Ravens Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz broke down prospects at several positions of need leading up to the NFL Draft May 8-10. This is the third installment of a four-part series. Part 1 WRs | Part 2 Safeties
The tight end position was a big question for the Ravens at the start of the offseason.
They addressed it by locking up Dennis Pitta with a long-term deal and by adding Pro Bowler Owen Daniels to the mix. Pitta and Daniels are expected to be critical pieces in this year's offense, but the Ravens could still be in the market for another tight end.
Daniels is on a one-year contract and new Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak has a history of using multiple tight end sets in his offense. The Ravens could likely use the draft to add depth and possibly find a long-term answer at the position.
This year's draft class is deep at tight end, and the Ravens could look to add one of those prospects in the first few rounds.
Hortiz provided a scouting report on some of the top tight ends in this year's class:
Eric Ebron, North Carolina
Junior; 6-foot-4, 231 pounds; 62 catches, 973 yards, 3 touchdowns
"He's an athletic kid. He has average size for the position. He's a really good athlete. He's versatile. They line him up inside and outside. They'll put him in the traditional tight end spot and he can run routes from there. They will put him in a two-point slot and he can take off from there, and then you'll even see him lined up wide at times. He's a good athlete that catches the ball well. He has some run-after-catch ability. And he can certainly make some difficult catches."
- Considered a top-10 prospect and could be gone before the Ravens pick at No. 17
- Thrives as a pass catcher and is a mismatch for linebackers in coverage
- Average production compared to some of the other top prospects
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington
Junior; 6-6, 276; 36 catches, 450 yards, eight touchdowns
"He's a big guy. He's thick throughout his body – not fat – just a big frame guy. He's tall. He played basketball and football in college, and then after his freshman year he focused more on football. He has good body control and athleticism. He's not as fast as the fastest tight ends, but he's certainly fast enough. He knows how to get open. What really impresses you about him is that when you watch him catch the ball, he can really adjust. You see all those red-zone routes he runs. He can high point it in the back of the end zone, twist his body and make the catch as the defender is dragging on his body. He probably needs to get a little more polish as a blocker to be more consistent."
- Lacks the top-end speed as some of the other tight ends in the class
- Former basketball player that brings those skills with him to the football field
- Won the John Mackey Award last year as the top tight end in college football
Jace Amaro, Texas Tech
Junior; 6-5, 257; 106 catches, 1,352 yards, seven touchdowns
"His numbers were gaudy this year. He played more of a slot wideout role this year in their offense. Prior to that, he was a traditional tight end in the former coach's offense. He's played both types of styles. He's a guy that can catch the ball really well and he can do some good things after the catch. He's a big guy. He's a thick man. When he catches the ball, he can drag linebackers and defensive backs. He's really physical as a point-of-attack blocker. Like most college tight ends, he's going to have to improve as a blocker."
- Huge production in Texas Tech's pass-heavy offense
- Has experience operating as a traditional tight end on the line of scrimmage and as a pass catcher lining up in the slot
C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa
Senior; 6-7, 265; 30 catches, 299 yards, six touchdowns
"He's more of a traditional tight end. He can play on the line. He's physical. He has really good size. He's very tall, long, and he competes well at the point of attack. He's not just a blocking tight end. You can watch him run vertical up the seam, make a nice grab with the linebacker trailing him. He's used to the blocking aspects of the game. He does a fairly good job at it and competes at it. He has the size and strength to contain and sustain blocks. Then on top of it, he has the speed and height to challenge up the field and work away from contact."
- Was used as a traditional tight end in Iowa's power running offense
- Better blocker than some of the top tight ends, but can still make plays in the passing game
Troy Niklas, Notre Dame
Junior; 6-7, 270; 32 catches, 498 yards, five touchdowns
"He's a big man. He's only been at the position two years because he came in as an outside linebacker. He's a physical player. He has the size and the length that you want as a blocker that you want at the line of scrimmage. He can knock guys off the ball. He's a good athlete that gets overlooked at times in that offense because they don't throw him a lot a balls. The bulk of his games were two-three catches and he was used more as a blocker, but he has the ability as a receiver. He has some vertical speed and ability to challenge up the field, on the post cuts and corner cuts."
- Big tight end that thrives as a blocker because he can match up against defensive ends
- Still developing as a player because he was initially an outside linebacker at Notre Dame