November 24, 2012; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins cornerback Sheldon Price (22) looks on as Stanford Cardinal tight end Zach Ertz (86) catches a pass in the first half of the game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

2013 NFL Scouting Combine Preview - Tight Ends

Tight Ends

The tight end position has really evolved over the last few seasons. Guys like Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates used to be the exception but now there are more athletic, pass catching tight ends who can challenge the middle of the field than not. 

What to Watch

The tight ends at the top of the board will be most closely judged by their 40 times. How impressive is it to see a 6’6″ 250 pounder run a 4.6 40 yard dash? Also watch the vertical leap – you don’t want these guys messing up their post-touchdown dunks over the crossbar.

Top Prospects

  1. Zach Ertz, Standford
  2. Tyler Eiffert, Notre Dame
  3. Travis Kelce, Cinninati
  4. Gavin Escober, San Diego State
  5. Jordan Reed, Florida

Analysis

Flip a coin between Ertz and Eiffert. Both are elite pass catching tight ends who project for the late first or early second round. Forty times could make the difference between who ends up getting selected first. Look for value up through the middle of the draft.

The Bears

Besides offensive line, there is no bigger need on the Bears. During the last scouting combine, former Bears head coach Lovie Smith told us that Kellen Davis could do what all the “elite” tight ends in the league do. I think Lovie caught whatever Jerry Angelo had. Then again, he’s gone now. I wish he’d just Kellen Davis with him. Davis had an awful season with a ton of drops, especially in key situations. When he did actually catch the ball, he usually just fell down.  We can only hope that he’s gone sooner rather than later.

Matt Spaeth adds a little bit to the mix because of his blocking, but he’s certainly expendable too.  Flip a coin to see if he’s back or not.  Same goes for Kyle Adams, who’s hung around the last couple of seasons but hasn’t really made an impact.

Last year Phil Emery drafted Evan Rodriguez in the 4th round, but he was relegated to more of a fullback/H-back type of role, who had limited opportunities in the passing game.  Don’t be surprised if the Bears try to grab a fullback in the offseason and move Rodriguez into more of a traditional tight end role.

Look for the Bears to make a play to improve the position, especially with Trestman bringing a West Coast Offense to the Bears either through the draft or via Free Agency or possibly both.

What do you think?  Which tight end would make the most sense for the Bears to draft?

 

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Tags: Chicago Bears Evan Rodriguez Kellen Davis Scouting Combine Tight Ends

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