Chiefs

Rating the top tight ends in the 2016 NFL Draft

Hunter Henry (right) of Arkansas has the tools to be a very good NFL tight end.
Hunter Henry (right) of Arkansas has the tools to be a very good NFL tight end. The Associated Press

Included in measurables are height, weight, age they turn this year (if available) and 40-yard-dash time.

1. HUNTER HENRY, Arkansas

Measurables: 6-5, 250, 22, 4.66

Bio: Three-year starter who caught 51 passes for 739 yards and three touchdowns in 2015. Declared after true junior season.

Consensus: Did not run or work out at the combine, other than the bench press (13 reps). Posted his 40-time at his pro day. Experienced, productive player with experience in a pro-style system. Has experienced as an attached tight end. Has plus athleticism and good agility. Shows good burst off the line of scrimmage and out of his cuts. Should be able to threaten the seam; has shown the ability to track the ball and make the tough catch. Smooth route runner. Willing blocker; has the quickness to get to the second level. Is not overpowering and could stand to add strength. Has all the tools to be a very good NFL tight end.

Grade: 6.8

2. AUSTIN HOOPER, Stanford

Measurables: 6-4, 254, 4.72

Bio: Two-year starter who caught 34 passes for 438 yards and six touchdowns in 2015. Declared after true junior season.

Consensus: Was a top performer in the 40, bench press (19 reps) and three-cone (7.00). Has large, natural hands (10  5/8 ). Has experience in a pro-style system. Good burst off the line of scrimmage with above-average athleticism. Shows some run-after-the-catch quickness. Needs to refine his route-running; sometimes rounds routes off. Occasionally split out wide. Shows the ability to make tough, contested catches (USC ’15). Willing blocker who has the athleticism to get to the second level. Gives good effort as a blocker and has adequate bulk, just needs to jeep getting stronger.

Grade: 6.6

3. NICK VANNETT, Ohio State

Measurables: 6-6, 257, 4.85

Bio: One-year starter who caught 19 passes for 162 yards and zero touchdowns in 2015.

Consensus: Did run at the combine but performed well in the 20-yard shuttle (4.20) and 60-yard shuttle (11.50). Not much pass-catching production throughout his career but has functional receiving skills and the size and length to make contested catches. Excellent size for the position. Isn’t a burner but has solid athleticism and won’t be a liability as a receiver. Did plenty of on-the-move blocking and has the size and bulk to be a solid blocker at the NFL level. Also lined up as an inline blocker. Gives great effort in that area; will do the dirty work (ND ’15).

Grade: 6.5

4. JERELL ADAMS, South Carolina

Measurables: 6-5, 247, 24, 4.64

Bio: Two-year starter who caught 28 passes for 421 yards and three touchdowns in 2015.

Consensus: Was a top performer in the 40, 20-yard shuttle (4.31) and 60-yard shuttle (11.52). Has good size and enough athleticism to be a factor after the catch. Has the length to highpoint passes. Needs to refine his route running; isn’t particularly crafty. Was primarily used as in the slot and as an attached tight end. Is not an overpowering blocker but generally gives good effort (Mizzou ’15). Needs to continue to add bulk and strength.

Grade: 6.4

5. THOMAS DUARTE, UCLA

Measurables: 6-2, 231, 21, 4.72

Bio: Two-year starter who caught 53 passes for 872 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2015. Declared after true junior season.

Consensus: Is young for a prospect. Looks the part of an h-back or move tight end. Had a good combine; posted top marks in the 40, vertical (33.5), broad jump (118 inches), three-cone (6.97) and 20-yard shuttle (4.24). Very good athlete who is probably too small to serve as a traditional attached tight end. Might be able to help as a super-sized slot receiver. Good runner after the catch; turns it up when he’s got the ball in his hands. Quick out of his cuts with nice burst. Might not be much of a factor as a blocker but has been a productive receiver in college.

Grade: 6.3

Others to watch: Ben Braunecker, Harvard; Temarrick Hemingway, South Carolina State; Tyler Higebee, Western Kentucky; Beau Sandland, Miami (Fla.); Bryce Williams, East Carolina.

GRADING SCALE

7.5-7.1: Top 10 pick

7.0: 11-20

6.9: 21-32

6.8: Top half of the second

6.7: Bottom half of the second

6.6: Top half of the third

6.5: Bottom half of the third

6.4: Fourth round pick

6.3: Fifth-round pick

6.2: Sixth-round pick

6.1: Seventh-round pick

6.0: Priority free agent

5.9: Nonprospect

NOTE: All rankings are based on a combination of extensive personal film study, interviews conducted with draft analysts and information gleaned from NFL Network draft broadcasts. Evaluations are cross-checked with multiple draft resources. Measurements and testing results are from the combine and pro days, according to NFL.com. Grades are assigned based on where each player could be drafted.

Inside the 2016 NFL Draft: tight ends

From April 10 until the draft begins on Thursday, The Star will take a daily look at each position.

Chiefs’ needs: The Chiefs signed Travis Kelce to a long-term extension this offseason, so the No. 1 tight end position will be solidified for a while. They also signed No. 2 tight end Demetrius Harris to an extension last season and have athletic 2015 fifth-round pick James O’Shaughnessy back in the mix after a foot operation. That said, the tight ends need to do a better job blocking in 2016, and there might be room for a blocking type with reliable hands.

Sleeper: Mississippi State’s De’Runnya Wilson played wide receiver in college, but after running a 4.84 40 at the combine, it’s hard to imagine he’ll stay there. He does have receiving skills and outstanding size (6-5, 224) and length, however.

Local/area prospects: None

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