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Top five tight ends
Rank
Player
School
Height
Weight
Projected round
1.
Oklahoma State
6-5
263
1

Analysis: Pettigrew is a versatile tight end with all-around skills that translate well to the pros. Though he lacks elite speed, Pettigrew shines as a receiver due to his exceptional hands and ball skills. As a big target over the middle of the field, Pettigrew should thrive as a "move the chains" playmaker in the passing game. Additionally, he possesses the blocking skills that are a tough find at the position. Pettigrew's status has taken a tumble since his disappointing showing at the combine, but his overall ability is too good to ignore in the first round.

NFL landing spot: Pettigrew would give Matt Ryan the target that he needs in the middle of the field. Look for the Falcons to pull the trigger with their first-round pick (No. 24).

  Video: Brandon Pettigrew

Rank
Player
School
Height
Weight
Projected round
2.
South Carolina
6-5
246
2

Analysis: As an explosive athlete with an outstanding combination of size, speed and receiving skills, Cook is an ideal threat down the middle of the field. He is a rare deep threat at the position, and is sure to boost any passing game. While Cook's blocking and inconsistent effort frustrates some scouts, his talent is so enticing that some teams rate the former Gamecock as a borderline first-round pick.

NFL landing spot: The Bills are attempting to surround Trent Edwards with enough weapons to field a potent passing game, and Cook would be an excellent target down the middle. Cook should still be on the board when the Bills (No. 42) are on the clock in the second round.

  Video: Jared Cook

Rank
Player
School
Height
Weight
Projected round
3.
Southern Miss
6-5
240
2-3

Analysis: The Golden Eagle standout is an athletic pass catcher with excellent movement skills and hands. Though he is not as explosive as others at the position, Nelson is a reliable weapon who excels as a playmaker in the middle. Moreover, he shows the potential to excel as a blocker at the pro level, and is clearly one of the top tight end prospects available in this year's draft.

NFL landing spot: Nelson is one of the few players with the potential to develop into a complete tight end, and a team will look to scoop him up at the bottom of the second round. Possible suitors could include the Eagles (No. 53) and Cardinals (No. 63).


  Video: Shawn Nelson

Rank
Player
School
Height
Weight
Projected round
4.
Rice
6-3
246
3

Analysis: The ultra-versatile playmaker is a pass catching phenom with the potential to be a matchup nightmare on the perimeter. Casey's athleticism overwhelms linebackers, and his size advantage allows him to dominate smaller defensive backs. The former pro baseball player has the adaptability to be a vital part of a "wildcat" offense after playing multiple positions during his collegiate career (Casey lined up at tight end, fullback, quarterback, safety and defensive end during his stint at Rice). Though Casey will need time to develop into a conventional tight end, his special skills make him an intriguing prospect as a utility player.

NFL landing spot: Casey's talent and versatility make him an ideal "move" tight end for a team that employs multiple tight end sets as part of their base offense.

  Video: James Casey

Rank
Player
School
Height
Weight
Projected round
5.
Missouri
6-6
244
3-4

Analysis: The former Tiger projects as an H-Back prospect after enjoying a stellar career at Missouri. As a natural pass catcher with outstanding ball skills and awareness, Coffman is an outstanding player well versed in the passing game. Not only does he stand out as a pass catcher, he enters the league as one of the best route runners in the game. Though he lacks experience as a conventional blocker, his receiving skills are so superb that he could shine as a "move" tight end as a pro.

NFL landing spot: With the tight end slowly replacing the fullback in most offenses, a versatile pass catcher such as Coffman could fill many roles as a possible H-back. The middle of the draft is where one-dimensional tight ends typically come off the board, so expect to hear Coffman's name called in the third or fourth round.

  Video: Chase Coffman


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