By Ryan Mayer
The tight end position has become another expected pass catcher in almost every NFL offense. In that respect, tight ends today are often more athletic than their counterparts in past years. This year’s group will get a chance to light up the scoreboard in Indianapolis today, here are the best tight end performances in each drill we’ve seen.
40 yard dash- Vernon Davis TE Maryland 2006- Davis was one of the first of this new generation of freak athleticism tight ends to enter the league and he wowed scouts in 2006 with a 4.38 time in the 40. Combined with a 42-inch vertical and a 10’8″ broad jump, Davis became a top 10 pick when the 49ers took him 6th overall. He’s gone on to catch 461 passes for 5,841 yards and 55 touchdowns.
Bench Press- Orson Charles TE Georgia 2012- Charles impressed scout with 35 reps on the bench during his combine performance and was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 4th round (116th overall). The Bengals already has Jermaine Gresham and drafted Tyler Eifert in 2013, so Charles was a blocking tight end/full back for most of his two years with the Bengals. He was released following the 2013 season and got picked up by the New Orleans Saints but didn’t appear in a game in 2014.
Vertical Jump- Dorin Dickerson TE Pittsburgh 2010- Dickerson was a versatile player in college playing a year at linebacker, some time at fullback and two years at the tight end spot. He entered the draft as a tight end and showed off impressive athleticism at the combine with a 43.5-inch vertical, 4.40 seconds in the 40, 24 reps on the bench and a 10’5″ broad jump. That didn’t help his draft stock much as he was taken in the 7th round (227th overall) by the Texans. He’s since bounced around to the Patriots, Bills, Lions and Titans in 5 professional seasons.
Broad Jump- Michael Egnew TE Missouri 2012- Egnew had a very productive final two years at Missouri with 140 catches for 1,285 yards and 8 touchdowns which had people intrigued about his ability. He shined at the combine with his 10’11” broad jump, 36-inc vertical and 4.62 time in the 40. That and his college production led to him being taken in the 3rd round (78th overall) by the Miami Dolphins. He was never able to make his mark with the team making just 5 starts and playing in 18 games over two seasons. He’s bounced around practice squads and training camps since.
3-cone drill- Dennis Pitta TE BYU 2010- Pitta was a very productive tight end in college at BYU with 221 catches for 2,901 yards and 21 TD’s in his four year career. He went to Indianapolis and ran a position group record 6.72 in the 3-cone drill showing off his agility. The Baltimore Ravens picked him in the 4th round (114th overall) in the 2010 draft. He had a good sophomore and junior season in the NFL before being hampered by injuries each of the past three seasons. After two hip dislocations, his career may be cut short, though he hasn’t officially retired yet.
20 yard shuttle- Tony Scheffler TE Western Michigan 2006- Scheffler ran a 4.01 in this drill in 2006 and was one of the top tight ends in that draft, being taken in the 2nd round (61st overall) by the Denver Broncos. He went on to play eight years in the league with the Broncos and Lions, finishing in 2013 with 258 catches for 3,207 yards and 22 touchdowns.
60 yard shuttle- Garrett Mills TE Tulsa 2006- Mills was another of the tight ends in that stacked 2006 draft at the position and he left his name on the record books at the combine with a 11.05 time in this drill. He was taken by the Patriots in the 4th round (106th overall) and played four years with the Vikings, Eagles, Bengals and Patriots. He last played in 2011.
Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him.