Greg Cosell broke down the draft’s top tight ends Friday on Yahoo’s Shutdown Corner Podcast. Here’s Cosell’s breakdown.
On Norte Dame’s Tyler Eifert
COSELL: He’s my favorite tight end in this draft. I think his athleticism and movement is No.1 in this draft. He’s really a deceptively smooth athlete. He shows the ability to run vertical routes from split wide receiver positions versus corners. He’s more athletic than when Kyle Rudolph came out of Notre Dame. I think Eifert is a better prospect than Zach Ertz – he’s more athletic with better overall receiving skills. I think in today’s NFL, this kid is a first round pick.
On Stanford’s Zach Ertz
COSELL: I think Zach Ertz has a similar physical baseline as Jason Witten when he was coming out of Tennessee. I think he has good hands. He catches the ball well. He does have deceptive route quickness with the ability to separate versus man, but he’s not quite the athlete that Tyler Eifert is.
On San Diego State’s Gavin Escorbar.
COSELL: He’s a very big kid. He’s long. He’s lanky, even though he probably weighs 250 or so, just because he’s so tall. I like Escobar. He was 6-5 and seven-eighths and 254 pounds at the Combine. Guys like that, they’re not purely fast, but their stride length is what’s interesting. Once they get moving, they cover an awful lot of ground. I remember watching a lot of him last year as well. He’s a very intriguing prospect in this new age NFL because of his size. I think that he can be a joker. He can line up all over the formation. I think he’s a very intriguing prospect if used properly, who can be a little bit of a matchup issue for some teams.
On Rice’s Vance McDonald
COSELL: He has very deceptive athleticism. Not a vertical speed guy, but I think he can work the seams and the short to intermediate areas. One concern with him is he had some trouble catching the ball at times. He’s an athletic tight end. He’s very fluid for a man that size. In Rice’s offense he lined up all over – in the slot, split. He just had erratic hands. There were times he showed really strong hands and made great catches. There were other times he let too many balls get into his body and he dropped them. I think he’s a really intriguing prospect. You could argue that this kid is a smoother mover than Jason Witten.
On Cincinnati’s Travis Kelce
COSELL: Kelce is a very good athlete for his size. He runs well. He can accelerate. He’s a fluid guy. He’s a little nasty. He can get on the line of scrimmage and block, which some of these guys can’t do. I think he has deceptive run-after-the-catch ability. I think he’s a wild card in this draft. I think he could get drafted higher than you think.
On Florida’s Jordan Reed
COSELL: He’s not quite Aaron Hernandez, but he has similar traits. He’s only about 235, 237 pounds. He’s not an inline blocker. Look at how Bill Belichick uses Aaron Hernandez. I think Hernandez is a little better at what he does, but I think Reed is a very similar player. I think he has the athletic ability and the movement to be effective on the perimeter. He ran wide receiver routes. A kid like this, I think Chip Kelly could use him in a way that would be very hard for defenses to match up.