Draft Positional Analysis Tight Ends
February 12th 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
Draft Positional Analysis Tight End The 49ers are found a gem in last years seventh round draft pick, tight end, Eric Johnson. When Greg Clark went down with injury, Johnson stepped up and one the fans and 49ers coaching staff's hearst. He was simply incredible for in his first year, leaving the 49ers in very good shape at the tight end position. However, the team may still be looking for a little depth this off-season, particulary with the imminent departure of former starter, Greg Clark. Teams don't highly covet tight ends in the draft, so the 49ers may be able to get a solid back up either through the draft, or in the 'left over' undrafted free agents.
Top Five Tight End Draft Prospects
Jeremy Shockey is a very intriguing prospect. A tremendous athlete for a player at his position, Schokey, can run, catch and has great size. He makes big plays in the passing game, runs precision routes and knows how to find soft zones in defenses. Takes advantage of opposing defenses that concentrate on the 'skill' positions. Not rated as the best blocker of the bunch, but certainly capable with a large upside. Schokey is a difference maker and will make a real impact in the NFL.
Daniel Graham is probably the best blocking tight end in this years draft. He's a great athlete too, with very reliable hands that understands his position extremely well. Plays with a no 'BS' attitude and will make the blocks required of him. An extremely consistent player, with a great work ethic who is a natural leader, Graham is the type of player you want on your team.
Jeremy Stevens is a dominating prospect that has been compared to Tony Gonzalez. He's an incredible receiving tight end, labled as unstopable by some and can block though it's not his strong suit. Is a very large palyer, with surprising speed that makes him easy to find, and hard to bring down. Runs good routes and rarely drops the ball. Not the best 'personality' person and has been known for off field troubles including testing positive for marijuana, two counts of assualt, taking place in a hit and run and being investgated for a sexual assult case that was later dismissed. It is believed that Stevens may be passed his off field troubles after getting through his drinking problem. Has had one significant injury in a broken foot. Stevens has tons of talent but his off field character will force him down the draft field.
Chris Baker is one of those palyers who just finds a way toget the job done. He's a big but not tall tight end who is not flashy, but is relaible. He has soft hands and is extremely tough to bring down when he gets the ball. Has decent speed that makes him tough to cover on any route under fifteen yards. A good blocker who still needs to learn to finish a defender off. Will need to step it up against NFL type players to take the next step.
Derek Smith is a very well sized tight end with good speed. He needs heavy work on his blocking though to become a true NFL player. Is a decent route runner with reliable hands. Needs to focus on improving his fakes and sharpening his routes. He sometimes telegraphs his moves off the snap. Needs to add strength at the next level but has the frame to do it. Most interesting part of this prospect for the 49ers is should he be selected he would be the second Derek Smith on the 49ers roster
The talent level of the top three tight ends in this years draft is quite good. After that it drops off significantly to a bunch of player that are for the most part very equally talented. A good depth position to be picking up at the end of the draft or post-draft. The 49ers should be able to find a workable player to play third tight end, somewhere in this years draft. Talk about it in the 49ers Paradise Forum