The action really heats up on Friday at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine as the first groups of players, tight ends and offensive linemen, go through on-field workouts. NFL Network will begin televising at 9 a.m. ET. The Combine will also be streamed on a variety of online and mobile platforms. See our complete Combine schedule for more details.
Let's look at some of the tight ends to watch on Friday. The premier tight end in the 2015 draft class is likely to be Maxx Williams of Minnesota. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said during a recent conference call that Williams could be a late-first round to early second-round pick. He almost certainly wouldn't be a consideration for the Giants at No. 9. Would he be a possibility at No. 40 in Round 2? Probably, but Mayock doesn't expect him to last that long, saying he is "going to go somewhere in the first." Williams, though, does have a connection to the Giants.
Clive Walford of Miami is a third-round possibility, per Mayock.
Colin Lindsey of Great Blue North Draft Report referred to Walford as "the kind of receiver that spread teams are looking for to stretch defenses."
NJ.com has a nice look at Kroft, another player who projects as a mid-round possibility.
One player to watch who is not in Mayock's top five but has drawn praise is Delaware's Nick Boyle, a 6-foot-6, 270-pound inline tight end projected as a middle round possibility. NFL.com says:
"Big tight end with the size and physical traits of a blocking tight end but lacking the proper disposition to specialize in it. The 2013 tape shows a starting-caliber receiving threat. If he can get quicker and put the work in as a blocker, Boyle can be a starting NFL tight end."
Here is Mayock's take on Boyle:
"Nick Boyle is a 270-pound guy who I thought had a better Senior Bowl week than he actually had during the season. He played tight end, he played H back, he played fullback all Senior Bowl week. I think he opened some eyes. I think he showed a little more athleticism.
"I don't think he's Brent Celek as far as getting down the field and catching the football. I think he's limited in the pass game. But because he's got such an upside as an in-line blocker, H back, fullback, I think he's a valuable commodity."
Another tight end to watch could be Jesse James of Penn State. James is a late-round prospect SB Nation's Dan Kadar believes could see a huge boost from the Combine:
Seemingly no one is talking about James, who left Penn State a year early to enter the draft. They may be after the combine. He could push 225 pounds in the bench press 30 times, an incredible number for a tight end. He's also run the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds. At a listed 6'7, people are going to fall in love with his athletic combination. Prepare the Rob Gronkowski impersonations.
In a prospect profile of James, our own 'Raptor' wrote that James "can definitely attack the middle of the field, be a safety blanket, and be an awesome target for Eli to throw up all the back corner fades."
Jean Sifrin of UMass is an intriguing late-round possibility, according to GBN's Lindsey. He is already 27, thus limiting his career window, but NFL.com calls him an "athletic tight end with above-average leaping ability and open-field talent."