Prospect Pick’Em: Tight Ends

The NFL Draft is arguably the most important and most anticipated period of the offseason. The Titans are in dire need of once again nailing a draft class that provides instant impact rookies.

Over the last two years, Tennessee has failed to get significant contributions from the majority of its last two draft classes.

The importance is now amplified for this team to add impact rookies in this draft class if they’re finally going to take that next step this fanbase is yearning for.

Over the next eight weeks, we will be giving you all a chance to vote on which prospects you would choose if the choice was yours. Each week we will provide a little background information on four different prospects from the same position group and then a poll will be posted so you all can vote on which prospect you’re leaning towards.

This week, we’ll continue with arguably the teams biggest need: Tight Ends

TE Trey McBride, Colorado State

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 246 pounds

Hand size: 10 1/8”

Bench Press: 18 reps 

Vertical Jump: 33”

Broad Jump: 117”

Collegiate Accomplishments:

  • 40 games played
  • 164 Career Receptions
  • 2100 receiving yards 
  • An average of 12.8 yards per catch
  • 10 Touchdowns
  • Unanimous All-American (2021)
  • 2× first-team All-Mountain West (20192021)
  • Second-team All-Mountain West (2020)
  • John Mackey Award Winner
  • Led all FBS tight ends in receptions (90), yards (1,121), and yards per game (93.4) in 2021
  • McBride’s yardage total of 1,121 was the fifth-most in a single season by an FBS tight end and the most in Mountain West history

Brief Background 

Trey McBride is a Two-way tight end with the size, strength, and ball skills to help impact games in-line and in space. McBride has plenty of room for improvement at the point of attack but possesses the skill set, frame, and determination to develop into a true in-line blocker. 

McBride has the potential to be a massive weapon in the passing game. He can consistently win with his savvy route-running and body control to box out defenders on those 50/50 balls. 

The Colorado State product produced an all-time season in his final collegiate campaign. In 12 games, he tallied 1,125 yards on 91 catches, which was over a third of Colorado State’s passing yardage this season. 

TE Jalen Wydermyer, Texas A&M

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 255 pounds

Hand Size: 9 3/4”

*Workout numbers expected at Pro Day*

Collegiate Accomplishments:

  • 34 games played 
  • 118 Career Receptions
  • 1,468 receiving yards
  • An average of 12.4 yards per catch
  • 16 Touchdowns
  • 3× Second team All-SEC (2019–2021)
  • Freshman All-American 
  • 2021 Mackey Award Finalist
  • Led the Aggies and was second among SEC tight ends with 515 receiving yards for the 2021 season
  • second on the team with four touchdown receptions in 2021
  • Shattered Texas A&M’s all-time touchdown record by a tight end (previously was 10)

Brief Background

Physically, Wydermyer is exactly what you want at the tight end position with an ideal frame and athleticism. He shows flashes as a consistent blocker due to his size, but he lacks technique and his fundamentals will need to be polished if he’s going to survive at the next level.

The Texas A&M product offers a huge catch radius to give his quarterback an easy target as a pass catcher. Wydermyer has good body control and displays confident hands with his willingness to pluck the ball out of the air rather than rely on his body.

Wydermyer is a good route-runner, showing suddenness at the top of the stem and good flexibility to open up and change direction. He  is a legitimate playmaker at the tight end position whose game has the potential to flourish to the next level once he’s around NFL coaching full-time.

The All-SEC tight end may not be a day-1 plug and play starter right out the gate, but he has all the traits to possibly become a dominant professional tight end in the near future. 

TE Jeremy Ruckert, Ohio State

Height: 6’5”

Weight: 250 pounds 

Hand Size: 10 1/8”

Bench Press: 19 reps

Collegiate Accomplishments

  • 45 games played
  • 54 career Receptions
  • 615 receiving yards
  • An average of 11.2 yards per catch
  • 12 touchdowns 

Brief Background

Jeremy Ruckert is a willing and able blocker with nastiness to his game. His play strength holds up when blocking edge-defenders from in-line positions, while his mean streak is on full display when he aims to seek and destroy smaller defenders. 

This occasionally causes him to get sloppy with his technique which often leads to missed kill-shots rather than just sticking to his fundamentals.

Nonetheless, more often than not, Ruckert is a tone-setting run blocker who also shows the ability to win when asked to pass-set on play-action concepts.

In the passing game, Ruckert is not an overwhelming athlete who’s going to dominate in the passing game upon his arrival.

However, he showed that he has a cerebral understanding of the position in its entirety and understands how to use his skillset and frame to his advantage.

Ruckert also consistently stays friendly to the quarterback when working against zone coverage, knowing to not drift and stay within the throwing lane so he can find the soft spot in the zone. 

Unfortunately,, his route tree is rather limited at the moment because Ohio State’s offense prefers to run its passing attack through their wide receivers.

TE Cade Orton, Washington

Height: 6’5”

Weight: 247 pounds

Hand Size: 9 1/2”

Collegiate Accomplishments

  • 39 games played
  • 91 career Receptions
  • 1,026 receiving yards
  • Nine touchdowns
  • An average of 11.3 yards per catch
  • First-team All-Pac-12 (2020)
  • 2020 John Mackey Award Semifinalist

Brief Background 

Cade Otton is an instinctive route-runner with quick feet and a great feel for being deceptive with his speeds within the route. He has confident, sudden, and reliable hands that he trusts to fully extend in order to catch passes away from his frame. 

Otton is skilled and athletic enough to win against man or zone coverages. He consistently demonstrated a cognitive understanding of how to use his versatility to his advantage by aligning all over the field. 

The Washington tight end lacks elite separation quickness at the top of the route but does a good job using his frame to help him box out defenders to win 50-50 balls.

As is expected with all tight ends out of Washington, Otton excelled as a run blocker and did so with adequate technique, punishing physicality, and precise timing. 

Although, the former Washington product will need to improve his play strength and temper his aggression levels to better execute his blocking assignments at the next level.

Otton has some nastiness and tenacity to him in the run game that can become an issue at the next level if not honed in. He needs to be calculated with his physicality rather than reckless with it. 

Author: Shaun CalderonShaun Calderon resides in El Paso, TX after graduating from the University of Texas at El Paso in December 2019 with a Bachelors of Science degree in Kinesiology and a minor in education. Shaun is currently a full-time teacher and is also pursuing a career in the sports journalism world. He has been writing since August of 2019, where he started with the Fansided network and contributed there for one year. In August of 2020, Shaun was offered the chance to move over to USA Today Sports’ NFL Wire network to contribute for ‘Titans Wire’ where he was consistently featured on national platforms such as Bleacher Report, Yahoo Sports, MSN, USA Today, and more. On top of teaching and writing, Shaun does live radio reporting for local high school sports through the ESPN-El Paso network. He hopes you all enjoy his content as much as he enjoys creating it.

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