2011 NFL Combine: Tight Ends That Have A Lot To Gain And Lose

In last years draft, the 49ers selected Nate Byham as the 13th pick of the 6th round. At the time, it was a bit of a head scratcher, but he fit the Mike Singletary philosophy of smash mouth football. The 49ers already possessed two very good tight ends. One of them is perhaps the most well-rounded tight end in the league in Vernon Davis, and the other is one of the better pass catching tight ends in the league in Delanie Walker. Since the 49ers now have three very different types of tight ends on their roster, and all three seem to have secure spots on the team, it's not probable that tight end will be an area that the 49ers will be looking at in this years draft.

On the other hand, there are some very decent options at the position in this years draft. Some of these guys may be playing against the 49ers in the upcoming season.

The class of tight ends from last year was fairly deep. There were 20 tight ends selected in the 2010 draft, only 5 of which were selected in the first three rounds, and only one (Jermaine Gresham) in the first round.

Similar to last years draft, there may only be a single tight end selected in the first round. And it's really quite possible that none will be selected in the first round this year.

The combine can elevate some of this years crop of tight ends in to the upper half of this years draft. Depending on the performances, some of the others could potentially fall as well. Follow after the jump to see which players may rise and fall.

TIGHT ENDS

Most to gain:

D.J. Williams (Arkansas), 6'2", 240 LBS: Williams is already rated pretty high, so some may argue that he has a lot to lose. However, Kyle Rudolph is the consensus number one rated tight end. If Williams can surpass Rudolph with a solid performance at the combine, then he will have earned himself quite a bit more money considering the separation of when the first and second tight ends will be picked. Williams could be this years best tight end.

Mike McNeill (Nebraska), 6'4", 240 LBS: Receiving tight ends have become quite the commodity in the NFL.McNeill will most likely fall in to that category. While he isn't the best blocking tight end, should he do well enough in those drills, he could elevate his stock and the cash he will rake in once he signs with whatever NFL team drafts him.

Virgil Green III (Nevada), 6'3", 250 LBS: Virgil Green has has the most productive off-season out of any of the tight ends. He played extremely well in the East - West Shrine Game. The combine will be the next and last stop for Green to showcase his skills. Look for Green to be this years sleeper to creep up in to the upper half of the draft. There's no question that Green has undeniable talent.

 

Most to lose:

Kyle Rudolph (Notre Dame), 6'6", 260 LBS: Coming off an injury, Rudolph will have to demonstrate to scouts that it did not effect him in any way. Before the injury, Rudolph was considered to be the top tight end in the nation. Rudolph could perhaps be the most well-rounded tight end coming out. But if he shows any signs that the injury had an impact on his play, it could be enough to drop him a few spots behind other guys, which in turn would potentially have him slide a round or two.

Luke Stocker (Tennessee), 6'5", 250 LBS: Stocker may have had more receptions this year, but he got in the endzone a bit less this past season. Stocker was a front runner to be one of the better tight ends in the preseason rankings, but was only able to put up decent numbers against lesser competition this year. Should Stocker not do as well as the other guys at his position, he could fall in to the back half of this years draft.

Lance Kendricks (Wisconsin), 6'3", 240 LBS: Before the college football season started, Kendricks, by many, was considered to be one of the best, if not the best tight end in college football. He still had a very good year, but may have disappointed some has the number of touchdowns went down for him. Even though he continued to be the guy who helped bail out teammate quarterback Scott Tolzien most of the year, expectations were not met by those who held Kendricks in very high regards. Still, he will make a nice addition as a number two tight end on some teams roster. This assuming he does well in the combine. If he doesn't, much like Stocker, Kendricks could find himself potentially being selected on day three of the draft.

 

Here is the list of all 16 tight ends that were invited to this years combine:

CAMERON, JORDAN

 

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

3

TE1

TE

PIANALTO, ZACK

 

NORTH CAROLINA

3

TE10

TE

REISNER, ALLEN

 

IOWA

3

TE11

TE

RUDOLPH, KYLE

 

NOTRE DAME

3

TE12

TE

SMITH, JOSEPH

LEE

MARSHALL

3

TE13

TE

STOCKER, LUCAS

LUKE

TENNESSEE

3

TE14

TE

THOMAS, JULIUS

 

PORTLAND ST

3

TE15

TE

WILLIAMS, DAVID

D J

ARKANSAS

3

TE16

TE

CLAY, CHARLES

 

TULSA

3

TE2

HB

GANTT, CHARLES

 

MICHIGAN ST

3

TE3

TE

GRAHAM, CAMERON

 

LOUISVILLE

3

TE4

TE

GREEN, VIRGIL

 

NEVADA

3

TE5

TE

HARDY, DANIEL

 

IDAHO

3

TE6

TE

HOUSLER, ROBERT

ROB

FLORIDA ATLANTIC

3

TE7

TE

KENDRICKS, LANCE

 

WISCONSIN

3

TE8

TE

OORDT, SCHUYLAR

 

NORTHERN IOWA

3

TE9

TE

 

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