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1. Travis Kelce, KC
-----------
2. George Kittle, SF
-----------
3. Mark Andrews, BAL
-----------
4. Zach Ertz, PHI
5. Darren Waller, LV
6. Evan Engram, NYG
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7. Hayden Hurst, ATL
8. Jared Cook, NO
9. Tyler Higbee, LAR
----------------
10. Hunter Henry, LAC
11. Austin Hooper, CLE
-------------------
12. Jonnu Smith, TEN
13. T.J. Hockenson, DET
14. Noah Fant, DEN
15. Dallas Goedert, PHI
-------------------
16. Mike Gesicki, MIA
17. Rob Gronkowski, TB
18. Eric Ebron, PIT
19. Jack Doyle, IND
20. Blake Jarwin, DAL
21. Ian Thomas, CAR
22. OJ Howard, TB
-------------------
23. Dawson Knox, BUF
24. Chris Herndon, NYJ
25. Jace Sternberger, GB
26. Irv Smith, MIN

Notes: 
Kelce- As bankable as can be.
Kittle- Almost as bankable as can be.
Andrews- Could topple Kelce as TE1, but could fall as well. The Ravens offense has a lot to live up to.
Ertz- Targets galore, but disappears some weeks.
Waller- Started like a ball of fire, but did not sustain. Renfro and newer young targets hurt his ceiling.
Engram- The sky's the limit, but he hasn't been able to stay healthy.
HHurst- I've ranked him at his likely ceiling. He might be more talented than Hooper, and Ryan loved throwing to him.
JCook- Also ranked at his ceiling, but unless Old Man Sanders lasts 16 games, Cook should be Brees' #3 target. Loves the end zone.
Higbee- Has shown flashes, and with Cooks now a Texan, Higbee may get more targets. But Goff is so inconsistent.
HHenry- Injury history and uninspiring QB prospects limit him.
Hooper- So, so sad that he left that good thing he and Ryan had going in Atlanta. So many mouths to feed in Cleveland.
JSmith- Ranked him conservatively. He has talent, opportunity and QB to reach top 5, but things would have to go perfectly.
Hockenson- If he begins to master all phases of his game, Stafford and him start to click, look out.
Fant- See Hock above, except Lock.
Goedert- Talented, but the situation with so many other options for the Eagles is not ideal.
Gesicki- Might flash here and there, but Dolphins O is still not at all prolific enough to make him a top TE.
Gronk- His ceiling might be the tier above. Could make noise. Must consider the risk of total flame-out and midyear IR/retirement.
Ebron- Also could reach top 15, if Ben and he click like Heath Miller did for part of a season a few years ago.
Doyle- Maybe Rivers can light this candle.
Jarwin- Could have a high TD/target ratio. Three WRs will demand a vast number of targets.
IThomas- Not a great situation. Will be a part of a low volume passing game.
OJ- Maybe Brady is able to release this monster, and he'll be top 12. But probably not.
Knox- Looks good. Also has a good ceiling if Bills O clicks.
Herndon- Muscle-puller extraordinaire
Sternberger- He could replace Jimmy Graham's production, which is not a high target. Top 15 possible if everything works in Green Bay.
Irv Smith- Targets are freed up in Minnesota, but he has to work past Rudolph and a run-first offense. Could break out.

 


 

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Higbee is going to lose people their leagues.

He is significantly less talented than Goedert, Fant, Jonnu, Hock, Gesicki (who is definitely too low) and Ian Thomas.

No way am I taking him before any of those guys

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2 hours ago, mocha4313 said:

Higbee is going to lose people their leagues.

He is significantly less talented than Goedert, Fant, Jonnu, Hock, Gesicki (who is definitely too low) and Ian Thomas.

No way am I taking him before any of those guys

Would you mind explaining this?

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47 minutes ago, BMcP said:

Would you mind explaining this?

Higbee is a prospect with a really awful athletic profile (something very important for TEs) who broke out at 22 (really really late) despite being the starter before that at a small school.

Then he was drafted in day 3 by the Rams--who, one year later after a zero rookie year (expected for TEs so not a big part of my case against him) went on to select a better prospect with higher draft capital in Gerald Everett and then trade for Brandin Cooks and decide not to feature TEs altogether.

Still that new TE Everett outproduced him despite having less volume for two full years (his rookie and sophomore year and Higbee's sophomore and 3rd year) and half of another

Then after a nearly full season of Higbee's usual production the Rams once high powered offense based on 3 WR sets is now a joke with an awful OL unable to protect an average to below average QB who is also awful when pressured and clear lanes for a once star RB now devoid of any burst--forcing short passes.

For most of the year this helped Cooper Kupp (Goff's longtime favorite target and producer) with Gurley now running like an old man and hurt deep ball specialist Brandin Cooks.

Then...Kupp mysteriously had his snap count tank. I think this was a result of his knee flaring up from ACL surgery the year prior. Maybe not but whatever it was--it is not something I am counting on happening again

From the eye test Higbee was wide open and uncovered on so many of his plays last year as well

Then came the draft..with their first two picks: The Rams go RB and WR--the positions through which their offense has run through from the beginning as they rose to success, and draft another TE more athletic and with better prospect pedigree than Higbee with equal capital specialized as a pass catcher with poor blocking as a knock on him

 

Ultimately it comes down to this:

I am having a hard time coming up with why a team who went all in only to be done by week 12 last year whose bread and butter has been running their offense (with success) through 3 WR sets and a stud RB started force-feeding an unathletic TE with day 3 capital who did jack--it for over 3 and a half years.

Maybe it was a permanent scheme change (unlikely IMO), maybe it was cuz he was white and looked like Kupp to confuse defenses, maybe it was Kupp's knee or Gurley's uselessness

I'll tell you what it wasn't though: talent

And when the defense starts to account for him this will be pretty apparent

 

And when possible I want talented players rather than bad players in good situations--especially when that "good" situation is a team with Jared Goff, a bad OL and a coach who could be a talking head on ESPN in a year--all in the toughest division in football

 

The Rams have a narrow path back to success at this point, and it's less possible if they legitimately think Tyler Higbee is the key and not the 3 skilled WRs, OL capable of giving Goff time and a stud all purpose RB that got them to the top in the first place

Edited by mocha4313
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18 minutes ago, BrianM said:

It feels like a good year to draft two guys in that TE11-15 range and hope for the best. Hooper/Gesicki works.    

 

 

Jonnu / Hurst works much better

Or

You take a major swing for upside

Fant / Hock

Not so sure about Hooper on that loaded Cleveland offense , with Njoku still there. 

 

P.S. Hurst most likely wont be there from the TE 11-15th. So maybe Goedert instead, who has league winning upside if Ertz ever goes down. 

Edited by RunCMC
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I’m all in on Jared Cook. I think he has a legit shot at a top 3 TE year. He’s going to eat in the red zone with teams focusing on Mike Kamara and Sanders.

 

Him and Drew were on a tear to the year. 

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10 minutes ago, mocha4313 said:

Higbee is a prospect with a really awful athletic profile (something very important for TEs) who broke out at 22 (really really late) despite being the starter before that at a small school.

Then he was drafted in day 3 by the Rams--who, one year later after a zero rookie year (expected for TEs so not a big part of my case against him) went on to select a better prospect with higher draft capital in Gerald Everett and then trade for Brandin Cooks and decide not to feature TEs altogether.

Still that new TE Everett outproduced him despite having less volume for two full years (his rookie and sophomore year and Higbee's sophomore and 3rd year) and half of another

Then after a nearly full season of Higbee's usual production the Rams once high powered offense based on 3 WR sets is now a joke with an awful OL unable to protect an average to below average QB who is also awful when pressured and clear lanes for a once star RB now devoid of any burst--forcing short passes.

For most of the year this helped Cooper Kupp (Goff's longtime favorite target and producer) with Gurley now running like an old man and hurt deep ball specialist Brandin Cooks.

Then...Kupp mysteriously had his snap count tank. I think this was a result of his knee flaring up from ACL surgery the year prior. Maybe not but whatever it was--it is not something I am counting on happening again

From the eye test Higbee was wide open and uncovered on so many of his plays last year as well

Then came the draft..with their first two picks: The Rams go RB and WR--the positions through which their offense has run through from the beginning as they rose to success, and draft another TE more athletic and with better prospect pedigree than Higbee with equal capital specialized as a pass catcher with poor blocking as a knock on him

 

Ultimately it comes down to this:

I am having a hard time coming up with why a team who went all in only to be done by week 12 last year whose bread and butter has been running their offense (with success) through 3 WR sets and a stud RB started force-feeding an unathletic TE with day 3 capital who did jack--it for over 3 and a half years.

Maybe it was a permanent scheme change (unlikely IMO), maybe it was cuz he was white and looked like Kupp to confuse defenses, maybe it was Kupp's knee or Gurley's uselessness

I'll tell you what it wasn't though: talent

And when the defense starts to account for him this will be pretty apparent

 

And when possible I want talented players rather than bad players in good situations--especially when that "good" situation is a team with Jared Goff, a bad OL and a coach who could be a talking head on ESPN in a year--all in the toughest division in football

 

The Rams have a narrow path back to success at this point, and it's less possible if they legitimately think Tyler Higbee is the key and not the 3 skilled WRs, OL capable of giving Goff time and a stud all purpose RB that got them to the top in the first place

Can you explain why you dislike the “athletic profile”?  His late breakout leads me to believe the team/coaches hadn’t figured out how best to utilize him before the end of last year.

Edited by BMcP
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2 minutes ago, BMcP said:

Can you explain why you dislike the “athletic profile”?

This is Tyler Higbee's athletic profile (incomplete but not exactly a pretty picture):

https://www.playerprofiler.com/nfl/tyler-higbee/

This is TJ Hockenson:

https://www.playerprofiler.com/nfl/tj-hockenson/

This is Jonnu Smith:

https://www.playerprofiler.com/nfl/jonnu-smith/

This is Mike Gesicki:

https://www.playerprofiler.com/nfl/mike-gesicki/

This is Noah Fant:

https://www.playerprofiler.com/nfl/noah-fant/

 

Again combine drills and athleticism doesn't make you good, but not having that as a plus is a major red flag for a TE

 

Also those guys and Goedert all have offenses with less established targets ahead of them--except maybe Thomas--and the possibility of being the number 2 weapon in the passing offense

 

I really don't see four games when the team was done and desperate being enough to vault Higbee ahead of Woods, Kupp and maybe even Akers if they use him anything like Gurley

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1 minute ago, Breesus said:

I’m all in on Jared Cook. I think he has a legit shot at a top 3 TE year. He’s going to eat in the red zone with teams focusing on Mike Kamara and Sanders.

 

Him and Drew were on a tear to the year. 

 

Really ?? I don’t see that at all, if anything hes due for major TD regression. Sanders in town ... I view that as a negative not a positive. MT13 will obviously get his & Kamara was both hobbled with injuries & missed games last year. Jared’s 2019 campaign was sort of a perfect storm, if you will.  A 33 year old TE out of his prime , I’m having a difficult time envisioning a top 3 finish. 

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24 minutes ago, Breesus said:

I’m all in on Jared Cook. I think he has a legit shot at a top 3 TE year. He’s going to eat in the red zone with teams focusing on Mike Kamara and Sanders.

 

Him and Drew were on a tear to the year. 


I cannot agree with this even one little bit. 

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10 minutes ago, RunCMC said:

 

Really ?? I don’t see that at all, if anything hes due for major TD regression. Sanders in town ... I view that as a negative not a positive. MT13 will obviously get his & Kamara was both hobbled with injuries & missed games last year. Jared’s 2019 campaign was sort of a perfect storm, if you will.  A 33 year old TE out of his prime , I’m having a difficult time envisioning a top 3 finish. 

Drew has always made the TE1 in New Orleans valuable, I think with all the attention on other players and Drew’s accuracy, he has a good shot at 10-15 TD’s this year. 
 

He is 33 but that isn’t too old for TEs. And bloomed later in his career. I think he’s in an amazing situation with an amazing offense. Top 3 is possible, a lot of other late TE’s have upside but not a higher ceiling 

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28 minutes ago, RunCMC said:

 

Jonnu / Hurst works much better

Or

You take a major swing for upside

Fant / Hock

Not so sure about Hooper on that loaded Cleveland offense , with Njoku still there. 

 

P.S. Hurst most likely wont be there from the TE 11-15th. So maybe Goedert instead, who has league winning upside if Ertz ever goes down. 

 

My ideal is Hurst/Gesicki, and it was doable a month or so ago for cheap, but Hurst's ADP shot up.  

Hooper's a guy i will only take if he's there in the 11th/12th round or so, which is usually when i make my double TE move.   I dont really worry about Njoku who's kind of all hype, but i concede that even if Njoku goes on IR before week 1, Hooper isn't a lock.  I feel like Cleveland improves with a coaching upgrade, and he was hand picked.  However his production of late came in a near perfect passing game situation.    He's gotta be low risk/no regrets for me to swing.  

 

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Just now, Breesus said:

Drew has always made the TE1 in New Orleans valuable, I think with all the attention on other players and Drew’s accuracy, he has a good shot at 10-15 TD’s this year. 
 

He is 33 but that isn’t too old for TEs. And bloomed later in his career. I think he’s in an amazing situation with an amazing offense. Top 3 is possible, a lot of other late TE’s have upside but not a higher ceiling 

 

3 minutes ago, Flyman75 said:


I cannot agree with this even one little bit. 

Cook is not a very good player. Prime Jimmy Graham should not count as "someone Brees made valuable" and same for Shockey

Guy has disappointed everywhere he has gone with inconsistency and drops. And Jared Cook has never "bloomed" anywhere

I'd bet on Manny Sanders being a top 15 WR before I would on Cook being a top 3 TE

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8 minutes ago, Breesus said:

Drew has always made the TE1 in New Orleans valuable, I think with all the attention on other players and Drew’s accuracy, he has a good shot at 10-15 TD’s this year. 
 

He is 33 but that isn’t too old for TEs. And bloomed later in his career. I think he’s in an amazing situation with an amazing offense. Top 3 is possible, a lot of other late TE’s have upside but not a higher ceiling 

 

I know your a Saints fan just like myself, but 10-15 TD’s holy mother of god... Brees only threw for 27 touchdowns last year. Even the math don’t add up, besides this being completely impossible. But on a side note, I concur with what Mocha said . Sanders will very lowkey have a great season, him I’m buying everywhere & anywhere. He’s dirt cheap

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3 minutes ago, Flyman75 said:


Hence why I disagreed with him, lol. 

Repeatedly getting stuck with the Jared Cooks of the world who put up 20 points one week and 0 with 2 dropped TDs the next--all to end up with a "TE7" finish--is why I am now okay with going Kelce/Kittle/even Andrews early nowadays

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5 minutes ago, RunCMC said:

 

I know your a Saints fan just like myself, but 10-15 TD’s holy mother of god... Brees only threw for 27 touchdowns last year. Even the math don’t add up, besides this being completely impossible. But on a side note, I concur with what Mocha said . Sanders will very lowkey have a great season, him I’m buying everywhere & anywhere. He’s dirt cheap

I feel like the logic is there. Nothing to do with being a fan. The last 8 weeks when him and Drew played together he had 7 TD’s in 8 games. We have a history dating back to Jeremy Shockey that Drew will make the TE relevant. 
 

I also think Cook gets a bad rap because his good years in his career have came late. I think he’s a very good player 

Edited by Breesus
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2 hours ago, mocha4313 said:

This is Tyler Higbee's athletic profile (incomplete but not exactly a pretty picture):

https://www.playerprofiler.com/nfl/tyler-higbee/

This is TJ Hockenson:

https://www.playerprofiler.com/nfl/tj-hockenson/

This is Jonnu Smith:

https://www.playerprofiler.com/nfl/jonnu-smith/

This is Mike Gesicki:

https://www.playerprofiler.com/nfl/mike-gesicki/

This is Noah Fant:

https://www.playerprofiler.com/nfl/noah-fant/

 

Again combine drills and athleticism doesn't make you good, but not having that as a plus is a major red flag for a TE

 

Also those guys and Goedert all have offenses with less established targets ahead of them--except maybe Thomas--and the possibility of being the number 2 weapon in the passing offense

 

I really don't see four games when the team was done and desperate being enough to vault Higbee ahead of Woods, Kupp and maybe even Akers if they use him anything like Gurley

I’m surprised by the omission of Irv Smith and Ian Thomas in this list.  (NB. I didn’t understand the “Thomas” ref.)

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2 hours ago, mocha4313 said:

Higbee is a prospect with a really awful athletic profile (something very important for TEs) who broke out at 22 (really really late) despite being the starter before that at a small school.

 

I'm going to challenge both of those assumptions.

First of all, I reviewed the results of combine measurements vs TE careers, and out of the combine tests, the relevant ones seem to be 40 and 3cone speeds; and broad and vertical jumps. On the other hand, shuttle, bench and size don't seem to matter at all, or very little.

Then I plotted all TEs who were drafted from 2008-2018 and had combine results for those 4 metrics, and highlighted the most succesful ones:

image.png.06c924746a0981d21ec5b4fad5f75da7.png

The axis are a bit weird. but horizontal you see broadjump times vertical, meaning players plotted to the right have better jumps (let's call it "stronger"); vertical is the 40 times 3 cone results, so lower plots means "faster". Therefore, the relevant athletic profiles should be towards the bottom right, and the "really awful athletic profile" score top left.

Higbee doesn't show up here, because I only have his 40yd time, which is 4.77. That's smack in the middle for TEs, and it's good to note that Hunter Henry, Kyle Rudolph and Jermichael Finley had worse times. Mark Andrews and Zach Ertz also really weren't that great, and Martellus Bennet had a 7.64 on the 3-cone drill, which we can only assume included a trip to the McDonald's (that's really slow).

Regarding "breakout age", I don't have data for that, so I can't rule that out, you could be right. However, I do have the draft age, and while 20yo drafted TEs score considerably better, for 21-24yo there is remarkably little difference. Higbee was drafted at 23, but so were Kelce and Jimmy Graham, and I think they did ok.

So... unfortunately (because I was really looking forward to picking the next great TE that way): nope. I don't think so.

Edited by Boudewijn
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3 minutes ago, Boudewijn said:

 

I'm going to challenge both of those assumptions.

First of all, I did a check and out of the combine type tests, the relevant ones are 40 and 3cone speeds; and broad and vertical jumps. On the other hand, shuttle, bench and size don't seem to matter at all, or very little.

Then I plotted all TEs who were drafted from 2008-2018 and had combine results for those 4 metrics, and highlighted the most succesful ones:

image.png.06c924746a0981d21ec5b4fad5f75da7.png

The axis are a bit weird. but horizontal you see broadjump times vertical, meaning players plotted to the right have better jumps (let's call it "stronger"); vertical is the 40 times 3 cone results, so lower plots means "faster". Therefore, the relevant athletic profiles should be towards the bottom right, and the "really awful athletic profile" score top left.

Higbee doesn't show up here, because I only have his 40yd time, which is 4.77. That's smack in the middle for TEs, and it's good to note that Hunter Henry, Kyle Rudolph and Jermichael Finley had worse times. Mark Andrews and Zach Ertz also really weren't that great, and Martellus Bennet had a 7.64 on the 3-cone drill, which we can only assume included a trip to the McDonald's (that's really slow).

Regarding "breakout age", I don't have data for that, so I can't rule that out, you could be right. However, I do have the draft age, and while 20yo drafted TEs score considerably better, for 21-24yo there is remarkably little difference. Higbee was drafted at 23, but so were Kelce and Jimmy Graham, and I think they did ok.

So... unfortunately (because I was really looking forward to picking the next great TE that way): nope. I don't think so.

Breakout age for TEs isn't like WRs and a lot less predictive because college football's TE usage is really inconsistent and varies--it just means a little more in this case because Higbee was going up against weak competition with pretty good QB play (unlike a lot of small school guys) and a longtime starter, but the only guy you listed in the athleticism department that on face value looking at all drills (Curious to know from where you are picking the drills that are important)

I have 4.8 as Higbee's 40 time. The only TE with an on the face equal profile or worse is Finley--maybe Rudolph but he has a leg up due to a more complete picture (across the board including drills you discarded) and adjusted for size (like speed score, burst score, agility score and catch radius--for which 40 time, shuttle drill, 3 cone time and measurements are considered but adjusted)

 

Ertz and Andrews are interesting. Ertz actually isn't very athletic (still more than Higbee by a good amount though) and has never been a YAC guy because of that but he has a great release (shown in his burst score) that allows separation almost from the spot and hands that catch anything.

Andrews is not an across the board elite athlete and his hands are inconsistent as well either but he is very fast for his size (85th percentile speed score for TEs compared to Higbee's 50th), and produced prolifically in college.

As a whole no a top athletic profile does not guarantee a TE will be great but a bad one is absolutely a penalty.

 

For me personally: when looking at guys in the 15+ range in rankings I start to weigh athleticism quite a bit when considering who is worth a flier--more in dynasty but redraft as well

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Ertz is far more successful versus zone than man - if you’re looking for a Philly TE who succeeds against man, his name is Goedert.

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