2017 Rookie Landing Spots: TEs

Tuesday, May 2, 2017
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Editor’s Note: Be sure to check out other Rookie Landing Spots: RBs Part 1 & Part 2Reception Perception: Round 1 WRs, Round 2 & 3 WRs, and QBs.

O.J. Howard to Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Round 1, Pick 19 (19th Overall)
College Production:

2017 Competition:
1) Cameron Brate

This landing spot has the be one of the most ideal for the first TE taken off the board in the 2017 NFL Draft. O.J. Howard is the best overall end out of all these rookies, and now he will be highlighted in a very stacked Tampa Bay offense. The great thing about Howard is that he lines up as more of an in-line TE, meaning you could see a few two tight end sets with himself and Cameron Brate. I would limit the expectations just for the first few years as there are plenty of mouths to feed now for Jameis Winston with three studs at WR and a great rapport with Cameron Brate from the last offseason. Either way, he should be taken in mid to later rounds of re-draft leagues, and targeted high somewhere in the first round of dynasty leagues. O.J. Howard is going to be a big deal in this league very soon!

Evan Engram to New York Giants

Round 1, Pick 23 (23rd Overall)
College Production:

2017 Competition:
1) Will Tye

What many has said to be a more polished and better route running Jordan Reed, Evan Engram, becomes the second TE taken in the first round of this year’s draft. With such the high selection, the Giants have taken Engram with the hopes of him immediately helping Eli Manning and becoming their starting tight end right away. With great hands, tall frame, and excellent route tree knowledge that was used at his time at Ole Miss, Engram can be very lethal in the passing game. He can be a quick option in the end zone. The only knock on him is that he has a background of being a bit injury prone from his college days and not being able to stay on the field all season long. Perhaps we might have to make a new rule for him just like we did for his comparison in Rule 86? In re-draft, you can expect him to rise up mock drafts boards soon, and he is also a great take in the 2nd rounds of dynasty drafts if he does make it to the turn if not the back of the first round.

David Njoku to Cleveland Browns

Round 1, Pick 29 (29th Overall)
College Production:

2017 Competition:
1) Randall Telfer
2) Seth DeValve

The freak athlete David Njoku out of the U becomes the 3rd TE taken in the first round of the draft. Unlike the two other prospects drafted before him, there aren’t as many options or prolific playmakers on the team other than last year’s rookie, Corey Coleman, and free agent signee, Kenny Britt. This means depending on who becomes the starting QB, they can make an immediate connection with the 20-year-old, and the start of what could be a pro-bowl caliber career can take off. The Browns had an amazing draft unlike previous years and are building something special for the long run. In my eyes, Njoku could start that transition right away. With the releasing of veteran end, Gary Barnidge, Njoku has the quick track to TE1. This is my personal take, but he should be the one targeted highest in both re-draft and dynasty leagues alike. If he falls in either, take him without hesitation.

Gerald Everett to Los Angeles Rams

Round 2, Pick 12 (44th Overall)
College Production:

2017 Competition:
1) Tyler Higbee
2) Travis Wilson

It’s difficult to find a stellar comparison for Everett just because of his size and toughness, but his playing style resembles Delanie Walker at times. Everett has size, speed, and tremendous run-after-catch potential, but it is his willingness and ability to block that separates him from other “matchup” tight ends. Route running is very much below the league average, but that should improve with NFL coaching and a year or so in training camps. Everett has the talent to become a very good NFL starter with Pro Bowl potential if he puts it all together. Expect Tyler Higbee to get his shot as Everett progresses, but if Higbee falters, we could see an emergence from Everett as soon as later this year. For now, he is not really worth drafting in normal fantasy leagues, maybe a waiver wire claim under the right circumstances, and is expected to go near the end of dynasty draft rounds or a flyer for someone wanting to stash him on their taxi squad.

Adam Shaheen to Chicago Bears

Round 2, Pick 13 (45th Overall)
2017 Competition:
1) Zach Miller
2) Dion Sims

This pick is definitely more of a developmental pick so we won’t be talking fantasy value, but let’s dive in just a bit about this Division II all-star in Adam Shaheen. The guy is very big, very fast, and very athletic. Shaheen will immediately spark the interest of the Bears’ offensive coordinator, Dowell Loggains who likes looking for size and traits. He’s a worse blocker than what might be expected for a player with his frame, but he’s also a much more dangerous pass-catching target. The jump in competition from Division II NCAA play to the NFL will be substantial and Chicago will expect him to become a more consistent blocker, but he’s a pass catching tight end in a Y-tight end’s body. Adam Shaheen has starting potential with an ability to impact a passing game early in his career. It just might not be right away with two TEs currently already active in Chicago’s offensive scheme.

Jonnu Smith to Tennessee Titans

Round 3, Pick 36 (100th Overall)
College Production:

2017 Competition:
1) Delanie Walker
2) Jace Amaro

Considering his NFL comparison during the draft process is Delanie Walker, we might finally have the predecessor for Delanie with this pick in the third round with the Titans selecting Jonnu Smith. He’s an athletic tight end with four years of pass-catching production and tons of experience as a blocker. Smith is flat out amazing after the catch and has the speed to attack the field at all three of its levels, but his inconsistent hands could hold him back and needs time to develop. Smith’s lack of size will likely push him into a “move tight end”  or blocker role at first, but with time could be a big part of the offensive gameplan. With Walker probably having a couple of productive years left in him, expect little to no value for Smith right away as he gets coached up. He’s for sure a name worth remembering in the next few years as the Titans start building their team for a playoff run here shortly.

Michael Roberts to Detroit Lions

Round 4, Pick 21 (127th Overall)
College Production:

2017 Competition:
1) Eric Ebron
2) Darren Fells

Michael Roberts had a huge breakout year for Toledo last season with a phenomenal 16 touchdowns! Even with his one season of “wow” production and NFL size and length, Roberts’ tape does show inconsistent effort from a blocking standpoint. It also shows the strength and ability to handle those responsibilities on the next level once coached and shown how the right way with his new TE coaches. He should be a functional receiver target in the passing game as well and for now, will come in as a third tight end with the ability to work his way up the ladder. Keep his name in your mind for a few years down the road, just in case the Lions organization decides to move on from their first round TE pick a few years back in Eric Ebron.

Jake Butt to Denver Broncos

Round 5, Pick 1 (145th Overall)
College Production:

2017 Competition:
1) Virgil Green
2) A.J. Derby

Before we get to any analysis, we have to get this out of the way. Yes, every time I speak this name out loud, I giggle, and as a Broncos fan, I’m super stoked to get his jersey and wear it as much as possible. Jake Butt was a big asset for the Michigan Wolverines the past two seasons. While many scouts would say that Jake was a 2nd round talent, due to his injury during his last collegiate game, he was available at the start of the 5th round and GM John Elway and the Denver brass selected with some serious value. Because of the injury late in the season, Butt’s timeframe for return is set for early September which will be right when the season begins. If Jake can be back to full strength and shows no lingering issues, he could easily surpass Jeff Heuerman and even A.J. Derby, who the Broncos traded New England for just based on talent, size, and strength alone. Virgil Green is more of a solid blocker and is limited in what he’s capable of doing in the passing game. Adding a true force in Jake Butt could really set up the Broncos to have quite a few 2-TE sets, as well as give the starting QB named a very lethal weapon. Jake is worth giving a look in your waiver wire pickups as the season progresses, as the Broncos have been looking for a tight end that can help them drastically in all aspects of the offense. In dynasty, he is also worth ranking as someone you could take in the later rounds as a potential for breakout candidacy very soon.

Other  TEs Drafted:

George Kittle to San Francisco 49ers
Round 5, Pick 2 (146th Overall)

Jordan Leggett to New York Jets
Round 6, Pick 6 (150th Overall)

Jeremy Sprinkle to Washington Redskins
Round 5, Pick 10 (154th Overall

  • Keep an eye out for this name, if Jordan Reed can’t play and Rule 86 is out with injury or sickness, this guy could be a very sneaky play.

Eric Saubert to Atlanta Falcons
Round 5, Pick 31 (174th Overall)

Bucky Hodges to Minnesota Vikings
Round 7, Pick 16 (201st Overall)

  • If Kyle Rudolph doesn’t stay in Minnesota for his entire career, Bucky Hodges possesses a lot of pure raw talent that transcends to the NFL and could really make a push for TE1 status in Minnesota one day in the near future.

Mason Schreck to Cincinnati Bengals
Round 7, Pick 33 (251st Overall)


Be sure to check out Rookie RB Landing Spots: Part 1 & Part 2 as well as Reception Perception: Round 1 WRs. QB and more WRs coming soon.

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