Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
The 2013 NFL Combine has officially kicked off the on-the-field portion of the proceedings, and three players have stood out from the rest. Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert, Stanford’s Zach Ertz, and San Diego State’s Gavin Escobar have all posted impressive numbers, or shown great skills in positional drills, and have impressed fans and scouts watching the event.
Tyler Eifert has had an incredible combine, running a solid 40 yard dash that timed out in the mid 4.6 second range. He performed a 35.5 inch vertical leap, and a 119 inch broad jump. He was average in his bench press efforts, posting 22 reps in the weight room. He’s got all the measurables, and he can catch the ball securely. During his senior season, as teams focused on the tight end’s catching ability, he became a better blocker, and is a truly well rounded player. Eifert is a borderline first round prospect that the Buccaneers would likely need to make a trade to acquire.
Zach Ertz is not as athletic as Eifert, but is very strong, and well rounded. He ran plenty of routes in positional drills, and showed excellent hands. He impressed in the gauntlet drill, where he received passes from all directions while running a straight line. He posted a 4.76 40 yard dash, 24 reps on the bench press, and a modest 30.5 vertical leap. Ertz is a very solid prospect who will likely go in the same area of the draft as Eifert.
Gavin Escobar did not impress in the measured statistics portion of the workouts, failing to run well in the 40 and logging only a 4.84. The tight end is not known as a blocker, and his lack of speed means he needed to show he would be an excellent receiver. And he did. In all the receiving drills, Escobar showed elite hands, plucking the ball out of the air with ease. The San Diego State prospect is very tall, and posted a 32 inch vertical leap, meaning he is an excellent red zone target. Escobar had this to say about his performance at the combine: “I thought I showed my ability to catch the ball, and use body control… I believe I fit the new, evolving tight end position.” Escobar will likely be selected sometime after round one, finding his name called on the second day of the draft.
These three tight ends separated themselves in the combine, and proved to be the best prospects at the position. Vance McDonald of Rice also had a chance to show his skills, but lacked in his ball skills, proving to be an athlete who still needs work on his hands and his balance. Jordan Reed of Florida did not participate in positional drills, and ran fairly average times in the 40 for a tight end who is not considered a traditional, on-the-line tight end.
Of these tight ends, which ones do you want, Buccaneer fans? Let us know in the comments below!