This tight end class has the potential to be one of the best in a long time, so where does each fall?
One of the most under-used to tight ends in college football, OJ Howard would’ve been dominant with more opportunities to catch the ball. But Howard was thrust into more of blocking role at Alabama which he excelled at and his receiving numbers suffered from poor quarterback play.
Howard is one of the most balanced tight ends in the NFL Draft and would excel in most NFL schemes, given his ability to block, split out wide , and play in-line. A sure-fire first round pick and one of the safest picks in the draft.
A complete athletic freak, Njoku posted ridiculous numbers at the NFL combine with a 11’01” broad and a 37.5″ vertical (which he later improved that to 40″ at his pro day). Njoku is also an effective vertical threat and can be an absolute bully after the catch. Where Njoku falls off a bit is in his blocking, where he just seemed to do okay but never really dominated anyone.
If put in a scheme that will utilize him as a receiver heavily he will excel and be a dangerous threat in the red-zone with his jumping ability and athleticism. Njoku is a little riskier given he is raw, but if he develops he should be a very good NFL tight end and I expect his name to be called in the first round.
An undersized tight end clocking in at 6’3″ 234 lbs, Engram is basically a wide receiver in a tight end’s body. He mixes 4.4 speed with good route running and an uncanny ability to pull in contested catches on the field. Teams will have to find out what they want to do with Engram, whether to make him a wide receiver or a “move” tight end, but he should succeed in either role.
Engram did show good blocking at the Senior Bowl and flashed some ability his final season at Ole Miss. I think Engram is a borderline first round prospect, but for sure will hear his name called in the 2nd round if not the 1st.
A tight end in the mold of Jordan Reed at a shade under 6’3″ 239 lbs, Gerald Everett should make a similar impact as a “move” tight end at the next level. Everett is the type of tight end who is too athletic to be covered by linebackers but too big to be covered by cornerbacks or safeties, a trait that makes him dangerous down the middle of the field.
While Everett is a willing blocker, he’s not great at it and he doesn’t have the size to be an in-line tight end anyways. This means that Everett will need to be in the right scheme to put up good numbers, one that will utilize his athleticism and move him around. Everett should hear his name called sometime on Day 2 of the NFL Draft.
A 6’6″ 278 lb tight end from small Division 2 Ashland University, Shaheen has watched his stock rise since his discovery by the draft community. He’s an old-school in-line tight end who would be best put to use in a scheme that utilizes his size in the red-zone and as a blocker.
The obvious issue with Shaheen is his utter domination at the Division 2 level, which clouds some of his weaknesses and makes him seem like a lot better prospect than he actually is. Shaheen