TDN Staff: Senior Bowl TE Superlatives

With the 2019 Reese's Senior Bowl less than two weeks away, the TDN staff is hard at work studying tape for the upcoming event. As a result, we're able to compile our annual (we did it last year at NDT) Senior Bowl Superlatives pieces on every position group.

Today, we dive into the tight end class, with each evaluator offering their take on which tight end is their top guy coming into the week, who has the most to prove and who is the sleeper out of the group. Here's the squad:

Tommy Sweeney, Boston College

Drew Sample, Washington

Foster Moreau, LSU

Josh Oliver, San Jose State

Dax Raymond, Utah State

Donald Parham, Stetson


Other Senior Bowl Positional Superlatives

Quarterbacks

Running Backs

Wide Receivers


Marino

Top Prospect: Tommy Sweeney, Boston College

I'm not in love with this tight end crop in Mobile, but the one I am most comfortable with at this point is Sweeney. Coming from a run-heavy BC offense, Sweeney still found fairly consistent production in the passing game across 3 seasons and it was a priority for him to get the ball. While he isn't a dynamic athlete, he does have soft, natural hands and a big frame. He's a high-effort blocker with some really nice peaks although there is some consistency needed there.

Most to Prove: Drew Sample, Washington

Despite being a limited athlete with modest play strength, Sample illustrates baseline receiving ability and good technique as a blocker. He wasn’t ever a priority for Washington to get the ball to in the passing game but was reliable as a check down option/space finder with a few productive vertical shots. He was utilized in a variety of ways as a blocker including in-line, flexed and leading into holes. I don’t think Sample will ever be a starter but he’s primed for an unheralded career as a depth player. Was he handcuffed by Washington's offense with Jake Browning? The Senior Bowl could reveal that.

Sleeper: Josh Oliver, San Jose State

I need to see more of Oliver to complete my evaluation but from what I have seen, his blend of size and athletic ability is unmatched by any tight end that will be in Mobile. He made some eye-popping catches in college and his receiving skill set is easily the most dynamic of the Senior Bowl group. I think he'll have a strong week and leave Mobile as the tight end with the most buzz.

Ledyard

Top Prospect: Dax Raymond, Utah State

Not only do I think Raymond is the best tight in Mobile, I also believe he has the traits to be one of the best tight ends in this class. He's tough, athletic, long and has shown some polish to his routes as a versatile pass-catcher for Utah State. Raymond isn't an elite blocker, but he's better than you'd expect, and will have a chance to prove himself in that area during Senior Bowl practices.

Most to Prove: Donald Parham, Stetson

Basically a big wide receiver at Stetson, Parham was a late addition to the Senior Bowl roster and therefore an easy choice for the most to prove. At 6-foot-8 he has the radius and long strides to chew up ground, but how physical is he? Will he block? If not, his athletic traits and contested catch ability better stand out big time.

Sleeper: Foster Moreau, LSU

Moreau may play for the best program of any tight end at the Senior Bowl, but he's still a sleeper in this class thanks to the way LSU used him. I'm not saying he's an elite prospect, but I think there is more potential here than LSU took advantage of in the passing game. If Moreau can prove he's athletically capable and make some high-degree of difficulty catches, it will go a long way toward making him a priority day three pickup, even in a very good tight end class.

Crabbs

Top Prospect: Dax Raymond, Utah State

Raymond leaps off the screen at you with his athletic ability and feels like a top-100 selection to me. With soft hands and effective run-after-catch skills at his disposal, Raymond figures to bubble up draft boards throughout the course of the winter time.

Most to Prove: Donald Parham, Stetson

Parham is a small-school invite who I admittedly know very little about. But when you're from Stetson and step onto the Senior Bowl stage, the expectation is that you've got the goods! Time will tell if Parham is a small-school gem or a big fish in a small pond.

Sleeper: Drew Sample, Washington

It seems like every time I pop in Washington film, Sample is making a tough catch. Granted, a lot of balls from Jake Browning make you work to finish the catch...but I digress! Sample has good contested catches on his film and projects favorably as a second TE for an NFL franchise.

Sikkema

Top Prospect: Josh Oliver, San Jose State 

Oliver might be on some people's superlatives as the player with the most to prove or their sleepers prospect, as he comes from a small school with not much recognition. But to me and everyone else who has watched some of his film, they'll likely tell you he has the highest ceiling of any tight end in Mobile.

Most to Prove: Drew Sample, Washington

Sample is more of an old school tight end than he is this next wave of pass catching mismatch players, but those kinds of guys certainly serve a purpose in the NFL, and with him potentially being a two-style player, I think his effectiveness in-line as a blocker and as a surprise receiver gives him the most to prove.

Sleeper: Donald Parham, Stetson

Parham is a legit 6-foot-8 as a tight end, and that is some crazy big size. While playing in just nine games this year, he caught 85 passes for over 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns. Let's see what this guy can really do with that kind of size against some of the best upperclassmen in the country.