Today the 2010 NFL Combine officially begins.
The players involved in the first day of the Combine include Group 1 (PK, ST, and OL), Group 2 (OL), and Group 3 (TE). Today is non-physical, the agenda is simply to check in, get X-rays, and interview with teams, but at least we’re getting closer to figuring out more about the prospects in the 2010 draft.
While I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ravens drafted a PK at the end of the draft, I’m positive that no team will judge a kicker on anything physical they do at the Combine. Now I’d definitely want to see their Wonderlic scores and interview them to check their mental stability and makeup, but that’s about it for kickers.
Sure the Ravens could use depth on the offensive line, but so could 31 other teams. The core unit is pretty much set, so if the Ravens did draft an offensive lineman in the draft, I’m positive that it wouldn’t be until the later rounds. Therefore I’m not really concerning myself with what the OL are doing this week at the Combine.
What I’m seriously interested in is the TE’s.
Todd Heap is only 29 years old, but he has taken a beating over the years. People always think about Heap as being brittle, but the guy has played in every game in four of the last five seasons. Last season was a solid one for Heap who caught 53 passes for 593 yards and 6 touchdowns and was most impactful for the Ravens towards the end of the season where he caught 4 of his 6 TD’s in the final 3 games. He’s got two years left on his contract, therefore I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ravens looked to target a TE within their first three picks.
Heading into the Combine here’s my rankings of TE’s in the Combine:
- Aaron Hernandez: 6’3″, 250 lbs., Florida- He’s too fast for LB’s to cover and too big in the secondary. I love his potential at the NFL level and believe he could become a Dallas Clark type TE. Hernandez caught 68 Tim Tebow thrown passes, for 850 yards. and 5 TD’s this past season as a Gator. Hernandez should be the second pass catcher drafted in the 1st round after WR Dez Bryant. The added bonus with Hernandez, he can actually block too, a rarity for elite pass catching TE’s in college football.
- Jermaine Gresham: 6’6″, 260 lbs., Oklahoma- Gresham has all the skills to be a top 10 pick in the draft, but I see him as damaged goods. he missed all of last season with torn cartilage in his right knee, not to mention a torn ACL suffered in high school. If he can stay healthy Gresham is a monster target, in his last healthy season with the Sooners he caught 58 passes, for 888 yards, and 12 TD’s. The talent is there without doubt, but would you want to draft a TE in the 1st round with two surgically repaired knees?
- Ed Dickson: 6’4″, 244 lbs., Oregon- Anybody that listens to my show knows that I think Jeremiah Masoli is completely overrated which you must take into consideration when evaluating Dickson. In an option system at Oregon, Dickson caught 42 passes, for 551 yards, and 6 TD’s which is remarkable considering Masoli has zero accuracy on his throws. I think Dickson will be a solid NFL TE in the future and could be a steal in the 3rd round.
- Dennis Pitta: 6’5″, 247 lbs, BYU- Pitta had a great career at BYU to say the least. The guy has caught 143 balls, for 1,883 yards, and 14 TD’s over the last two seasons. However since I had to move Dickson up because of who was throwing him the ball, I also have to make a note that Pitta had Max Hall throwing him passes which definitely helped his numbers. Hall consistently threw for over 300 yards per game and obviously looked Pitta’s way often.
- Jimmy Graham: 6’6″, 260 lbs., Miami- Graham’s measurement will be under scrutiny this week because he was listed at 6’8″ before the Senior Bowl, but somehow shrunk 2 inches afterwards. He is extremely raw and has only played one season at TE in college. Graham actually made a smart move andswitched from basketball to football before his senior season. Obviously the Antonio Gates comparisons are inevitable. Graham is a great red zone target at any level, but will need some time to develop at the NFL level. I’d be willing to take him in the 3rd or 4th round.
- Anthony McCoy: 6’5″, 249 lbs., USC- McCoy has had a troublesome college career. First he was forced to sit behind Fred Davis and watch Mark Sanchez throw the ball all over the field. Then once it became McCoy’s turn he failed to stay academically eligible, which is frightening considering he played under Pete Carroll at USC. McCoy is an ulta athletic TE when on the field, even though he’s a little rounder than most for his size and because of that reminds me of Algae Crumpler.
- Rob Gronkowski: 6’6″, 260 lbs., Arizona- Bottom line, Gronkowski can’t stay healthy and that’s why he’s so far down my board. No doubt when he’s healthy, the guy can play, but a college player coming off of back surgery…no thank you! He’s projected to be a 2nd or 3rd round pick, but I couldn’t take someone that high with such a serious injury risk.
- Garrett Graham: 6’3″, 234 lbs., Wisconsin- Graham will need to get stronger at the NFL level, but there’s no questioning his hands. He could be a steal in the 4th or 5throundfor a team looking for a consistent pass catching TE. Last season Graham caught 51 receptions, for 624 yards, and 7 TD’s.