Draft Prospects: Tight Ends


The Raiders.com Draft Prospects series is back for 2015. You can find information on each prospect invited to the NFL's Annual Scouting Combine by position. We continue with a look at the TIGHT ENDS invited to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. *Photos courtesy of the respective player's university or college.

Rory "Busta" Anderson | 6-5 | 244 | South Carolina



Anderson totaled 61 receptions for 954 yards and 9 TDs. In 2014, he caught 22 passes for 260 yards and 1 TD.

NFL.com's Strengths Analysis: Impressive athlete. Outstanding play speed as tight end. Can get over top of middle linebackers for big, vertical plays. Can generate a level of uncertainty from defender with his route running. Linebackers with middling athleticism have no shot of sticking with him. Has feel for sinking into safe spots of zone. Has juice out of his breaks to generate throwing window for quarterback. Pure athleticism to be yardage collector after the catch. High-point catcher with up-and-over hops to create mismatches in red zone. Can line up anywhere on the field. Has footwork, hand placement and technique as a run blocker and is above average as a second- and third-level stalk-blocker in space.

Blake Bell | 6-6 | 252 | Oklahoma



Transitioned from QB to TE in 2014 and caught 15 passes for 213 yards and four touchdowns. Named Academic All-Big 12 Second Team and won Oklahoma's Bob Kalsu Award.

NFL.com's Strengths Analysis: Looks good on the hoof with a frame suited to add just a little more weight. Former quarterback with a feel for space when running routes against zone. Confident pass-catcher with ability to run through safeties and maximize each catch. Plays with competitive spirit and very coachable. Improved by leaps and bounds as a blocking tight end. Keeps hands inside and plays with wide base and ability to sustain in pass protection. Had reps in which he held his own against Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman.

EJ Bibbs | 6-2 | 258 | Iowa St



In two seasons at Iowa State, Bibbs totaled 84 receptions for 844 yards and 10 TDs. In 2014, he had 45 catches for 382 yards and 8 TDs.

NFL.com's Strengths Analysis: Comes out of his breaks under control and ready to catch the ball. Opens up and is a presentable target for quarterback. Shows good concentration as a pass-catcher with plus hands. Uses body to position effectively. Averaged a touchdown every seven catches. Gives good effort and has good feet in zone blocking.

Nick Boyle | 6-4 | 268 | Delaware



Played in and started all 12 games in 2014 and caught 37 passes for 304 yards and 4 TDs. Prior to 2014, he totaled 64 receptions for 680 yards and 8 TDs.

NFL.com's Strengths Analysis: Big body with long arms and big hands. Has size and athleticism to be an every-down tight end. Flashes ability to run feet and sustain blocks in space and has quickness off snap to make back-side zone blocks. Smooth, natural hands-catcher. Plucks and stashes. Turns and searches for throw immediately out of break. Plus focus in a crowd. Will dive and extend to make the tough catch. After catch, drops shoulder and delivers a blow to defensive backs. Will hurdle low tackle attempts in open space. Good feel for open space and works back to scrambling quarterback. Showed ability to work the seam and make plays downfield in 2013.

Gerald Christian | 6-3 | 244 | Louisville



In two years at Louisville, he caught 58 passes for 785 yards and 8 touchdowns. Voted third-team All-ACC.

NFL.com's Strengths Analysis: Good athlete. Gets into routes quickly. Keeps feet under him and plays with balance and desired play strength as a target. Turns out of breaks ready to make catches. Good arm length with really large hands. Has plus concentration to catch in tight windows and with limbs flailing around him. Adjusted well and made catches on several poorly thrown balls in 2014. Reads coverages. Plays with intelligence. Capable runner after catch and lowers boom on cornerbacks. Decent down blocker and finds his second level targets as an H-back blocker. Used all over the field.

Cameron Clear | 6-5 | 277 | Texas A&M



In two seasons, Clear caught 9 passes for 76 yard and 1 TD. In 2014, he made 5 starts in 10 games of action.

NFL.com's Strengths Analysis: Looks the part. Massive frame with an ability to carry almost 300 pounds, according to area scouts. Flashes adequate athleticism in routes. Has shown adequate ability to sustain run blocks and help win the edge. Able to contribute on special teams.

AJ Derby | 6-4 | 255 | Arkansas



In 2014, Derby caught 22 passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns. Transitioned from quarterback to tight end in 2014.

NFL.com's Strengths Analysis: Big, physical and fast. Athletic in space with ability to create some separation out of breaks. Has speed after catch in open field. Posted impressive 54-yard touchdown catch and run against Alabama secondary that struggled to catch him. Can line up all over the field. Natural pass-catcher. Had only one drop during 2014 season. Showed willingness to catch throws over the middle and take the punishment. Unique perspective after playing quarterback and linebacker before move to tight end. Ability to add roster depth at two positions as emergency quarterback. Comes from football bloodlines. Father and uncle had stops in the NFL and his brother lettered at Iowa.

Jeff Heuerman | 6-5 | 254 | Ohio St



Heuerman totaled 52 catches for 792 yards and 7 TDs. In 2014, he caught 17 passes for 207 yards.

NFL.com's Strengths Analysis: Has athletic traits for the position. Solid straight-line speed after the catch. Can threaten the seams vertically. Has a plus vertical leap and high-point ability as a pass-catcher. Good body control to adjust to off-target throws. Shows his numbers to quarterback. Comes from athletic family. Team captain and leader in weight room.

Jesse James | 6-7 | 261 | Penn St



James totaled 78 receptions for 1,005 yards and 11 TDs. In 2014, he caught 38 passes for 396 yards and 3 TDs.

NFL.com's Strengths Analysis: Long frame with room for more muscle. Flashed some straight-line speed in space. Shows a feel for when he comes open in the seam and will turn quickly to find the throw. Can make the occasional spectacular, one-handed catch. Works to the open space against zone coverage. Not content to stand in space. Continues to maneuver around within his area to uncover and present an open target to the quarterback. Can go up and over smaller defenders in red zone as a split end.

Ben Koyack | 6-5 | 255 | Notre Dame



Koyack totaled 44 receptions for 532 yards and 5 TDs. In 2014, he had 30 catches for 317 yards and 2 TDs.

NFL.com's Strengths Analysis: Possesses desired size and athleticism for the position. Can threaten the seam, though not asked to do so very often. Sinks hips and plays with twitch into and out of breaks. Large, strong hands. Hands-catcher with plus concentration in a crowd. Equally comfortable in–line or from the slot. Excels as run blocker with unique understanding of leverage and hand placement. Works to secure edge. Mirrors and stays engaged when walling off and hustles to get his man turned when responsible for play-side block. Has potential to be left on an island in pass protection. Competes hard.

Tyler Kroft | 6-5 | 246 | Rutgers



Kroft totaled 70 receptions for 901 yards and 5 TDs. In 2014, he caught 24 passes for 269 yards.

NFL.com's Strengths Analysis: Above-average athleticism for the position. Quick release off the line and gets into routes with good play speed. Able to get yards after catch with quickness and some thump as a runner. Played from slot in 2013 and more in-line in 2014. Has speed and athleticism to threaten the deep middle. Tenacious blocker. Handled Michigan State DE Shilique Calhoun as run blocker. Blocks with good base and sustains blocks with strong hands. Not content to stalemate -- wants to win the play as blocker. Able to handle himself in pass protection using adequate footwork and technique. Played under Ron Prince and Brian Angelichio, who are now NFL tight end coaches.

Nick O'Leary | 6-3 | 252 | Florida St



O'Leary totaled 114 receptions for 1,591 yards and 17 TDs. In 2014, he had 48 catches for 618 yards and 6 TDs. Named the 2014 Mackey Award recipient, given to the nation's top tight end.

NFL.com's Strengths Analysis: Used inline, in the backfield and from the slot. Tenacious play demeanor. Has an understanding of space and how to adjust routes. At his best as a zone beater. Coachable and willing team player. Stepped up and bolstered pass protection in fourth quarter of win against Notre Dame. Uses good technique as a run blocker and will win against players his size. Slides feet and keeps rusher squared in pass protection. Possesses strong hands. Rarely has a drop and works for tough yardage after the catch. Throwback tight end.

MyCole Pruitt | 6-2 | 251 | Southern Illinois



Named first-team All-American by AP, AFCA, ADA, The Sports Network and Walter Camp Foundation. First-team All-MVFC selection. CFPA FCS Tight End of the Year. Totaled 2,601 receiving yards and 25 touchdowns in his career.

NFL.com's Strengths Analysis: Hands are a plus. Hands-catcher who adjusts to the ball. Catches while covered and secures in traffic. Plays with above-average football intelligence. Finds openings in zones and exploits them. Highly productive four-year starter. Despite obvious attention from defenses, he still got his. Had 10 catches for 136 yards against Purdue in 2014. Displays the ability to be an in-line blocker with more coaching. Blocks with good base and core strength.

Wes Saxton | 6-3 | 248 | South Alabama



In three seasons, totaled 96 receptions for 1,126 yards and a touchdown. In 2014, he caught 20 passes for 155 yards.

NFL.com's Strengths Analysis: Very quick into his route off the snap. Sticks a foot in the ground and opens up quickly to offer quarterback a clean target with good catch radius. Willing to extend and make tough catches in traffic. Too quick for many linebackers on intermediate routes. Former high school receiver who shows some suddenness out of breaks. Hands-catcher. Traits to be a matchup problem on next level.

Jean Sifrin | 6-5 | 245 | Massachusetts



In one season at Massachusetts, Sifrin caught 41 passes for 637 yards and 6 TDs. He was an All-MAC first team tight end.

NFL.com's Strengths Analysis: Long-legged with outstanding height and an athletic frame. Former basketball player with explosive leaping ability to go up top and get throws other tight ends can't. Catch radius goes on for days. Uses head fakes and jukes at the top of his routes to help free himself on post routes. Natural, quick release into routes from standing position. Has enough speed to threaten deep middle. Showed impressive hips in space with an ability to make defenders miss and gain the extra yards after catch. Still raw and a potentially clean canvas for coaches to paint on.

Randall Telfer | 6-4 | 250 | Southern California



Telfer totaled 65 receptions for 648 yards and 12 TDs. In 2014, he had 21 catches for 197 yards and 2 TDs.

Eric Tomlinson | 6-6 | 263 | UTEP



Tomlinson totaled 59 receptions for 547 yards and 4 TDs. In 2014, he caught 19 passes for 134 yards and 1 TD in 10 starts.

NFL.com's Strengths Analysis: Big-bodied blocker. Has room for more weight on his frame. Takes good initial step to secure leverage as a run blocker. Shows ability to recover and wash defender down and out of play. Has functional upper-body power and can sustain his in-line blocks.

Clive Walford | 6-4 | 251 | Miami



Walford caught 121 passes for 1,753 yards and 14 TDs over 4 seasons. In 2014, he recorded 44 catches for 676 yards and 7 TDs.

NFL.com's Strengths Analysis: Becoming a very reliable blocker. Is tough enough and physical enough to be a play-side blocking tight end on zone runs. Bends and explodes from hips into his targets and sustains with a good base. Will drive smaller linebackers off the line of scrimmage in run game. Has lined up in-line, slot and as an H-back. Has the physical build and enough quickness to threaten the seam. Turns head and locates the ball quickly. Can make contested catches. Has NFL run-after-catch ability. At home in a physical matchup. Has long arms and big hands.

Maxx Williams | 6-4 | 249 | Minnesota



In two seasons at Minnesota, Williams caught 61 passes for 986 yards and 13 TDs. In 2014, he had 36 receptions for 569 yards and 8 TDs.

NFL.com's Strengths Analysis: Primarily used as move tight end. Straight-line wheels to beat linebackers and safeties. Accelerates to top speed quickly on crossers and speed outs. Speed to chew up cushion and open a throwing window over the top. Will threaten seam and dominated defenders on wheel routes. Red-zone winner. Can do damage after the catch and shows playmaking aptitude with tight end screens. Extends and goes all out for the catch. Got a foot inbounds on three circus catches. Eighty-two percent of his catches were for either a first down or touchdown. Not easily redirected out of release. Honest effort to stay engaged when base blocking.

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