2012 NFL Combine analysis: TE

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Georgia Sr. TE Orson Charles speaking to the media.

Saturday, February 25th at the 2012 NFL Combine featured Tight Ends and two Offensive Line groups in a number of positional and timed testing for the purpose of NFL Draft evaluation. The following are some of my notes strictly on the tight end workouts.

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  • My top rated TE Orson Charles (6’2″ 251 lbs.) had a pretty good workout. Obviously disappointing he opted not to run the 40-yard dash, but he looked very smooth in movement drills, cut + run ability is top notch, and physically he looked very built. Your prototype “joker” TE at the next level who has some in-line blocking ability despite not doing a whole lot of it at Georgia. Wasn’t exactly what I expected in terms of locating the football during route running + pass catching drills, but nothing too noteworthy. Aside from the that, he caught the ball away from his body with natural hands neatly. A 2nd round value.

 

  • Now, my second rated TE Coby Fleener (6’6″ 247 lbs.) of Stanford did not workout, but measurements checked out, tape is impressive, and he did manage to post a very solid 28 reps on the bench press, tying him with Dwayne Allen for second most, behind only Orson Charles. Stanford is pro day scheduled for March 22nd.

 

  • Missouri TE Michael Egnew (6’5″ 252 lbs.) really lacks the short-area explosion you’d like in a pass catching tight end, but has buildup speed and would be a mismatch on seem throws up the deeper middle of the field. That being said, he isn’t overly agile and will make the brunt of his catches underneath at the next level. Workouts were pretty good. He timed well in the athletic testing, as expected. Still the consensus has always seemed to be questionable explosion, and those questions still remain. For strictly a pass catcher who didn’t block much, that might limit him a bit. A 4th round projection in my books with 3rd round potential.

 

  • The fastest TE at the 2012 NFL Combine was Oklahoma’s James Hanna (6’4″ 252 lbs.); who was the real winner from this group on Saturday. Hanna posted a 4.49 official 40-yard dash to go with 10’2″ broad jump & 36″ vertical jump — impressive figures. Although he didn’t display the most natural hands in gauntlet drills, he ran and moved with great fluidity, displayed nice quickness in and out of cuts, and overall athleticism was very noticeable. Concerns regarding Hanna, however, stem from his workout display not necessarily matching his performance on tape. He’s forced me to do some further evaluating. More of a mid-round projection at this point.

 

  • Louisiana-Lafayette TE Ladarius Green (6’5″ 236 lbs.) moves and looks like a wide receiver. He’s a natural H-back type with the necessary overall athleticism for the position. A longer tight end who possesses a frame to grow still and can line up off the line and create mismatches with his quickness. Made quick cuts pretty nicely, caught away from his body well and showed decent field awareness when locating the ball. Had a quick first-step and looks as though he’ll stretch the deep-middle on seem throws at the next level. Maintained a solid 3rd round grade throughout the process.

 

  • Athleticism wasn’t impressive from Clemson TE Dwayne Allen (6’3″ 255 lbs.), who ran a well-below average 4.8 time in the 40-yard dash, but to me, he salvaged his workout during positional drills with short-area quickness. It was primarily a mixed bag of disappointment and periodical flashes on Saturday from Allen, but was pretty quick in and out of cuts, got a little physical in the in-line blocking drill, and displayed some good field awareness on a few catches. Ran the gauntlet pretty well with some fluidity but there wasn’t much long speed on display. Workout numbers weren’t what you’d like to see from someone of his stature and skill-set. Still, Dwayne Allen draws a 2nd round projection with his upside and natural ability.

 

  • LSU TE DeAngelo Peterson (6’3″ 243 lbs.) wasn’t impressive catching the football as he dropped a lot of passes in the gauntlet drill, but still exhibited his upside as a natural athlete. He’s raw and will need work, but he’s got potential as a legitimate H-back in the pros with his agility and explosion. I like his potential to be a physical blocker when he continues filling his frame. He came to Indy as one of the more rocked up players thus far, physically. A mid-round type with round 4 potential.

 

  • A surprisingly quick athlete was Northwestern TE Drake Dunsmore (6’2″ 241 lbs.). Smooth movement skills with short-area burst that stood out from most of the group on Saturday. Ran a mid-4.6 time in the 40-yard dash, caught the football well, notable first step. He caught my eye with how good an athlete he was. May have pushed his stock into the later mid-rounds – reminds me of a more talented James Casey from Rice a few years ago.

 

  • Although he’s viewed as strictly a blocking TE, UCLA’s Cory Harkey (6’4″ 260 lbs.) impressed me a bit in positional drills, displaying some decent movement skills for someone of his shape and mold, along with pretty solid hands. One of the more unsung winners in the gauntlet drill for the most part, to me. That being said, he tested poorly in the physical evaluations, running the slowest 40-yard time (5.11) and tying Dwayne Allen for the slowest 10-yard split (1.66) + managing a very minuscule 13 reps on the bench press. He did manage a solid 9’1″ broad jump, however. Another mid-round type, but there’s very few above-average blockers in this TE class, so he’ll be a player of note for a few teams looking for that type of player.

 

  • One final player I’ll mention is UMass FB/TE Emil Igwenagu (6’1″ 249 lbs.). Nice athlete with some move-around ability that can contribute as a plus athlete at FB and move out to H-back with some short-area burst. Displayed pretty decent hands, field awareness when catching up the seem in drills was average, but I view him as being able to be a capable underneath receiver who can create a bit. Not as physically built or thick as former Tulsa FB/TE Charles Clay, but has some similarities in playing style. A later round projection who could go in the range of rounds 5 or 6.

 

Follow me on Twitter: @NFLDraftUpdate

-Dion Caputi

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