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2009 NFL Rookie Profiles: Tight Ends

A look at the 2009 NFL Draft Class - Tight Ends

The Tight End is not a glorious position in fantasy football.  Elite pass catching TE's are rare, and the rest of the group provide relatively the same average value.   The smart dynasty owner finds themselves top talent, find a suitable backup for bye weeks, and then rides these players over their 10 year career.  The role of the TE is changing in college football.  Spread offenses are requiring a more Wide Receiver type role where traditionally the TE serves as a polished run blocker.  This is good news if you are searching for a young Tight End with fantasy value.  The problem however is that the transition to the NFL can be difficult where run blocking is a premium.  Find the player that blends above average pass catching ability and adequate run support and you have found fantasy value.

Chase Coffman:

College – Missouri (Fourth Year Senior Season - 90 rec., 987 yards, 10 TD's) 
Height/Weight – 6'6" 244 lbs 
Dynasty Draft Grade - 2nd Round  
Player Comparison - Kellen Winslow
Questions –  Marginal straight line speed, Durability
Ideal Fantasy Landing Spots – Eagles

Comments - This most gifted pass catching Tight End of this years class.  Coffman has a blend of size, speed and route running ability.  His high level of production at Missouri was capped by a senior campain recording 90 catches for 987 yards and 10 TD's.  His senior numbers surpassed many of the other TE's collegiate career totals in this years draft.  He has the ability to line up in various offensive sets which should get him on the field early.  Can make tough catches in traffic and willing to take a hit.  His run blocking skills are average but shows physicallity behind the line of scrimmage.    His father Paul Coffman was an NFL Tight End for 10 years. 

James Casey:

College – Rice (Red Shirt Sophomore Season - 111 rec., 1,329 yds, 13 TD's) 
Height/Weight – 6'3" 246 lbs 
Dynasty Draft Grade - 2nd Round  
Player Comparison - Owen Daniels
Questions –  Age (25), Can he be a true TE at the NFL level? Run Blocking.
Ideal Fantasy Landing Spots – New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints

Comments - James Casey is an athlete, plain and simple.  He was drafted by the Chicago White Sox out of High School, but elected to pursue football following three years within their farm system.  Listed as a QB/WR at Rice he served primarrily as a slot receiver, Casey finsihed his senior year as the countrys second leading receiver with 111 receptions for 1,329 yards and 13 TD's.  Casey is willing to go over the middle and rarely drops passes.  He was a top TE  perfomer at this year combine.  With only two years college football experience, Casey will be drafted on his athletic talent alone and will likely require time before seeing the field.  

Jared Cook:

College – South Carolina (Third Year Junior Season - 37 rec., 533 yds, 3 TD's) 
Height/Weight – 6'5" 246 lbs 
Dynasty Draft Grade - 4th Round  
Player Comparison - Vernon Davis, Jeremy Shockey
Questions – Transition to the NFL, Passion
Ideal Fantasy Landing Spots – 

Comments - Cook is an elite athlete that will most likely be drafted purely for upside.  His stock has risen immensly since the combine where he placed 1st amond TE's in the 40 (4.49 sec), vertical jump (41-inches) and broad jump (10.3-feet) before an injury ended his dominance.  With only 15 career starts as a TE, Cook will be a project.  He has little blocking experience and has relied on his pure athleticism to burn college defenders.  If he can gain some weight and learn to block withouth sacrificing his speed, he will be a force.  If Cook can make it in the NFL, watch out!

Brandon Pettigrew:

College – Oklahoma State (Fourth Year Senior Season - 42 rec., 472 yds, 0 TD's) 
Height/Weight – 6'5" 235 lbs 
Dynasty Draft Grade - 4th Round  
Player Comparison - Zach Miller
Questions – Top Speed 
Ideal Fantasy Landing Spots – Bills, Chiefs

Comments - Pettigrew will be an excellent TE at the NFL level.  Unfortunately, his fantasy football relevance is somewhat limited.  Pettigrew was a three year starter in a run heavy offense at Oklahoma State.  Great news for a NFL team looking to add the most polished TE run blocker in this years draft class to their offensive scheme.  The fact he never scored more than 4 TD's in a season and was shut out from the end zone in his senior year campaign has us steering clear.  Off the field issues including felony assault and battery of a police officer (charges later reduced) will be a red flag for many teams.  Pettigrew background as a run blocker will get him on the field early, but his upside is limited as he will not fill the role of a true pass catching TE at the next level.   

Shawn Nelson:

College – Southern Mississippi (Fourth Year Senior Season - 53 rec., 557 yds, 3 TD's) 
Height/Weight – 6'5" 240 lbs 
Dynasty Draft Grade - 3rd Round  
Player Comparison - Tony Schleffer
Questions – Top Speed 
Ideal Fantasy Landing Spots – Chiefs

Comments - Shawn Nelson is going to be a project with eventual upside.  He has above average speed and can handle to add weight without sacrificing speed.  He primarrily served as a slot receiver in college and does not have the upper body strength to handle run blocking duties in the NFL.  Don't expect fantasy relevance from Nelson until maybe the 2010 season, but don't be the one to miss on his either.