The 2014 NFL Draft has come and gone. College football teams are getting ready to kickoff their seasons earlier than any season since 2003. NFL teams have been scouting this year’s group of draft prospects for quite some time now, and it’s time for you to get caught up.
Tight ends supplied last year’s draft with three elite prospects, as well as several other potential gems. With the 2015 NFL Draft potentially offering a deep class at the position, it’s the perfect spot to get started with an early eye to next draft season.
Take a look below to see this year’s early top crop of tight ends that could lead the way going into next year’s draft:
1. Nick O’Leary – Florida State
O’Leary heads our early tight end rankings and was a huge reason the Seminoles were able to tear apart the ACC last season. He’s a solid receiving tight end with good hands and even better speed. In his senior year, scouts will be interested in seeing him improve his blocking, but he’ll surely continue to make quarterback Jameis Winston look good in 2014.
O’Leary doesn’t have amazing size but has the natural fluidity and fundamentals of a smooth pass-catching tight end at the next level. Some don’t love him as the 2015 NFL Draft’s top tight end prospect, but he’ll at least compete for that spot.
2. Devin Funchess – Michigan
At 6’5”, 230 lbs, Funchess looks more like a tall wideout than a tight end. He also plays more like a wideout than a tight end, which makes him a matchup nightmare in the Big Ten. He’ll continue to add mass, which will help him in his blocking game. That said, he needs to improve his blocking quite a bit to make him an viable everyday starter in the NFL.
3. Rory Anderson – South Carolina
Anderson is a tight end with good blocking skills that scouts would like to see more of in the passing game this year. When he gets the opportunities as a receiver, he’s looked great, as he has under-utilized quickness.
4. Tyler Kroft – Rutgers
Kroft gets a great opportunity to showcase his talents against higher level defenses this year, as Rutgers moves to the Big Ten. Kroft is massive at 6-6 with a long wingspan, so NFL quarterbacks will love throwing the ball to him and letting him go up and get it. Heading into his junior year at around 240 lbs, he continues to pack on weight that will help his blocking game.
5. Clive Walford – Miami
Like many of the top NFL tight end prospects these days, Walford is essentially a taller receiver with mediocre blocking skills. Miami has a history of producing pro-bowl tight ends, but Walford will need to be featured more heavily in Miami’s offense, and continue to improve all aspects of his game to raise his draft ranking. He seems capable of doing so, as he’s improved each season thus far.
Honorable Mention: Pharoah Brown – Oregon
Brown is every bit as athletic as you’d expect an Oregon player to be. He was overshadowed by the ever-talented, and ever-scrutinized Colt Lyerla, but Brown made the most of whatever time on the field he could get. He’ll get a much heavier workload this season, and should jump up NFL teams’ draft boards.
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