Fred Davis – USC – Davis was the unanimous selection for the John Mackey Award in 2007 and backed it up with a great performance in the Rose Bowl. Davis finished the year with 62 catches (a USC record for tight ends) for 881 yards and 8 scores. He’s a safe target for the short catches, but can also stretch the field with his above-average speed. Davis is a lock to be a 1st round selection, possibly in the top-15 and will contribute in his rookie season.
Martin Rucker – Missouri – A virtual unknown to the casual college football fan, Rucker is a great prospect at the tight end position. He’s got great size (6’6″, 255 lbs.), an above-average blocker and has even carried the ball, with success, in short-yardage situations for the Tigers in 2007. He had 3+ catches in every ball this year, totaling 84 grabs for 834 yards and 8 scores. Rucker is projecting as a solid 2nd round selection at this point.
Jacob Tamme – Kentucky – Possibly the best blocking tight end in the draft this year, Tamme can also use his body and make the inside catch. His senior year featured 50+ catches, 600+ yards and key touchdown catches against rivals LSU, Florida and Tennessee. Tamme will be off the board in the 2nd or 3rd round.
John Carlson – Notre Dame – The numbers don’t tell the whole story here. After 600+ yards his junior year, Carlson suffered as the Irish offense sputtered most of the season. He has ideal size (6’6″, 255 lbs.) and ended the year with 140 yards and 2 TDs in the final three weeks.
Dustin Keller – Purdue – No tight end helped his draft status more in 2007 than Dustin Keller. After 56 catches his junior year, Keller lit up the Big-10 with 68 catches, 881 yards and 7 TDs. His best performance was his last collegiate game, the Motor City Bowl, that saw Keller collect 7 balls for 150 yards and a score. Keller had 31 catches over the final 5 weeks and will look to improve his 4th-round grade at the combine.
Craig Stevens – California – A pre-season candidate for the Mackey award, Stevens had a sub-par senior campaign statistically. He was a key blocker and drew coverage, opening passing lanes for Nate Longshore and Kevin Riley. Stevens can improve his 5th-round projection at the combine before April’s NFL draft.
Tags:2008 NFL Draft Preview:Tight Ends