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NFL Draft preview: Tight ends and wide receivers

If you read parts I & II, then you know why I’ve put down the chocolate and have moved on to real substance. Don’t quote me on this, but I think Denver met with half of the TE’s.

Before I continue, need to let everyone know that without a regular Fan Poster, Cool_Ninja3100, this piece would be half of what it is. Not only did he put together the colorful charts from the combine, but at the begging of me, broke out some of the position groups (bless you, you made my job so much easier).

He also was a sounding board to bounce names off of. We may have even changed the other’s mind on a couple and even unearthed a gem here and there.

Because my new man crush put color codes, it’s easier to see who is elite (Blue), above average (Green), average (White), below average (Yellow) and Houston we have a problem (Red). Black is for those who didn’t perform. Many athletes opted out because they’re going to work out on Pro Day or were sick or recovering from an injury. Don’t let that sway you.

Along with his charts, I made a few tables to compare certain player’s numbers from college, trying to give as well rounded a perspective as possible. Adding another shout out to NFL Female who procured press passes for me. Please support them!

Tight Ends

Since Greek and Matt Russell love the hurt guys, put Jake Butts on the list. We waited two years for Jeff Heuerman to get over his injuries, I’m sure another two for Butts won’t be a big deal.

Evan Engram. I met with him. He’s small for a TE. Slender. He’s also not a good blocker. Denver’s problem is they have Andy Janovich. If we were sticking with a WCO that wouldn't be any big deal, but now it means they’re going to need to use Andy creatively, which I’m all for; however, bringing in Engram which needs to be used creatively as well since he’s not a straight TE, may be asking too much. Unless they trade Janovich.

OJ Howard is the duh choice, don’t need to say more than that. Moving on to everyone else. There are only two teams that I truly despise and so it’s difficult for me to praise any of their players until they become a Denver Bronco.

David Njoku belongs to such a team. Scotty Payne did a write up on Njoko, so I don’t have to say more. Go here.

If we go to the next tier guys, I like Michael Roberts.

Mike is on the borderline of the height scale, but his arms, agility and good lord those hands, makes the difference. He’s a beast at blocking, plus a real red zone threat. He’s a slighter Julius Thomas, but who actually blocks. His blocking and mauler attitude gives him the edge in the EZ. This is the TE who gives you the most bang for the buck. He told me he loves tall QB’s, likes working with them best. He’s also another player who overcame some troubles and really wants to work hard to get better.

Gerald Everett. Some think Engram is a Jordan Reed, but to me, Everett is. UAB closed their football program, so he was forced to restart at South Alabama. This move may have effected getting more attention. I like his hands. But, like Engram, his size is a question.

Cool Ninja likes Jeremy Sprinkle. Not sure where he drops to because not only didn't he wow at the combine, but it’s been reported that he wasn't good in interviews. I don’t put a lot of stock in scuttlebutt because teams often float bad stuff to lower a player’s stock. Makes it easier for them to grab. With that said, I like Sprinkle, too and if he can make it rain points in Denver, sign me up.

Chase Kuntzsch

When it comes to wideouts, pick a name, it took two charts to list them all. Zay Jones continued to help himself after the Senior Bowl. John Ross, well, Guinness has his name and Curtis Samuel gave a quick wave as he blew by. Of the rest of the guys, I said Day 1 at Senior Bowl week, I wasn't a fan of Josh Reynolds’ lack of motivation between snaps. I wanted to see hustle, not strolling. He did better as the days went on and he can catch. If we go with a wideout, outside of a Day 1 receiver, he’s not bad. He has good tracking skills, speed and hands. He is someone we could get without reaching.

I’m more concerned with slot. Wideout Jordan Taylor was an UNDFA, who spent a season on the Practice Squad, so a wideout isn’t a must draft high, if we have other needs not met in FA. As of today, there’s a lot.

Ryan Switzer is a sneaky runner/returner. Even though he gives me shivers from that no good, don’t ever talk about, terrible day, he shows up when you’re not expecting it. He’s smart with a good sense of the game and takes advantage of your mistakes. Take your eyes off of him and you’ll pay for it.

Taywon Taylor is another guy that was overlooked as often happens at smaller schools; however, he showed against LSU and Alabama, he can play at the next level. Some players just come from the wrong cities, schools, families, coaches to get noticed at bigger colleges. Sometimes they’re late bloomers. He was one. Based on the type of scheme Mike McCoy could employ, I think this kid, with his route running, could be a good slot fit. He told me he sees himself as the underdog with a chip on his shoulder to prove others wrong...again.

Mr Ninja likes Trent Taylor. This was our lone disagreement. That guy is tiny. I was eye to eye with him and I might be able to take him. Plus he told me he was a, gasp, Patriots* fan. I’m still recovering from that. Don’t tell a person wearing a Denver SB50 jacket that you like that team. However, he hasn’t ever had a concussion which is pretty rare for a slot, let alone one who could fit into a size three jeans.

Carlos Henderson. He’s a versatile receiver who based on size can play inside or out. He’s fast and stout, good hands and difficult to take down. Quickness off the blocks is the lone question if played as a slot. However, some good coaching technique could help. Being tough to tackle with good hands goes a long way, though. His YAC is gold.

I’m on the fence concerning DeDe Westbrook. He is fast, he can catch, he’s the best all around WR in this class. He’s exactly what we need. I understand he ran a 4.34 at Oklahoma’s Pro Day....but, so many red flags. His size, age, and the accusations from his girlfriend. The last one may have been teenager drama blown out of proportion or a lot more than he said, she said. That’s up to Elway to find out. The question I do address is his size. He’s almost 24, can he get thicker? Same concern as Trent Taylor. How will their slight frames hold up to 240 pound line backers or a 300lb NT?

Chase Kuntzsch
Chase Kuntzsch

Of all the receivers above, I’d ask them how they feel about playing on special teams. Cody Latimore may not have fulfilled what he hoped, but he stayed relevant by knocking heads on Special Teams. Unless he’s a vet, every person we draft, should be willing to play ST. Even John Ross.

That leads to players like Jehu Chesson, Zach Pascal or Jalen Robinette. Big body guys who aren’t going to be starting wideouts, yet or ever, but their work on ST will keep them on the roster and can be used in various formations utilizing additional WR’s, especially in the Red Zone.

Chesson hurt his knee at the end of last season and during 2016 never returned to his top notch talent; however, as we’ve seen, some injuries take a long time to recover from. Why he could used by us is because he has potential, he’s a tough guy who will block, making him a ST player candidate to work towards a bigger role.

Zach Pascal is a player who if shorter or taller might be in a different spot, but it is what it is. He has good hands, and a good runner with the ball, but lacks the quickness needed to be a starter. He has less potential to ever start, but he’s a depth guy and special package/ST player.

Jalen Robinette is the heart strings player I want to root for (but, Go Navy!), he needs a lot of coaching. No offense to the Falcons, but he’s a work in progress. His size and natural ability haven’t been developed, but if you squint, you can there’s enough there to work with and ST is how to stick around and buy some time. With that said, he’s not as much of a blocker as either, Chesson or Pascal, but that may have been due to his eyeing his military career. If we sign him, he will still have to fulfill a commitment to the AF (usually PR or recruiting duty). If he were to have gotten injured, it would mess up both a football and military career, so he gets a liberty chit from me. One TC only.

There you have it. A list I’m sure we don’t all agree on. I left some names off for the sake of brevity or their upside put them out of our reach, or they’re wrong for our scheme or I flat out don’t them. Some names I missed because I have a job and only so many hours in a day to watch film.

Be nice in the comments, my set of armor is STILL at the blacksmith’s getting repaired.

This post first appeared on Mile High Report, A Denver Broncos Community, please read the originial post: here

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NFL Draft preview: Tight ends and wide receivers


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