By College Football Analyst Josh Buchanan for TonySoftli.com
Leading up to the draft and the release of my final big board and draft guide I will preview each position. Below is a look at each of the projected top tight ends and top h-backs. Below that is a look at the top 15 tight ends and top four h-backs for the 2014 NFL Draft.
1. Joe Don Duncan, Dixie State
Since an injury suffered late in the season Duncan had to pass on the Senior Bowl and only measured and did the bench at the NFL Scouting Combine. His injury and the fact he is just 6’2 5/8, 268 pounds instead of 6’4 or 6’5 is what will likely keep him out of the top 100, where his talent deserves to go. Duncan catches everything, has good strength, blocks well, has good body control, and is athletic. Keep an eye on him because if he falls into the 5th round or lower he could be a major steal.
2. Nic Jacobs, McNeese State
Jacobs came from LSU and it showed that he was a much higher caliber than anyone else on the field. His performance against Middle Tennessee State already had him on the NFL radar. He caught 32 passes for 453 yards and showed the ability to block with his length but could use a little more speed. His size (6’5, 269) is impressive but does need to get stronger as well. The rumors are that he declared because of the need to get a job but he has the talent to make it in the NFL. There is a chance he is taken in the late rounds after his strong pro day workout.
3. Cameron Brate, Harvard
Brate is an interesting player who was in the shadow of Kyle Juszczyk last year but still managed to earn All-Ivy League honors two years with him there. This year he repeated as a first-team selection and got a chance to take the spotlight. He’s got good size, a good frame, and catches the ball well. He was more of a blocker than his former teammate and may sneak into the late rounds. After putting up a 4.7 40, 33 ½ inch vertical, and 4.48 short shuttle there is a chance that he could be taken anywhere from the 190s through the end of the draft.
4. Justin Perillo, Maine
Perillo isn’t the idea height or length but has good hands and runs pretty well. He’s been dominant at 6’2 5/8, 250 pounds earning All-CAA honors three years in a row and was an All-American in 2013 with 39 catches for 490 yards and four touchdowns. While he won’t get drafted he will be a good free agent pickup for someone.
5. Michael Flacco, New Haven
Flacco is a good athlete with upside but still raw as a player. He’s the best athlete in the Northeast-10 so he was a matchup problem for defenders averaging 19.7 yards per catch with nine touchdowns. The 2nd-team All-Northeast 10 selection’s position on this board is in jeopardy depending on how the workout of UCA’s Chase Dixon goes.
OVERRATED: Michael Flacco, New Haven
Some people put Flacco as a possible draft pick when he declared because it seemed odd that a sophomore would declare from New Haven and the last name looked familiar (brother of Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco). When watching Flacco you can see that he probably should have stayed in school but he played minor league baseball and knew he wasn’t getting any younger.
UNDERRATED: Cameron Brate, Harvard
Most haven’t considered him a draftable player and it would probably shock many if he went in the late rounds but I think NFL teams have probably taken notice of what I did on film. It would have been good to see him in a major all-star game but that won’t stop teams in the 6th and 7th round of taking a small schooler who translates athletically and has the ideal measurables for their position.
SLEEPER: Chase Dixon, Central Arkansas
Dixon has not gotten the attention he deserves because of a broken leg he suffered in the 7th game of the season. He had six touchdowns in 7 games showing good hands and at 6’5 239 pounds is lean but has the frame to add weight. If he has a strong pro day workout he will move up this list. His injury has been what has held him out of the small school top 100 and top five at his position.
RISER: Cameron Brate, Harvard
Brate has seen a steady rise since his pro day workout and does come from the same system and school that Kyle played in and is expected to do well in the NFL. I think he has a real shot to surprise and make a team.
FALLER: Joe Don Duncan, Dixie State
If not for his injury he would likely be rated in the top 3-4 small schoolers and a 2nd or 3rd round projection but has fallen off since being sidelined from postseason workouts.
INTRIGUING: Dustin Greenwell, St. Francis (IL)
While Greenwell wasn’t really known much during his career he has shown better athleticism than those higher than him on the list with a sub 4.7 40, 39 ½ inch vertical, 10’1 broad jump, 4.65 short shuttle, and solid 24 bench reps at 6’3 ½, 235 pounds. He should get a contract after the draft.
SMALL SCHOOL TE/H-BACK RANKINGS
|Pos||Pos Rank||First Name||Last Name||School||HT||WT||40 Time||Rd. Proj.|
|1||Joseph “Joe Don”||Duncan||Dixie State||6025||268||4.72/4.77||5th-6th|
|11||Dustin||Greenwell||St. Francis (IL)||6034||235||4.69/4.70||Tryout|
|2||Reginald “Reggie”||Jordan||Missouri Western State||6027||239||4.65/4.73||7th-PFA|
1. A.C. Leonard, Tennessee State
At 6’2 3/8 248 pounds he lacks the size for many to put him at tight end but he can flat out run (4.5 40) and has very good hands. The former Florida State transfer was perhaps the best tight end in FCS the last two years. The off field concerns are why he is rated as low as he is. However, the two-time FCS All-American is certainly among the best athletes at his position with a 34 inch vertical, 10’8 broad jump, 4.40 short shuttle, and 20 bench reps.
2. Reggie Jordan, Missouri Western State
I really think some scouts have him as a 6th-7th round value while others have him as a free agent because he lacks ideal size (6’3, 239) but he is a decent blocker and has very good hands. His strength for his size as well as ability to haul in crazy catches could get him taken in the late rounds. Being a tweener is the one thing keeping him from being a top 150 pick at this point. Jordan is a two-time All-MIAA selection who had 366 yards and four touchdowns in 2013.