1. Aaron Hernandez Fla – I kind of see this guy as a Dallas Clark-type. Clark is a better blocker, of course, but Hernandez can stretch the field. Trust me, he made Tebow look like a better QB than he was. Most people I’ve seen think Hernandez is no better than the 3rd TE available. But he didn’t have a torn ACL or a season-ending back injury as far as I know. Plus, he actually played football in real games in 2009. In my mind, that counts. Big time.
2. Jermaine Gresham Okl – He would be number one on this list if not for the torn ACL that wiped out his 2009. I’ve had a torn ACL, and (while I’m no pro athlete) that is about the worst injury outside of a torn Achilles’ tendon that a football player can have. At the very least, I believe that this injury will limit Gresham’s longevity. At most, it will stunt a once promising prospect’s growth.
3. Jimmy Graham Mia (Fl) – Call me a sucker but I think there is something to this “former basketballer becomes TE” thing. Plus, the U has a history of producing talented TEs. Jimmy doesn’t have the numbers, but he has the athleticism. I put him here at #3 on a hunch. Let’s see if I’m onto something.
4. Anthony McCoy USC – I’m curious to see if the positive test for Mary Jane hurts his stock. I don’t think it will, based on recent draft history. Talent trumps the dabbling in the sticky-icky-icky. But he’ll already be in the substance abuse program. So only certain bold teams will include him on the board come draft weekend.
5. Dennis Pitta BYU – He isn’t fast but he can catch and he can block. I wasn’t initially high on Pitta, but I am skeptical of a TE class that many “experts” think is topped by two guys who missed all of 2009. I think that moves the very solid Pitta up on the list of available TEs.
6. Rob Gronkowski Ari – This guy might be #1 on some lists. But he hurt his freaking BACK!! While lifting weights! Everything revolves around the back and he has had back surgery! And football players need to be able to lift weights. I see Gronkowski as one of the biggest risks in the draft. That’s why he’s #6. He’s got loads of talent, but some guys can’t withstand the punishment of pro football.
7. Dorin Dickerson Pitt – He’s an athletic freak who played all over the place in college. I see him as a poor man’s Hernandez. He has a lot to prove as far as blocking is concerned but he can be an immediate weapon in the passing game. If the right team drafts him, he could have an impact in 2010. If not, he could end up on the practice squad.
8. Ed Dickson Ore – I should probably have him at least above Dickerson. But Dickerson’s workouts were so damned good. Honestly, Dickson likely fits in with more teams’ schemes. But I’ll stick with my gut.
9. Clay Harbor Mizz St – This is a small-school guy with a good workout season under his belt. Teams will like his versatility as a TE/H-back, but he will have to adjust to a much higher level of competition.
10. Andrew Quarless PSU – A lot of talent, and attitude to match. He has off-the-field question marks surrounding him after suspensions at Penn State. Plus, he has “GODS GIFT” tattooed on the backs of his arms. Yes, in block letters, with no apostrophe. That fact almost made me drop him out of the top 10. But he’s also got pretty good hands and speed.
Workout warrior: Jameson Konz Kent – Played a little FB, a little LB, a little TE…he’ll find a role. Plus, doesn’t at least one guy from Kent make it every year?
Guy whose name I like: Tony Moeaki Iowa – Injuries were a problem in college.
Guy who could move to FB: Garrett Graham Wisc – FB/TE tweener.
Another guy I’ve seen on the rise lately: Mickey Shuler PSU – The other Penn State TE. He has enjoyed a good offseason.
And another guy for no good reason: Colin Peek Ala – All I can say is that during the BCS Championship Game, Brent Musberger called him a “dandy” TE. Good enough for me.<!--EndFragment-->