2011: Top Dynasty Rookie TEs

1. Julius Thomas, TE, Broncos, 4th round. Portland St.: Slightly below-average size. Fairly athletic former basketball player. Runs nice routes. Average speed, quickness and hands. Did short-arm a pass when hit was coming. Weak upper body. Will compete with fellow rookie Virgil Green for starting position, but may still be effective as more of an every-down TE. Solid TE3 right away with TE2 potential.

2. Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings, 2nd round. Notre Dame: Good size. Has had a few injuries in college. At NFL Combine, DNP-injured. Junior who has declared for 2011 draft. Will replace Shiancoe on team by 2012 and should be solid TE2.

3. Lance Kendricks, TE, Rams, 2nd round. Wis.: Short for the position, with H-back bulk. Good speed. Above-average upper-body strength. Gets open consistently versus man coverage. Good hands, though not at Combine. Average quickness. Solid blocker when he latches on, but he needs to work on meeting defender. In bowl game, whiffed one block and was folded backward on another. Played in Senior Bowl. Likely to be team’s every-down TE and will definitely be on field during 2TE sets. Being moved around a lot. Has solid potential. TE3 right away with TE2 potential.

4. “David” DJ Williams, TE, Packers, 5th round. Ark.: Short for the position, with H-back bulk. Smart player with good hands and balance. Very good effort. Average speed and upper-body strength. Below-average quickness. OK run blocker, but easily pulled off his feet. Good pass blocker, though has had a bad camp in that area. In Senior Bowl. At NFL Combine. Goes to stacked TE group in Green Bay but should be at least their TE2 ahead of Quarless. Has long-term fantasy TE1 potential if Finley leaves or is injured again.

5. Virgil Green II, TE, Broncos, 7th round. Nev.: Slightly below-average size. Very explosive athlete with excellent verticals — may make him an excellent red-zone target. Good speed. A natural hands catcher. Beats man coverage regularly. Nice tracking. Average upper-body strength. Adequate blocking skills. Will compete with fellow rookie Julius Thomas for starting position, but may still be effective as TD threat. Solid TE3 right away with TE1 potential.

6. Jordan Cameron, TE, Browns, 4th round. S. Cal.: Average size. Athletic former BYU basketball player. Also played WR in college. Very good speed, hands, and vertical leap. Strong lower body. Precise routes. Average upper-body strength. Fairly quick, but a little slow off of line. Trouble judging passes and sometimes jumps unnecessarily. Reminds some of Jimmy Graham with less size. Will compete to be team’s TE3, but has Watson and Moore ahead of him now. Could turn out to be team’s TE1 but not likely to be more than fantasy TE2.

7. Luke Stocker, TE, Buccaneers, 4th round. Tenn.: Average size. Nice hands. Strong upper body. Good run blocker. Average speed and quickness. A little stiff running routes and runs too upright to adjust direction well. Hard time out of breaks. Poor tracking. Often compared to Jason Witten, but Charles Davis compares him more to Brad Cottam. Played in Senior Bowl. Could turn out to be team’s starting TE and has fantasy potential in improving young offense. Likely eventual TE2.

8. Weslye Saunders , TE, Steelers, UDFA. S. Car.: Good size. Have not seen. Reportedly fast and athletic. Reportedly has good hands. Broke foot at Combine, which isn’t surprising since he seemed out of shape before that. Foot hadn’t healed by pro day. Below-average upper-body strength. Dismissed from team in September. Major character issues. Steelers have shown interest.

9. Charles Clay, TE/FB, Dolphins, 6th round. Tulsa: Short for the position, with H-back bulk. Very experienced receiver — more so than as a runner. Nice routes. Hands catcher with good vision. Slightly below-average speed and quickness. At NFL Combine as TE, though he looks more like a FB to me. Mike Mayock has compared him to Aaron Hernandez, though I see more Dorin Dickerson. Has same problem as Dickerson — where to play him? Could be FB, TE, H-back, or RB. Could play all of those in Dolphins offense. May have immediate impact on team with no established TEs. Solid TE3 right away, with TE2 potential.

10. Robert Housler, TE, Cardinals, 3rd round. Fla. Atlantic: Average size. Very good speed, tracking, arm length and concentration. Quick off the line. OK hands. Average upper-body strength. Below-average routes and has a hard time changing direction. Similar to Dan Gronkowski. Goes to team with no established TEs and a young QB who will need a safety net. Could have immediate and long-term fantasy TE2 impact.

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