As we approach the NFL draft later this month, we wanted to go on record about a couple of players we really like in this year’s class. This is always a risky business, but these are guys that we think are going to be terrific pros even if talent evaluators are finding some warts in their profiles. Yesterday we picked Texas’ Sergio Kindle as our defensive crush; now we turn to the offensive side of the ball.
By the way, for all our draft coverage, including posts on Kindle, Jimmy Clausen, and Tim Tebow, go to the Draft category on the blog and click around.
When you think of impact players in this year’s NFL draft, most minds go to QB Sam Bradford, RB C.J. Spiller, and WR Dez Bryant. All those players have their assets, but fans shouldn’t forget the player who might make the quickest impact for teams is a guy who played but one game in his senior year – TE Jermaine Gresham. Few players are as physically imposing as Gresham, who’s 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds yet still runs in the 4.8 range for his 40-yard-dash. And Gresham isn’t just a physical specimen – he’s also productive, as he piled up 25 touchdowns in ’07 and ’08 before missing the 2009 season with a knee injury.
The only question teams can ask about Gresham is about the health of his knee. Otherwise, they know what they’ll get from him. Sure, he’s not ever going to be a dominant blocker, but he can stretch the field as a receiver in a way that makes a huge impact. Think about what Dustin Keller has done for the Jets or what JerMichael Finley has done for the Packers, and then realize that Gresham has more physical ability than either guy. That will help you start to get a feel for how much of an impact Gresham can make.
Not since Vernon Davis has there been a tight end this gifted come out in the draft, and Gresham won’t cost a top-6 pick like Davis did. Gresham may be pulled off the board in the teens, and he’s solid value there, but once the draft enters the 20s Gresham would become a godsend for whatever team decides to pick him. Knee injury or not, Gresham is going to be a huge catch for a team that needs a tight end who can catch.