NFL scouting combine: Top TE standouts

Jerell Adams was among the tight ends to produce strong performances at the combine. How did he and the others grade during the season?

| 8 months ago
(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

NFL scouting combine: Top TE standouts

Players’ collegiate production and on-field performance is the most important part of evaluating prospects in the run-up to the draft, but the combine can at least alter perceptions and cause some players to move higher or lower on draft boards. Whether it leads people astray or not, there will be players that make or lose money based on the numbers they put up in Indianapolis.

How did the top performers in Saturday’s TE workouts grade out according to PFF this season? Let’s take a look:

1. Jerell Adams, South Carolina

This is not a tight end class blessed with super-athletes, but arguably the best performance of the group in Indy came from Adams. His 4.66-second 40-yard dash time was the fastest posted, and his 10-yard split was among the best. He also checked in with prototypical size for the position at 6-foot-5, 247 pounds. Adams this season graded positively at PFF, but it was almost entirely as a run-blocker; he earned ninth-best grade in the nation, including many players who were blocking specialists in run-heavy offenses.

Adams did catch 28 passes, scored three times and broke 10 tackles after the catch, but he also dropped five balls over the season and was only average as a receiving threat. He is a mid-round prospect in this draft, but in a weak TE class he may have raised his stock a little based on solid workout numbers.

2. Austin Hooper, Stanford

Hooper is seen by many as the second-best TE in this class behind Hunter Henry from Arkansas (who did not work out). At 10 and 5/8 inches, his hands were the biggest of any TE measured, and he has shown the ability to make spectacular catches at Stanford, but he also posted a solid 4.73 40 time at 254 pounds.

This season Hooper was one of only seven TEs in the country to post solid positive grades as both a receiver and a run-blocker. He caught 63 percent of the passes thrown his way, as well as six touchdowns, but did have five drops to his name. Hooper was solid if unspectacular for Stanford, but did at least show in his workouts that he has a greater athletic profile than many will have been expecting, and does have the potential to justify his status as the second-best prospect at his position.

3. Devon Cajuste, Stanford

Cajuste was a wideout for Stanford, but at 6-foot-4 and 234 pounds is being seen by many as a tight end, especially in today’s league of “move” tight ends for whom blocking is often optional. His 40 time of 4.63 is relatively pedestrian for a wide receiver, but would be the fastest time recorded by a TE at the combine. His vertical, broad jump, 3-cone and short-shuttle times were also all excellent, and paint the picture of an athletic player who needs to be used in the passing game.

This season his grade was far from stellar, as he failed to dominate out wide and was thrown at only 41 times over the season. He caught 66 percent of his passes, and did manage to make some staggeringly impressive grabs.

| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN.

  • bill jaffe

    having seen all 3 play multiple times, im glad they did well at the combinel