1. DANIEL GRAHAM
Colorado (6-3, 245; 4.72)
Strengths: Excellent hands, mobility and athleticism. Really dangerous in the open field once he catches the ball. Can even be used out wide at times and is a good in-line blocker. Smooth and fluid athlete who can get downfield and beat LBs. Very productive and really wants the ball in crunch time.
Weaknesses: Not many weaknesses. Size and speed only rank as average and has had some fumbling problems on rare occasions after making the catch.
Bottom Line: Definite first-round pick and the most complete TE in this draft.
2. JEREMY SHOCKEY
Miami (Fla.) (6-6, 244; 4.73)
Strengths: Great frame and very athletic, possessing tremendous speed for the position. Maybe the stickiest hands in the nation at the TE position, able to snatch the back of the ball out of the air, a la Chris Carter. Very good tackle-breaker in the open field, possessing top RAC skills. Really knows how to get open and was productive against the best competition in the country. Above-average position blocker.
Weaknesses: Not much of a drive blocker and doesn't hold up well against strong players at the point. Must put on 10-15 pounds of muscle and lacks a lot of experience, starting just one season at the DI-A level.
Bottom Line: First-round talent who should be an immediate impact player as a receiver and has the potential to be tremendous in this role. However, until he becomes a better run blocker, he won't be considered a true blue-chip TE.
3. JERRAMY STEVENS
Washington (6-7, 265; 4.69)
Strengths: Absolutely huge, but displays the athleticism and agility of a WR. Catches the ball with his hands and can outjump LBs and DBs for the ball. Fabulous at blocking down and releasing into the flats. Fine body control for a man of his stature and can be a an excellent directional blocker when he puts his mind to it. Can get downfield like 225-pound TEs and adjusts to poorly thrown balls well.
Weaknesses: Off-the-field incidents are clearly the biggest concerns with Stevens. You have to wonder if it's simply immaturity or if he's got serious problems. Sat out the first half of the Huskies' season-opener against Michigan as punishment for an offseason incident in which police say he ran his truck into a retirement home. Also pleaded guilty in June to misdemeanor hit-and-run and was ordered to complete 240 hours of community service. Earlier, he was cleared of sexual assault charges after being arrested and jailed overnight. In 1998, was reportedly charged with two counts of assault after a fight. Also spent three weeks in jail after a drug test administered under terms of his house arrest turned up THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Despite his superior size, is not overpowering at the point in run-blocking. Missed two months of the season with a broken foot. Average route-runner and needs to pay much more attention to detail and display the desire to be a great player.
Bottom Line: Physically, Stevens is the prototype and should rank as a surefire first-round pick, possessing more ability than either Graham or Shockey. However, injuries and off-the-field problems cloud the way some teams will view his draft stock.
4. DARNELL SANDERS
Ohio State (6-5, 265; 4.72)
Strengths: Tremendous size, athletic ability and speed for the position. Has the build of an NBA power forward and is a fluid athlete who can get downfield and adjust to the poorly thrown ball. Tries hard as an in-line blocker and the potential is there, but more work has to be done in this area. Possesses nice body control and can go up high and catch the ball in traffic.
Weaknesses: Will try to trap the ball against his body at times. Is a bit of a finesse blocker, choosing to hand-fight and push his opponent instead of locking on and being physical. Looks a bit thin in the lower body, which is the source of driving-blocking power. Stands too straight up in pass-blocking, which results in leverage problems.
Bottom Line: Intriguing prospect who, like Stevens, has the potential to be as good as he wants to be. However, currently he's more potential than production.
5. DEREK SMITH
Kentucky (6-6, 262; 4.70)
Strengths: Regarded as the best athlete on the Kentucky squad, which is incredibly rare for a TE. Prototype size and big, soft hands. Can be lined up as a traditional TE or moved outside as a fourth option WR. Very difficult for LBs to handle one-on-one. Consistent and productive for two seasons in the SEC. Hard worker and has gained more than 25 pounds of muscle since entering Kentucky.
Weaknesses: In-line blocking is clearly his biggest weakness as he not does not have a lot of experience in the area and is not real strong at the point. Must increase his upper- and lower-body strength. Below-average route-runner but is great at finding dead spots in zones.
Bottom Line: Arguably the best athlete among the group and in the right system could become a Tony Gonzalez-type pass-catching TE.
6. CHRIS BAKER
Michigan St. (6-3, 259; 4.72)
Bottom Line: Underrated player who could become a good starter.
7. RANDY McMICHAEL
Georgia (6-4, 234; 4.68)
Bottom Line: The team that takes McMichael will have to be patient, as he's currently too light to play regularly as an NFL TE. However, the upside is there for McMichael to become an excellent pass catcher.
8. TRACEY WISTROM
Nebraska (6-4, 242; 4.81)
Bottom Line: Athletically, he's not in Smith's, Sanders' or McMichael's league, but don't discard Wistrom's ability to split zones and get downfield.