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From the Hart: Breaking down the TEs

The 2012 NFL Draft is a little more than two weeks away. The Combine and Pro Day workouts are complete. Players are making visits to teams and doing individual workouts.


And the PFW boys have concluded breaking down the video tape on hundreds of prospects at the various positions.

Before the teams actually begin making their selections on April 26, I get the chance to voice my views on the players at the various positions. Today that means a look at the tight ends.

In my opinion the tight end crop in this year's draft isn't nearly as good as it's been in some recent years. In fact, I don't think there is a single guy worthy of a first-round selection. But there are some athletes who could help NFL teams looking to add to the position that's become quite en vogue in recent years thanks to the explosion of guys like Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham.

According to our friends over at as many as 19 tight ends could be drafted, but up to 16 of those may not hear their names called until the fourth round or later.

So, here are one man's views of the lackluster, limited tight ends available in this April's draft:

1 – Coby Fleener, Stanford: Fleener is the top prospect at the position and the type of athlete who'll make a lot of plays in the NFL. Despite being named after Redskins Hog Joe Jacoby, Fleener isn't going to make his money as a blocker. He's got the speed and quickness to make plays in the middle of the field and turn them into YAC. He should be a very good second-round pick, but will likely be overdrafted and end up in the first-round.

2 – Orson Charles, Georgia: Charles is a productive, fluid athlete with good hands who adjusts well to the ball in the air. He has some off-field issues, but can make plays in the passing game.

3 – Dwayne Allen, Clemson: Some have compared Allen to former Patriots soft-handed, big-bodied tight end Alge Crumpler. I don't think Allen is that good. He's a decent athlete who shows good effort and solid hands. Not likely to be an NFL star, but Allen could be a productive pro.

4 – Ladarius Green, Louisiana-Lafayette: Green is a tall, lean, productive force at a little bit of a lower level of competition. He could have a future as a mid-round prospect.

5 – Michael Egnew, Missouri: Egnew is the most productive guy in this group with 90 catches two years ago working with now-Jaguar Blaine Gabbert. Not as quick or smooth an athlete as is desirable, but does have strong hands and fights for the ball.

6 – DeAngelo Peterson, LSU: Peterson is a converted wide receiver. He's essentially a pass catcher who didn't have a lot of catches for the Tigers. But he does have potential thanks to good speed and decent hands.

7 – Kevin Koger, Michigan: I like Koger as a true, all-around tight end prospect. He was a captain and leading receiver at Michigan (w/ just 23 catches). He has a big frame and versatile skills as a possible No. 2 or No. 3 tight end in the NFL.

8 – Brian Linthicum, Michigan State: Linthicum has a good frame (6-4, 249) with good strength. He had decent production and OK hands as a later round guy.

9 – Cory Harkey, UCLA: Harkey has a big, thick body and could be used as a blocker at the next level. Though he lumbers when he runs – with a 5.11 40 time that's like an offensive lineman's – Harkey does have soft hands.

What do you think of my list and breakdowns? Who do you think I left off that deserved a spot? Let us know with a comment below!

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