After breaking down those areas we consider "need" areas, I would like to go into more of a breakdown coming into the draft in the positions we are "set." Mike Shanahan has never been known to leave any area alone if he feels a good player or a need is there. The last part of the Extra Credit Series will look at areas on our roster we could improve and the guys we can possibly bring in to help that. Onto the piece.
At the Tight End position we are fortunate to have some players that are impact type. I recently wrote a diary about how we should build our team around one of these guys, Tony Scheffler. The other player we have here that is outstanding is Daniel Graham. We also have Chad Mustard and Nate Jackson on the roster. Anyone else you see is probably going to be camp fodder so they will not be addressed in this entry. SO how does it look?
~Scheffler is young and developing his blocking behind Graham.
~Scheffler is taking extra time to develop his passing game with Cutler.
~Graham is one of the most solid blocking Tight Ends in the league.
~Mustard is a depth player at the blocking Tight End set.
~Jackson is a converted receiver, so his threat is the passing game.
It doesn't look too bad to be honest but there is always room for improvement. I can't say enough about Scheffler. He not only possesses the motivation we want in a franchise Tight End, but continues to improve all aspects of his game. He will just get better and better. I will be the first to admit, I was not high on him when we got him in the draft but he has impressed me since. Graham is a decent passing threat, but he is an excellent blocker. Runs to the "weak side" of a double Tight End set would not be horrible if Graham is the 2nd player on the roster. He is getting older and some of his speed and agility is gone but not in the sense that he is unable to produce in a zone blocking scheme. Mustard and Jackson are semi limited to their specialty areas listed above. While Jackson could step in and block a linebacker or blitzing defensive back if needed, Mustard would have a little more difficulty catching the ball on a longer Tight End route. The draft in later rounds could provide a valuable back up for the top two and start us on the road to the "Magic 3" System that Hoosier Teacher and I so love. That being said let's move on to draft prospects
Fred is the top tight end projected in the draft so I have few hopes we get him, however stranger things have been known to happen. He is fairly fast and has decent hands. The Tight End at USC is used for short gain plays and diversion blocking so he could work well for any team he plays for. Look for him to go in round two or late round one.
At 6'7" he pretty much looks over most people on the football field. A monstrous tight end with decent size, Brad Cottam could be the best blocker at his position in this class. He doesn't have elite hands but he can develop well and as a depth player would build nicely into a #2 in Denver.
For a guy who is known for his blocking he is extremely fast. Craig would work well in Houston or Denver with his speed. He would command a hybrid linebacker/safety which is very rare in the NFL. I think John Lynch in his hay day would be the only match that comes to mind. Even with his impressive combine and game film he will still only command a fourth round pick at his best.
Homegrown boy, he has decent size and speed. His ball catching ability could come up a bit, but that could just be a time and effort thing for his future team. He wouldn't require a high pick and could very well land on a team looking to add great depth.
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