This week, we will be reviewing some of what we saw and heard about the 2016 NFL Combine from Indianapolis, and how some of it might or might not apply to the Jets. In our first installment, we reviewed the running backs. Next up: the tight ends.
It looks like it could be a disappointing class (again) of tight ends, thanks to the proliferation of spread offenses in college. Few at the college ranks are grooming the next Jason Witten or Heath Miller due to the changing nature of the game. As a result, athletes are being re-routed to other positions and what remain are big-bodied receivers or under-athletic blocker types.
Only nine of the 15 tight ends ran the 40-yard dash, with several opting due to health concerns. Notables Tyler Higbee, Jake McGee and Hunter Henry did none of the on-field workouts, while Stephen Anderson only participated in the vertical and broad jumps. With so few prospects choosing not to participate in agility drills, I am dubious of this group. Not many players stood out positively or negatively, but here are a few who did.
Ben Braunecker (Harvard)
6-foot-4, 240 pounds | 4.73-second 40-yard dash | 121-inch broad jump | 35.5-inch vertical leap
The first would have to be Braunecker out of Harvard. Braunecker tested out in the 78th percentile, best among tight ends at the Combine and might have raised his draft stock with his showing there.
Bryce Williams (ECU)
6-foot-5, 260 pounds | 4.94-second 40-yard dash | 110-inch broad jump | 29.5-inch vertical leap
I was hoping for a solid 40 time from Williams, but after clocking a 4.9 and looking stiff in drills, I don't expect he will be moving out of the seventh round or undrafted areas on many NFL draft boards.
Nick Vannett (Ohio State)
6-foot-5, 256 pounds | 110-inch broad jump | 30.5-inch vertical leap
While he didn't run the 40-yard dash, Vannett looked good in his measurements, the gauntlet drill and the agility tests he took. Funnily, the NFL Network crew placed his measurements next to those of the Carolina Panthers' Greg Olsen, who was on hand to watch the tight ends.