NFL Draft 2017 - Tight Ends and Fullbacks

It's now time to look at some tight ends and fullbacks in this year's draft. This list is not intended to be exhaustive, so please share analysis, commentary and gifs of your favorite prospects in the comments section.

Jets Needs: Tight Ends

Uhh, yes they need some tight ends.

Currently the team's most experienced pass-catcher at the tight end position is Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Otherwise you have a couple of blocking specialists (Eric Tomlinson and Brian Parker) and a couple of projects yet to make an NFL appearance (Jason Vander Laan and Braedon Bowman).

First round prospects

As discussed earlier, there may not be a wide receiver drafted in the top ten this year. However, the first pass-catcher off the board is likely to be Alabama's OJ Howard, who could be an option for the Jets with the sixth pick.

Howard spent more time as an inline tight end than any of the other top prospects in this year's draft. However, he can be a threat outside or in the slot too because he has excellent measurables. He's also an excellent blocker who perhaps would have put up better numbers on another team, although he still produced well and put up good numbers against top opposition.

Miami's David Njoku is also expected to be picked in the first round. Contrary to Howard, Njoku isn't much of a blocker and does most of his damage out of the slot. His production hasn't been outstanding but you can see what a good athlete he is on film:


It's unlikely three tight ends will go in the first but if another one sneaks in, it would most likely be Evan Engram from Ole Miss. Engram is more of a wideout/TE hybrid and was a legitimate deep threat last year. Perhaps surprisingly, Ole Miss did use him in pass protection quite regularly.

Non-first rounders

Former basketball player Adam Shaheen is a small-school propsect from Ashland, but is regarded as a very good blocker and red zone threat. He had 16 touchdowns in 2016 and showed some good strength at the combine with 24 bench press reps.

South Alabama's Gerald Everett lacks experience but was a dynamic performer last season. He has small hands, but good athletic numbers and was a threat downfield and with the ball in his hands last season:


Everett could be of particular interest to the Jets because they've picked up two tight end projects from South Alabama in recent years (Bowman and Wes Saxton) and Everett is superior to both. However, the link there might be Jets assistant Robby Brown who was with the team while Saxton and Bowman were there, but not while Everett was.

Virginia's Bucky Hodges, another player with an excellent combination of size and athleticism, and Michigan's Jake Butt, a more conventional tight end coming off a serious injury, are also day two candidates.

Jordan Leggett from Clemson is one of the more high-profile names expected to go in the mid-rounds. For much of the year he was getting late round grades but he's a solid possession option who works well out of the slot. Below is a big play from early on in the FSU game, but it was later on - with three clutch catches for 70 yards and a score on the late game-winning drive - that he really showed his value.


Iowa's George Kittle could be a good option for a team looking for a blocking specialist, but he's actually also got some athletic potential because he put up some outstanding numbers at his pro day and the combine. He ended up with the top SPARQ rating out of this entire tight end class.

By far the best fullback prospect this year is Virginia Tech's Sam Rogers. Rogers can run, block and catch passes. He isn't a great athlete and lacks the size of your prototypical blocking back, but he's a hard-nosed football player that doesn't seem to make many mistakes.

Late round sleepers

Toledo's Michael Roberts is big and slow but has massive hands and is a useful safety valve and red zone option. He was regarded as a poor blocker, but has really improved in that area and it could potentially become a strength at the pro level. Here he uses his size to make a clutch third down grab:


Speaking of red zone options, Billy Brown from Shepherd could be an interesting pick-up with that specific role in mind. He's 6'3" and 254 but is so athletic that he worked with the receivers at the East-West Shrine Game and was apparently unstoppable on fade routes in practice.

In terms of a sleeper at the fullback position, Idaho's Trent "Buck" Cowan could be an option. He played most of the season at tight end and was a productive receiver which could enable him to bring much needed versatility to the position.

Jeremy Sprinkle from Arkansas is another in-line type with size and length that can pass protect or catch passes underneath.


Jonnu Smith from FIU is an interesting story, bouncing back from an incident where his pregnant girlfriend poured boiling water over his head to become a possible sleeper prospect who can block and catch passes and has a 38" vertical leap.

However, this year's best story might be Fordham's Phazahn Odom who was struggling badly at his pro day only to discover it was because he hadn't realized his eyesight was so bad. Now that's been corrected, perhaps the 6'8" Odom has a shot at becoming a real-life version of Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn.

Let's have your views in the comments! Who is overrated, who is underrated and who did we not mention that interests you?