Last week we began our draft looks by focusing in on the wide receiver position. I was going to jump back and forth but for sake of readability let’s stay on the offensive side of the ball and look at another position of potential need. We won’t do the big one just yet but one that is a little bit more manageable to look at. The tight end spot. And man is it weak.
FREE AGENT OPTIONS: There is a very top heavy free agent market here, but I can’t see us getting involved on it. Here are probably the top 5 options out there, their estimated market value, and whether we might sign them (in no particular order):
Hunter Henry- 2 years, 15 million…..Doubt it
Dalton Schultz- 3 years, 34 million…..Stanford guy, but no way are they getting in on him.
Gerald Everett- 2 years, 17 million….doubt it here too
Mike Gesicki- 1 year, 4 million….maybe but I wouldn’t bet on it
Noah Fant- 1 year, 3.3 million….again maybe, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
The Budget Options:
There really isn’t much here. Maybe:
THE DRAFT: Same as with the wide receiver room- if we are adding to it, the draft will be how to do so and we are in a perfect position at 5.
MY TOP 5:
1.) Brock Bowers- The tight end from Georgia is apparently controversial because "You don’t draft tight ends high." Guess what- the hell with that. Bowers is an athletic freak of nature. His parents were both D1 athletes. He has run a sub 4.50 40 prior to going to Georgia. He is a pretty solid YAC guy. His ball skills are top notch. He can do a lot of things when you get the ball in his hands. Also, he has worked incredibly hard to make himself a great blocker at the tight end spot. Prior to last season there were people comparing him to George Kittle. I think that is pretty apt…and he improved this season. He was listed at 6’4", 240 coming into the season so I’m interested to see where his measurables come in.
2.) Ja’Tavion Sanders- Solid blocker in the open field and has good strength. Decent speed for a tight end and a good enough route runner. He will be a matchup problem for cornerbacks. He will get beat by edges off the ball if he has to help. He also is probably less likely to be an inline tight end. Will also need work at the NFL level. He is probably an early 3rd round guy but could see him going in the late 2nd.
3.) Cade Stover- He is tough to project because there is still some debate about where he could go. He played tight end to start in college and then flipped to linebacker. But some teams might still like him at tight end and want to use him there. Good explosiveness, good in stride route changer, and has soft hands. However, his catch radius is ugly and his blocking needs a lot of work. He might be a 4th round guy.
4.) Ben Sinnott- Good size and strength. He also is great at getting into blockers downfield as the play moves beyond the line of scrimmage. His ability to go down and get low throws is solid and his route running is pretty on point at all times. He does get the drops at times though. He won’t be a threat to stretch the middle line of the defense and he can be controlled with press coverage. Probably a 5th round guy
5.) Theo Johnson- Reliable hands and will go over the middle to make plays. He is a possession guy so you get into those 3rd and 4 type scenarios and he will find open space. He also has wide receiver type speed off the line of scrimmage. He can’t maintain it, but he can beat guys off the snap. Penn State runs a wide open spread offense so his routes are limited. Blocking is not anywhere close to ready yet and will need to improve his core and leg strength. Probably a 5th round guy but allegedly did well at the Senior Bowl so he might rise up charts a little.
SO WILL WE ADDRESS TIGHT END: If Bowers is there I would not be surprised if we took him. I’d probably be a little more inclined to try and trade down to like 8 or 9 and take him but Bowers is legit. He is a force, he would help change the dynamic of the offense, and give a legitimate weapon to Justin Herbert. I would be almost all for him at 5, I’m definitely all in at like 8