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2013 NFL Draft: Tyler Eifert, Travis Kelce top tight end rankings

With the 2013 NFL Draft set for April 25-27 at Radio City Music Hall in New York, NFL.com draft analyst Josh Norris is identifying the top prospects available at every position. Today, he presents an overview of the best tight ends. For a complete list of the rest of the positions, click here.

1. Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame: Likely the only tight end prospect who will be selected in the first round, Eifert is an improving inline blocker who really makes his mark in the passing game, high-pointing balls at the catch point. Eifert did struggle to create separation in routes at Notre Dame, but he mainly faced corners, safeties and double teams. Projection: First round

2. Travis Kelce, Cincinnati: I don't expect Kelce to be the second tight end taken in this draft, but you shouldn't be surprised if his name is mentioned ahead of prospects selected above him a few years down the line. A feisty blocker with an inline frame and a growing comfort in space, Kelce has everything you want on the field. Projection: Third round

3. Vance McDonald, Rice: McDonald is an interesting prospect to project, mainly because of his focused slot-receiving role in college. From that spot, he was an aggressive blocker with good anticipation and receiving prowess, but will that blocking success translate to an inline position? McDonald needs to eliminate the drops, as well. Projection: Second round

4. Jordan Reed, Florida: Obviously, people are going to compare Reed to former Gators tight end Aaron Hernandez. While the two do indeed share some of the same movement skills, the latter was a much more finished product leaving Florida. Reed could flourish as a "Joker" receiving tight end. Projection: Third round

5. Zach Ertz, Stanford: Just like Eifert, Ertz lined up both inline and against defensive backs on the edge, but he lacks the quick-twitch flashes of his Notre Dame counterpart. Fluidity is nice to have, but I wonder if Ertz has any burst to his game. He needs to improve as a blocker, too. Projection: Second round

6. Gavin Escobar, San Diego State: Somewhat similarly to Ertz, there's very little suddenness to Escobar's game. I love how he catches everything with his hands away from his body, but beyond straight-line seam routes, I didn't see Escobar separating on his own. He will need to be a dominant receiver in tight coverage. Projection: Second round

7. Kyle Juszczyk, Harvard: More of a fullback than any other prospect on this list, Juszczyk was snubbed by the NFL Scouting Combine, but he was stellar in a lead-blocking role at the Senior Bowl. That willingness to be aggressive at the point of attack was slightly surprising, considering Juszczyk was frequently used as a receiver at Harvard. Projection: Fourth round

8. Nick Kasa, Colorado: The former defensive end is a naturally aggressive player whose best trait, at this point, is blocking. However, Kasa displays flashes of rapidly improving receiving ability and possesses underrated straight-line speed down the seam. More time at the position will just allow him to become more comfortable. Projection: Fourth round

Follow Josh Norris on Twitter @JoshNorris.

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