Bennett, Finley, Ingram, Pettigrew fill out impressive top eight
A tight end class void of depth has suddenly become a lot stronger. Prior to any juniors declaring for the draft, the top tier of the position consisted of four highly regarded seniors – well-rounded John Carlson (Notre Dame), Mackey Award winner Fred Davis (USC), ferocious H-back Dustin Keller (Purdue) and reliable receiver Martin Rucker (Missouri).
A quartet of equally intriguing juniors has suddenly stacked the position at least eight deep. A brief synopsis profiles each member of this early entry class.
Martellus Bennett (Texas A&M) – Freakish athlete. At 6-6, 275-pounds, runs routes with the agility of a wide receiver. Light on his feet and has the frame to develop into a monstrous blocker.
Is he a good teammate? Is he selfish? Drama ensued after Bennett stayed home vs. Nebraska to nurse an ankle injury. Did not watch or listen to the game, insinuating that he wasn’t interested in his team. Allegedly said that it didn’t matter since he was going to the NFL anyway. Statement was never verified and entire story may have been overblown.
Jermichael Finley (Texas) – Flashes exceptional speed and downfield ability. Adjusts well to poorly thrown balls.
Too inconsistent. Does not play up to capable speed. Soft off the line and shies away from contact. Route running is perplexing.
Cornelius Ingram (Florida) – Converted quarterback has made tremendous strides in a little over two seasons. Terrific athlete capable of lining up in the slot or out wide. Size-speed ratio creates for mismatches.
Route running could still use some refining. Not used extensively as a blocker and must improve that aspect of his game.
Brandon Pettigrew (Oklahoma State) – Massive target is dangerous after the catch and will run over tacklers. Very soft hands and natural pass catcher.
Used primarily as a blocker, but does not consistently use size to his advantage and needs to show more of a mean streak. Very mechanical and plodding as a receiver.
What’s the word
Opinions on these top eight prospects are all over the board. They each possess tremendous upside, and with pre-draft workouts (Senior Bowl, Combine, etc.) still to come, how this group shakes out will make for an exciting next three months.