Don't sleep on these two TE prospects
PFF’s team of draft analysts has spent the past weeks and months putting together their overall draft board and positional prospect rankings, in preparation for the 2016 NFL draft.
In doing so, PFF has identified players at each position who qualify either as potential sleeper prospects, based on where these players are showing up on most evaluators’ draft boards.
Here are two sleeper prospects among this year’s tight end class:
- Thomas Duarte, UCLA
Is he a receiver? Is he a tight end? I don’t care, I want him catching passes for my team. Duarte was purely a slot receiver at UCLA with only a handful of snaps as a traditional tight end. So while he technically wasn’t a tight end, Duarte still tallied 871 yards and 10 touchdowns en route to a higher receiving grade than any tight end in this class. The suddenness in Duarte’s routes is unrivaled by any tight end in this class and he consistently had safeties biting on his double moves. At 6-2, 231 pounds he’ll never be a blocking threat, but if he can improve to the point where he’s not a complete liability, Duarte will be a matchup nightmare.
- David Morgan, UTSA
Let’s flip to the complete opposite end of the spectrum from Duarte to one a man that leaves little doubt to his position at the next level. Morgan will line up next to a tackle snap after snap and when a run is called, coaches won’t worry about lining him up across from a 280 pounds defensive end. Morgan checks in at 6-4, 262 pounds and put up a ridiculous 29 reps of 225 pounds at the combine. He was PFF’s highest-graded run blocking tight end in college football a year ago and it wasn’t even close. If that were all he could do, Morgan would be borderline draftable, but he also had the fourth-highest receiving grade of any FBS tight end last year as well. His speed is non-existent, but he has the shake and route running ability to create separation on option routes underneath. Once you get to the later rounds, few players offer much in the way of starting ability but with Morgan you know he can succeed in a certain role.