2009 NFL Draft TE Rankings

Here’s a look back at how I ranked the TEs in the 2009 draft class. A few big reaches here — like Shawn Nelson at 2, Cornelius Ingram at 4 and Chase Coffman at 5. But in his third season, Jared Cook is finally starting to show his #1-ranked TE status wasn’t all hype.

  1. Jared Cook: Titans, 3rd round .Good pass catcher, but only average blocker. Wide receiver speed and best vertical leap of any TE this year. Receiver size, and needs to bulk up a bit. Has some potential in Titans offense, but probably not more than top-10, even with his added goal-line receiving ability. Long arms were noticed at minicamp, and this could mean better blocking. Impressed at minicamp with receiving skills. Expected to be a Dallas Clark type being moved inside, outside and in backfield. Being used in goal-line packages right away, and should be effective there.
  2. Shawn Nelson: Bills, 4th round. Athletic and fluid, with great top-end speed. Creates separation out of breaks. Uses long arms and hands to catch. Great hands. Is a good blocker, but needs to add bulk. Great during Senior Bowl practices, but invisible in the game. Going to a team without a viable starting TE makes him an immediate contributor, and his blocking ability means he won’t leave the field as much, boosting his opportunities.
  3. Brandon Pettigrew: Lions, 1st round. Big frame and good blocker. Jason Witten type prototype TE. Invisible at Senior Bowl, and didn’t do well at Combine. AAHM. Goes to a team that can use him in the middle of the field, and his blocking ability will keep him on-field most downs. Has immediate fantasy relevance, with top-five potential.
  4. Cornelius Ingram: Eagles, 5th round. Undersized, and was often used as a slot receiver. Has H-back bulk. Good hands. Lack of blocking experience may limit his field time. Injured ACL in early August and will miss 2009, though he looked great in training camp. History of injuries may be his downfall.
  5. Chase Coffman: Bengals, 3rd round. Seems very slow on field, but has good hands, and caught a lot of passes in a spread offense. Didn’t block much in college. AAHM. Could flourish in Bengals offense, but needs to learn how to block to stay on the field. Kelly injury puts him atop depth chart.
  6. Travis Beckum: Giants, 3rd round. Fast, strong, and fluid. Not a blocker. Only 235 lbs. Needs to bulk up to get to H-back size, which is where the Giants want to use him. Will be behind Boss for 2009, but may see field in goal-line packages right away. Unless he bulks up and learns to block, he will probably always be a fantasy backup. But has versatility to create mismatches. Missed all of minicamp with hamstring problem.
  7. James Casey: Texans, 5th round. H-Back size and speed. Very good athlete, playing 7 positions in college — even QB. Good hands and 2nd-best TE vertical at Combine. Not a blocker. Will probably play fullback for Texans, since they already have Owen Daniels at TE, but could catch a lot of passes at the position in an explosive offense.
  8. Bear Pascoe: 49ers, 5th round. Reads defenses and finds open space. Good hands in traffic. Good blocker. Runs well for size. Low upper-body strength. Could be #2 TE right away, and his blocking ability could keep him on field in goal-line package. But with Vernon Davis ahead of him, is not fantasy relevant. However, was commended for all-around play by 49ers coaches, and they are pushing him hard in practice.
  9. Richard Quinn: Broncos, 2nd round. AAHM. All-purpose TE who can block, run and catch. 4.75 speed. Good size.  Could start for Broncos by 2010, and should be on their goal-line package right away. Could be decent fantasy starter by 2010.
  10. Darius Hill: Bengals, FA. In camp as a tryout, but looked good enough to be signed by the team after minicamp. Kelly injury means he has a good chance to make the team, but he’s not fantasy relevant by a long shot.
  11. Davon Drew: Ravens, 5th round. Good TE size. Good speed and quickness for a TE. Will battle for #3 TE spot, but not fantasy relevant until Heap leaves.
  12. Zach Miller : Jaguars, 5th round. H-back size and speed. Good athleticism. 3-year QB and 1-yr TE in college. Great runner. Compares to Jay Novacek. Could be #2 TE to Marcedes Lewis, and may be fantasy worthy by 2010, especially if Lewis gets hurt. Has been used in Wildcat formation in OTAs.
  13. Dan Gronkowski: Lions, 7th round. Excellent athlete who posted some of the best numbers at the Combine. Behind Pettigrew, though, won’t be a starter for a while.
  14. John Phillips: Cowboys, 6th round. Has been a good blocker, and caught 48 passes as a senior, but was invisible at Senior Bowl. May be #3 TE behind Witten and Bennett, but could be #2 if Bennett is cut due to being an idiot.
  15. Cameron Morrah: Seahawks, 7th round. Excellent speed, quickness and strength.  Not seen as much of a blocker. Behind Carlson and Owens, may not see much time, but has potential in goal-line packages.
  16. Jared Bronson: Dolphins, FA. Targeted often in Shrine Game. Good blocker and hands. Average speed. Probably never fantasy-worthy, and didn’t even report to Dolphins training camp. Nobody knows why.
  17. John Nalbone: Dolphins, 5th round. Good TE size, and great speed for the position. Average upper-body strength. Not more than #2 TE on Dolphins, and probably never fantasy-worthy.
  18. Kory Sperry: Chargers, FA. Very athletic – some of the best Combine numbers. WR size, and needs to bulk up. Potential #3 TE in San Diego.
  19. Anthony Hill: Texans, 4th round. Big target, but bad hands. Was invisible at Senior Bowl. Behind Owen Daniels at the position, won’t have much of a receiving potential. Also, James Casey is probably the 2nd option at TE for receiving. Likely to just be a blocker.
  20. J’Nathan Bullock: Jets, FA. Large for an H-back, small for a TE. Good hands, and was a very athletic basketball player. Hasn’t played football since high school, though, but has good chance as 3rd TE on team due to upside. Not fantasy relevant yet.
  21. Brandon Myers: Raiders, 6th round. Good size, speed, and athleticism, but will be behind Miller in Oakland. Not fantasy relevant.
  22. Ryan Purvis: Buccaneers, FA. Strong, good hands, and good size. A little slow. Probably has to beat out Jerramy Stevens or John Gilmore to make the team, giving him an outside chance.
  23. Kevin Brock: Jets, FA. Great size and speed and athleticism. Good upper-body strength. Chance to be #3 TE on team.
  24. Jerimiah Wurzbacher: FA.  Good size, speed, and athleticism. Cut by Chargers.
  25. Rob Myers: Dolphins, FA. H-back size and speed. Has been compared to Chris Cooley. Missed 2008 season. Waived by Jets on 5/28 and signed by Dolphins
  26. Andrew Davie: Panthers, FA. Good size and speed. Mostly a blocker, but is working on hands. Also a long snapper. Was waived by Jets after OTAs, but claimed by Carolina. Is not fantasy relevant, and probably won’t ever be more than third TE on Panthers. He’s a blocker and not much else. May make team as long snapper and blocking TE.
  27. Branden Ledbetter: Playing with UFL. Western MI. Good hands and fair speed. But fumbled at Texas vs. the Nation game.
  28. Fendi Onobun: Ariz. Great size, but is a basketball player who has never played football. Viewed as an athletic long-term project.
  29. Tyrell Williams: Stephen F Austin. Good TE size and speed. Needs to get stronger upper-body.
  30. Moses Hinton: Fla. Int’l. Good size and OK speed. Good athleticism, but below-average strength for a TE.
  31. Tate Casey: Fla. Good size and athleticism, but 5.0 speed.
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