The NFL Tight End is evolving. As teams spread the ball out, a TE who can serve as a legitimate receiving option is very important. Most of the highest rated prospects will fall in the 6'5 - 250 lb range with superior athleticism. Traditional blocking ability is less of a barometer for a players future success (especially in the fantasy world), however it can be a decent indicator of how quickly they can make the transition and thus see game action. Like the WR position, there is usually a year or two before TE's can be productive.
College: Oklahoma (Four Year Senior)
Height-Weight: 6’5” 259lbs
Player Comparison: Jermichael Finley
Ideal Landing Spots: Baltimore Ravens
Comments: Gresham's measurables and skillset are prototypical of a stud TE. At Oklahoma, he was more than just a dominant redzone threat hauling in 26 TD's in 3 seasons. Gresham was a big play threat after the catch superior to any other TE in college football. As a Junior (2008), he hauled in 66 catches for 950 yards and 14 TD's. Likely the top TE off the board in last year's draft, Gresham elected to return for his Senior season. Unfortunately, much like another 2010 Top Prospect (Sam Bradford), he suffered a season ending injury - Gresham required surgery to repair torn cartilage in his knee. Despite the injury, he enters the 2010 NFL Draft as the clearcut #1 TE available. He didn't work out at the Combine or Oklahoma's Pro Day, but he impressed scouts as one of the receivers during Sam Bradford's passing workout. On upside alone, Gresham is a Top 15 Dynasty TE and easily falls within that same range within upcoming Dynasty Rookie Drafts. He is a Beast near the endzone and is tough to bring down in open space. He is an able blocker with room to improve further at the next level. Gresham is an excellent vertical threat that could be an fantasy factor in his rookie season, especially considering the number of teams searching for a new TE.
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: Late First, Early Second Round Pick in the 8 - 14 range.
College: Arizona (Third Year Junior)
Height-Weight: 6’6” 266lbs
Player Comparison: Zach Miller
Ideal Landing Spots: Cincinnati Bengals
Comments: He’s still injured and has not shown much this offseason, but a healthy Rob Gronkowski is an elite pass catching option. He entered Arizona in 2007 and immediately made an impact, catching 28 passes for 525 yards (18.8 YPC) and 6 TD's. He followed that up with an even better Sophomore season, hauling in 47 catches, 672 yards and 10 TD's. Expectations were big heading into his Junior season, although derailed as he ended up missing the entire season following back surgery. He still elected to enter the 2010 Draft and will be one of the Top tight ends selected. He has the size and strength to be an elite fantasy TE, but his health remains a question mark as back injuries can tend to linger. The whispers about his falling draft stock got louder when he only choose to bench press at the Combine. He did a lot to alleviate those concerns at his Pro Day running an impressive 4.65 40 yard dash - quite fast for a man his size. That might not be enough to get him back in the first round, but he should be the 2nd TE off the board. His Dynasty upside is huge, but it could take him a few years to develop. If you have a player like Antonio Gates or Tony Gonzalez, selecting your heir apparent in Gronkowski could pay huge dividends in a couple years.
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: Late Second Round pick, in the 18 - 22 range.
College: Miami (First Year Senior)
Height-Weight: 6’6” 260lbs
Player Comparison: A taller Vernon Davis
Ideal Landing Spots: Miami Dolphins
Comments: Jimmy Graham only played one season of football in college, after four years as a forward for the Hurricanes basketball team. He only caught 17 balls this past season, but 5 were for TD's. He shined at the Combine and continued to raise his stock at his Pro Day. Graham is a very raw prospect that will definitely need work in all facets of his game, most specifically running routes, blocking and being more physical. Graham is very much a Dynasty project, one that will likely take a few years before his vast potential is realized. His lack of experience in collegiate football is a negative and makes the bust potential is high. On the plus side, he has the body to add muscle to his frame and the leaping ability to be a nightmare in the redzone. His measurables are off the charts and make him worth the risk if you already have a reliable TE on your Dynasty roster.
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: Late Second, Early Third Round pick in the 25 - 32 range.
College: Pittsburgh (Four Year Senior)
Height-Weight: 6’1” 226lbs
Player Comparison: Dustin Keller
Ideal Landing Spots: Cleveland Browns
Comments: Did not really find a home until this past season in Pittsburgh’s offense, blossoming as an H-back. He exploded onto the scene at the Combine with a dominating performance and went from a possible late round selection to an almost guaranteed Friday pick. He followed that up by continuing to impress scouts at his Pro Day. Dickerson was considered by some to be more of a WR prospect than a TE prior to his eye popping offseason performance, but that will depend on a number of factors. By today's TE standards he is rather small and will not be an effective blocker. His potential as a pass catching weapon is why he is an intriguing option for your Dynasty roster. Ideally, he will find a home on an NFL team that already has a solid blocking TE and can use Dickerson on passing downs. He also has some versatility in his game, playing all over the field at Pitt. He is a playmaker that will make his fantasy living after the catch and over the middle. He is a high upside player that has seen his stock soar this spring, which makes him a candidate to be overdrafted in your Dynasty league. Watch this situation closely on Draft Weekend.
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: Third to Fourth Round pick
College: Florida (Third Year Junior)
Height-Weight: 6’2” 245lbs
Player Comparison: Kellen Winslow, Jr.
Ideal Landing Spots: St. Louis Rams
Comments: Much like most of these prospects, Aaron Hernandez has the game of a very large wide receiver. He has improved and developed every season as a Gator, developing into Tim Tebow's go-to receiver as a Junior. He only has 12 career collegiate TD's and will likely make a bigger impact in PPR leagues initially. His blocking skills leave much to be desired, but teams are not drafting him to block. He is a pass catching threat with big play ability and above average route running skills. He is also undersized for a typical NFL TE, but makes up for that with his strength and tackle-breaking ability after the catch. His reliable hands and advanced offensive skills could have him as the top performing rookie TE statistically (assuming his NFL team does not mind his shortcomings as a blocker).
Dynasty Rookie Draft Grade: Fourth Round pick, in the 35 - 42 range
Dennis Pitta (BYU) - Pitta had a very solid Combine and his advanced receiving skills are his ticket to the NFL and perhaps your fantasy roster. He gives a strong effort as a blocker, but needs to improve. There is a significant amount of upside here.
Garret Graham (Wisconsin) - Graham is a solid blocker and receiving option. Because his skillset is just slightly above average across the board, he will need to rely on his strong work ethic to make an impact. By all accounts a high character prospect that has shown a willingness to put the team first and play injured if necessary.
Ed Dickson (Oregon) - Dickson transitioned to TE in 2008 after playing defensive back and wideout for the Ducks in his previous two seasons. He is an excellent athlete with solid speed that could make him a fantasy relevant player in the right situation.
Fendi Onobun (Houston) - A project as a former Arizona Wildcat forward, Onobun has sky high upside. He was not invited to the Combine, but ran a 4.48 40 at his Pro Day. His thleticism is his calling card and atlhough he is raw, Onobun is a high risk, high reward prospect. He might not even get drafted this April, but he will be in someone's camp this summer with a chance to impress an organization. Developmental Dynasty pick.
Anthony McCoy (USC) - Big frame, soft hands will be an asset as a blocker. He is not an elite athlete but he will get on the field because of his blocking ability and could eventually make a fantasy impact. Upside is somewhat limited.
Tony Moeaki (Iowa) - Solid prospect with decent amount of potential, worth keeping tabs on his NFL situation. Moeaki could be an every down TE at the next level because of strong effort as a blocker. Hardworking and reliable, willing to put the work in. Not really an asset in the redzone. Dynasty prospects could increase if he lands in ideal spot.
View our other 2010 NFL Draft Profiles - QB - RB - WR