chandler should peak as a senior after accounting for 876 yards and four touchdowns on 71 receptions the past two seasons.
Martrez Milner (Georgia) has flashed more upside than Spaeth, Harris and Chandler, but he has just one season to prove his worth after spending most of his collegiate career behind Leonard Pope, who was selected by the Cardinals in the third round of April's draft.
Joe Newton (Oregon State) and Matt Herian (Nebraska) are talented tight ends who must rebound from injury in order to regain momentum heading toward the 2007 draft. At one point Herian was considered a potential first-rounder, but he hasn't played since suffering a gruesome leg injury in 2004.
Jonny Harline (BYU) is an intriguing late-first-day prospect because of his wingspan, athleticism and sure hands. Harline is a better NFL prospect than teammate Daniel Coats, but Coats is a similar H-back type with enough pass-catching skills to warrant late-round consideration.
Finally, two of the lesser known prospects to monitor are Ben Patrick (Delaware) and Samuel Smith (Florida International). Patrick, a versatile tight end in a similar mold to Vikings TE/FB Jim Kleinsasser, will play his final season for the Blue Hens after notching 79 receptions in three seasons as a Duke Blue Devil. Smith, on the other hand, has the athleticism and hands to emerge as a contributing H-back in the NFL if he can stay healthy and out of the dog-house.
|Top 15 Senior TE Prospects|
|1.||Clark Harris, Rutgers||6-5 1/4||254|
|2.||Matt Spaeth, Minnesota||6-6 7/8||257|
|3.||Martrez Milner, Georgia||6-3 3/4||252|
|4.||Scott Chandler, Iowa||6-6 3/4||258|
|5.||Jonny Harline, BYU||6-3 1/4||241|
|6.||Joe Newton, Oregon State||6-6 1/2||251|
|7.||Matt Herian, Nebraska||6-4||240|
|8.||Ben Patrick, Delaware||6-4||270|
|9.||Tyler Ecker, Michigan||6-6||250|
|10.||Daniel Coats, BYU||6-2 5/8||255|
|11.||Dante Rosario, Oregon||6-2 5/8||242|
|12.||Dan Murray, Connecticut||6-4 3/4||249|
|13.||Brad Wood, Arizona||6-2 1/4||252|
|14.||Cole Bennett, Auburn||6-5||260|
|15.||Samuel Smith, Florida Int'l||6-2||242|
|Top 5 Potential Early Entries|
|1.||Greg Olsen, Miami-Fla.||6-4 7/8||253|
|2.||Zach Miller, Arizona State||6-5||256|
|3.||Martin Rucker, Missouri||6-4 5/8||246|
|4.||Kory Sperry, Colorado State||6-5 5/8||250|
|5.||Jason Goode, Maryland||6-3 1/8||241|
|Day 1 Tight Ends in 2006 NFL Draft|
|Rnk||Prospect, School||Team||Round (Overall)|
|1.||Vernon Davis, Maryland||49ers||First (6)|
|2.||Marcedes Lewis, UCLA||Jaguars||First (28)|
|3.||Joe Klopfenstein, Colorado||Rams||Second (46)|
|4.||Anthony Fasano, Notre Dame||Cowboys||Second (53)|
|5.||Tony Scheffler, Western Michigan||Broncos||Second (61)|
|6.||Leonard Pope, Georgia||Cardinals||Third (72)|
|7.||David Thomas, Texas||Patriots||Third (86)|
|8.||Dominique Byrd, USC||Rams||Third (93)|
The following is a graphic representation of the number of tight ends selected in each round of the previous three NFL drafts. Most NFL teams use this type of chart to study position trends when setting up their respective draft boards each year.