Scouting: Mid-round TE Prospects
With the Ravens having literally, no front runners for playing time at the TE position, it will be a position I would not be shocked to see addressed in the upcoming draft. Dennis Pitta’s Status is up in the air, and health will be a concern for the remainder of his career after two broken hips. Owen Daniels follows Gary Kubiak to each destination and now plays for the Denver Broncos. That leaves the Ravens with Crockett Gillmore who by default is atop the depth chart, but not by any means the starting tight end come week 1. (There is also Phillip Supernaw. The ten man practice squad also boasts two TEs, Allen Riesner and Konrad Rouland).
Here is look at some of the tight ends the can be had in the middle rounds, where the Ravens have six picks at their disposal between rounds four and five. (Projected rounds courtesy of CBSSports.com).
Discuss your thoughts on these potential Ravens draft targets on our message board.
Jesse James – Penn State
6’7”, 261 lbs. Third to fourth round. For more on “The Outlaw”, check out this extended scouting report.
Ben Koyack – Notre Dame
6’5”, 255 lbs. Third to fourth round. Koyack sports some large hands at 10 ¾”. He isn’t much of a big play threat with just two catches of over 25 yards in his career. But he is able to get open with nice route running and can make catches away from his body. He is able to line up as a slot receiver or the traditional TE spot off tackle. Able to pass protect and run block fairly well. Scouts tend to think he needs a year in an NFL weight room to bulk up to a desired TE mass for better strength in blocking at the pro level. At this point he looks more like a big receiver than a tight end. If the Ravens are looking for a complement to Dennis Pitta or Crockett Gillmore, like Owen Daniels is, Koyack may not be the guy. But if they are looking for someone that can play the position and be a valuable asset to Joe Flacco, Koyack could be a nice choice.
MyCole Pruitt – Southern Illinois
6’2”, 251 lbs. Fourth round. For what it’s worth, Pruitt set all kinds of Missouri Valley Conference receiving records. He was a combine standout with a 4.58 40-time. But at 6’2” he lacks the ideal size for the position at the next level. Health is a concern after a fractured tibia in 2013 cut his season short. Also, multiple scouts knock him for lacking desire, effort, lazy, moving half-heartedly at times. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. I would pass.
Tyler Kroft – Rutgers
6’5”, 246 lbs. Fourth round. Kroft has good arm length at 33”, but small hands for his size (9 5/8”). Kroft sprained his ankle in Rutgers Bowl game, and re-aggravated it prepping for the combine, at which he only participated in the bench press (17 reps). At his pro day he ran through the gamut of drills and was just so-so. 4.75 40-time and a 34 inch vertical. Hopefully this was because of the ankle rehab. Like Koyack above, scouts want to see Kroft add some muscle to that frame in order to become a blocking force at the next level. Still too much receiver in his game, and not enough tight end. However unlike Koyak, he isn’t a great receiver either. Inconsistent, and relies on body catches. Like I said, small hands.
Nick O’Leary – Florida State
6’3”, 252 lbs, Fourth or fifth round. Short arms (29 ¾”) and small hands (9 3/8”). Florida State used O’Leary in more of an H-Back role, similar to that of Kyle Juszczyck. A better blocker, and pass catcher out of the backfield. I don’t see him even being in the cards for Baltimore.
Blake Bell – Oklahoma
6’6”, 252 lbs. Fifth round. Bell is new to the TE position, playing quarterback, and goal line rusher at Oklahoma. The Sooners moved him to TE in the spring of 2014 and he played in every game but one with 16 catches for 214 yards and four scores. “Raw” is the buzzword they use to describe him as a tight end. He’s a well-rounded football player, great athlete, strong, big enough hands (10”). He catches the ball very naturally and his size makes him a solid red zone threat. But to ask him to be a three down NFL tight end might be a bit much at this stage of his development. Not a great route runner, and takes bad angles in blocking at times. Bell would certainly be a project, but an intriguing one. Much like the Ravens did when they selected Pitta and Ed Dickson in the same draft, if they draft Bell, they better draft another one.
Wes Saxton – South Alabama
6’3”, 248 lbs. Fifth or sixth round. Saxton was a receiver out of high school, and a JUCO transfer in 2012. You can tell he’s more focused on receiving because he does little in the blocking game often lined up in the slot. The one dimensional type that he is hurt his draft stock, along with a decrease in production in his senior year. He caught 50 balls as a junior. Just 20 as a senior. But some say it was a change in offensive philosophy. Saxton expresses great athletic traits, but just isn’t a well-rounded tight end.
Nick Boyle – Delaware
6’4”, 268 lbs. Fifth or sixth round. Boyle won’t win at the combine drills. A 5.04 40-time, and a 30 ½” vertical. He got the 40 time down to five flat at his pro day. He has all the physical traits you want in a tight end. Long arms (33 3/8”) for blocking and reaching for tough catches. Big hands (10 3/8”) for securing passes. But scouts say he looked much better in 2013 than last year. He looked quicker, looked more fierce in blocking, crisper in his route running. Maybe 268 lbs is a little hefty for 6’4”. If he can shed down to say, 250 lbs, it could help him in his quickness out of cuts. Maybe get that 40-time under five, although he still wouldn’t figure to be a deep threat at any time. The potential is there for him to be a starter in the NFL with some polishing. Also going to Delaware doesn’t help his stock. Although I don’t know why this keeps coming up. Small schools produce elite NFL talent as well. Just look at our quarterback!
Mike was born on the Eastern Shore, raised in Finksburg, and currently resides in Parkville. In 2009, Mike graduated from the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland. Mike became a Baltimore City Fire Fighter in late 2010. Mike has appeared as a guest on Q1370, and FOX45. Now a Sr. Ravens Analyst for BSL, he can be reached at [email protected]