NFL clubs in need of help at the tight end position should be able to find plenty of value to address that need in the 2017 NFL Draft.
NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock came away impressed with the tight end talent at the East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg this week, and can't recall a stronger group of tight ends than the one forthcoming in the draft.
"(This) may be the best tight end class I've seen since I've been doing this," Mayock said on Friday's edition of NFL Total Access.
NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah ranks two tight ends among the draft's top 18 prospects (Miami's David Njoku, Alabama's O.J. Howard), and is particularly interested to see South Alabama's Gerald Everett, whom he ranks the draft's No. 35 prospect, at the Reese's Senior Bowl next week. Analyst Bucky Brooks is impressed with Njoku as well, and spoke with an AFC scout who described him as a "more athletic Bubba Franks." Michigan's Jake Butt, Ole Miss' Evan Engram, Clemson's Jordan Leggett and Virginia Tech's Bucky Hodges also figure to be some of the 2017 draft's top prizes at the position. NFL clubs that count a tight end among their draft needs are the Tennessee Titans, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers, and New England Patriots.
Then, there are a number of sleepers, including Toledo's Michael Roberts, who impressed Mayock this week. Mayock also praised the Shrine Game practice week of Drake TE Eric Saubert.
"This kid can run. He's probably a 4.6 (in the 40-yard dash)," Mayock said. "He catches the ball extremely well, except he's got a bunch of concentration drops, and I'm not sure he can block. But he's a riser, and he caught a lot of people's eyes."
He's not the only one.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.