NCAA

2016 Top Tight End Prospects – Michigan Jake Butt Should Be First Off The Board

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Every draft evaluation is predicated on prediction accumulated by past practice and eyeing the future potential of each prospect. Obviously, everyone knows that know matter how good or bad a prospect is judged, no one really knows the ultimate value until they hit the field in the NFL.

This particular class does not boast of an elite tight end prospect and at this stage in the evaluation process none will be taken in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

There are plenty of great talents at the position and if recent draft history on tight ends stays consistent – Then its good thing for NFL teams. The top tight-ends drafted over the last decade have failed to match the production of selections outside the first round.

Below are some of the top tight end prospects available in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Top Tight End Prospects

Jake Butt, TE, Michigan

Class – Junior

 

Five Previous Drafted Michigan Tight Ends

2007 – Tyler Ecker, Round 7

2006 – Tim Massaquoi, Round 7

2003 – Ben Joppru, Round 2

2000 – Aaron Shea, Round 4

1999 – Jerame Tuman, Round 5

Offensive Scheme – Pro Style

Height – 6-5

Weight – 248

The Pickerington, Ohio native is likely to be the first Michigan tight end drafted since 2007. Butt possesses an athletic frame along with the abilities to match that frame.

His strong suit is his ball security and strong hands. The things that go unnoticed about him are his deceptive speed and effort to block. He is not going to blow defenders off the ball but he is committed to the cause and ties up his opponent long enough to allow the play to be successful.

Butt was named one of the eight semifinalists to the John Mackey Award given the nations top tight end. He currently leads the Big Ten at the position with 38 catches for 500 yards.

 

Jordan Leggett, TE, Clemson

Class – Junior

Five Previous Drafted Clemson Tight Ends

2012 – Dwayne Allen, Round 3

1989 – Keith Jennings, Round 5

1987 – Jim Riggs, Round 4

1985 – K.D. Dunn, Round 5

1976 – Bennie Cunningham, Round 1

Offensive Scheme – Spread Offense

Height – 6-4

Weight – 255

Leggett is the top touchdown receiver (6) for the nation’s No. 1 ranked team. He ranks third on the Tigers’ roster with 26 receptions and fourth in receiving yards with 334 yards.

He was rated as the No. 7 tight end in the state of Florida by ESPN after leaving high school. His ability at the collegiate level backed up ESPN’s assessment.

Leggett is a long-framed red zone target with great concentration. He can high point the football and adjust his body to make the catch. He will look to join former Tigers tight end Dwayne Allen, who won the John Mackey Award.  Allen won it four years ago.

 

Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas

Class – Junior

Five Previous Drafted Arkansas Tight Ends

2015 – A.J. Derby, Round 6

2013 – Chris Gragg, Round 7

2011 – D.J. Williams, Round 5

1987 – Theo Young, Round 12

1971 – Pat Morrison, Round 17 

Offensive Scheme – Pro Style

Height – 6-5

Weight – 253

Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema has had two tight ends drafted since taking over the program in 2013. Henry will be the third if he declares for the 2016 NFL Draft. He will also be the highest drafted Razorback at the tight end position.

Henry ranks second on the team in both catches (37) and receiving yards (490). He is a mismatch in the open field and more impressive is his dedication to the run game. The Razorbacks running back Alex Collins is averaging 120.9 yards per game and Henry has done his fair share of the dirty work in that achievement.

He is a real competitor and flashes some aggressiveness in his game.

 

O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama

Class – Junior

Five Previous Drafted Alabama Tight Ends

2013 – Michael Williams, Round 7

2012 – Brad Smelley, Round 7

2002 – Terry Jones Jr., Round 5

1996 – Tony Johnson, Round 6

1978 – Ozzie Newsome, Round 1

Offensive Scheme – Pro Style

Height – 6-6

Weight – 242

 

Howard looks like an oversized receiver in his Alabama uniform.  Offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin showcases Howard more as a blocker than pass-catching tight end.

He ranks third on the Crimson Tide roster with 29 catches for 323 receiving yards. It is easy to envision what type of play-maker he could become with a larger role catching the football.

Howard possesses a long athletic frame and has terrific speed. Putting all the pieces together (Height, Weight, Speed) he could easily be the top tight end a few years down the road from this particular draft class, if he declares for the 2016 NFL Draft.

 

Matt Weiser, TE, Buffalo

Class – Redshirt Senior

Five Previous Drafted Buffalo Tight Ends

None

Offensive Scheme – Pro Style

Height – 6-4

Weight – 245

 

Weiser currently does not rank amongst the top tight end prospects, but possesses all the skills to begin the climb up NFL draft boards.

He leads all FBS tight ends with 53 catches for 514 yards and is the Bulls leading pass catcher and second on the team in receiving yards.

Weiser has a long frame with good ability to adjust to the football. He does a fantastic job tracking the football over his shoulder with the speed to beat coverage. He is good route runner with the upside and potential to be invited to one of the three all-star games next season (Senior Bowl, East West Shrine and NFLPA).


About Bo Marchionte

Bo Marchionte

Bo Marchionte is an NFL writer for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade. His background includes being staff for the Texas vs. The Nation All-Star game as a talent evaluator for player personnel along with an internship scouting with the Toronto Argonauts and Winnipeg Blue Bombers for the Canadian Football League. Bo’s draft background includes working for the NFL Draft Bible and currently owns and operates College2Pro.com. He has done radio spots on NBC, Fox Sports and ESPN and their affiliates in different markets around the country. Bo covers the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Panthers along with other colleges in the northeast.