Here are the top tight end prospects (with projected round):
1. Maxx Williams, 6-foot-4, 249 pounds, Minnesota (first/second): He entered the NFL draft after his third-year sophomore season. He played in 25 career games and made 61 catches for 986 yards and 13 touchdowns. He averaged 16.2 yards-per-catch. “He’s the premier tight end,” ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said. “I would take Maxx Williams in the second round and feel really good about it.”
2. Clive Walford, 6-4, 251, Miami (second/third): He was a productive pass receiver with 121 catches and 14 touchdowns over his career. His blocking is not a liability.
3. Jesse James, 6-7, 261, Penn State (third/fourth): He played three seasons for the Nittany Lions before he entered the draft early. He had 78 career catches for 1,005 yards and 11 touchdowns.
4. Jeff Heuerman, 6-5, 254, Ohio State (third/fourth): He cracked the starting lineup as a sophomore. He caught 26 passes for 366 yards as a junior. He battled injuries as a senior and had only 17 catches for 207 yards and two touchdowns for the eventual national champions. “He has weight, toughness and strength,” ESPN analyst Mel Kiper said. “He’s going to be a blocker. Most of these tight ends can’t block (and) won’t block. He will, and he’s a tough guy.”
5. Nick O’Leary, 6-3, 252, Florida State (fourth/fifth): He won the John Mackey Award, which goes to the nation’s top tight end, after catching 48 passes for 618 yards and six touchdowns.
Teams in need: Dallas, Denver, Green Bay and Seattle.
Need area for Falcons? Yes. They signed tight ends Jacob Tamme and Tony Moeaki in free agency to go with Levine Toilolo. Tamme, who caught 67 passes in 2010, turned 30 in March. Moeaki has had health issues.
Top 5 seniors for 2016 draft: 1. Dillon Gordon, 6-4, 295, LSU. 2. Kyle Carter, 6-3, 241, Penn State. 3. Nick Vannett, 6-6, 260, Ohio State. 4. Jay Rome, 6-5, 248, Georgia. 5. Caleb Smith, 6-6, 269, Oregon State.
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