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2018 NFL Combine: Stock up, stock down for tight ends

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Who won and who lost at the NFL combine?

NFL: Combine
South Carolina Gamecocks tight end Hayden Hurst speaks to the media during the 2018 NFL Combine at the Indianapolis Convention Center.
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins have an opportunity to finally grab a tight end who can serve as a main cog to the offense. The 2018 tight end draft class is stacked with talent, and the Dolphins should take advantage of it, since they’re yet to do since Charles Clay left.

Will the Dolphins finally use an early round pick on a tight end?

It will be interesting to see what tight ends could make a final push for first-round status, with so many teams in need of quarterbacks and defenders. Despite the tight end depth, the position is a bit of a secondary priority for many teams.

While the combine isn’t the only deciding factor in a prospect’s stock, it does greatly effect it. Let’s see who won and lost the day.

STOCK UP

Mike Gesicki, Penn State

Gesicki turned in a dominating performance at the combine. After benching 22 reps, he ran a terrific 40-time of 4.54 and a 20-yard shuttle of 4.1. Additionally, Gesicki added an impressive 41.5 vertical jump. During the on-field drills, he looked smooth, showing off his hands and athleticism all morning.

While blocking remains a work-in-progress with Gesicki, he answered any questions about his ability as a pass catcher and offensive threat.

While it’s unlikely he’s drafted in the first round based off the quantity of tight ends and lack of priority for most teams, Gesicki solidified himself as an early second-round pick.

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Penn State vs Washington
Penn State Nittany Lions tight end Mike Gesicki (88) makes a catch against the Washington Huskies during the first half in the 2017 Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Hayden Hurst, South Carolina/Mark Andrews, Oklahoma

Hurst and Andrews both had very solid and similar workouts for the day. Both ran a 4.67 40-time, and both jumped about the same height of 31 inches (Hurst jumped about a half inch higher). Hurst added a 4.37 20-yard shuttle, while Andrews ran a 4.38. The rest of their workouts weren’t as similar, but still in the same ballpark, with Hurst showing a bit more athleticism.

Both have a chance to be top-10 tight ends in the NFL moving forward if they can reach their potential and polish their blocking techniques.

Worth noting about Andrews:

“He’s a great big slot receiver. That’s it. He won’t block at all so what do you have other than a big slot who is an average athlete? I gave him a Day 3 grade.” -- AFC regional scout via NFL.com.

Whoever said that, should immediately seek a profession elsewhere. Andrews could go in the second, and certainly won’t last past the third. Not to mention, he’s actually one of the better blocking tight ends in the draft.

NFL: Combine
South Carolina Gamecocks tight end Hayden Hurst goes through work out drills during the 2018 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
NFL: Combine
Oklahoma Sooners tight end Mark Andrews speaks to the media during the 2018 NFL Combine at the Indianapolis Convention Center.
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Jaylen Samuels, NC State

Speaking of Charles Clay, Samuels would be his prototypical replacement for the Dolphins. Samuels is an undersized, fantastic athlete that could cause matchup nightmares for defenses. At 5-foot-11, 225 pounds Samuels is like a fullback playing tight end. He showed off his versatility at the combine by posting a 4.54 40-time, 34.5 vertical and 6.93 3-cone drill. Samuels can be used as a Swiss Army knife for any team who drafts him, and the Dolphins could use Samuels in the same role that Clay was so effective in.

Since Samuels isn't a stereotypical tight end with his lack fo height and weight, he may fall to the fourth or fifth round — a perfect spot for Miami to take a flier on him.

NFL: Combine
North Carolina State Wolfpack tight end Jaylen Samuels goes through work out drills during the 2018 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

STOCK DOWN

Tyler Conklin, Central Michigan

Conklin’s measurements and bench press were fine, but his 40-time indicates he’s a bit slower than may thought. He was never going to outrun defenses, but a 4.8 40-yard dash is disappointing for Conklin. The strange part is, Conklin outperformed other tight ends in drills. He ran a faster 3-cone, 20-yard and 60-yard shuttle than Andrews, and also jumped higher and farther. He showed his athleticism, but the lack of breakaway speed begs the question of if he’s only a short yardage option in the NFL.

NCAA Football: Central Michigan at Northern Illinois
Central Michigan Chippewas tight end Tyler Conklin (83) makes the game winning touchdown catch against the Northern Illinois Huskies during overtime at Huskie Stadium.
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Izzo, Florida State

Speaking of poor 40-times, Izzo would like to forget his performance. Like Conklin, we knew Izzo wasn’t a speedster, and questioned if he is more of a blocking tight end. But watching him run a 4.94 seemed slower than watching paint dry. Additionally, Izzo failed to impress on bench press for possessing such a huge frame. Someone who is 6-foot-5 and 256 pounds, should never bench the same amount of reps as someone who is 5-foot-11, 225 pounds. Yet, the gigantic Izzo managed to bench the same amount of reps (18) as the undersized Samuels. Izzo lost himself some money today, and may not be drafted until the fifth or sixth round.

NCAA Football: Louisville at Florida State
Florida State Seminoles tight end Ryan Izzo (81) scores a touchdown during the first half against Louisville Cardinals at Doak Campbell Stadium.
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Troy Fumagalli, Wisconsin

Fumagalli enters the draft with a tough-as-nails reputation. But a poor bench press (14) and inability to participate in drills hurt his chance to shine. On tape, he looks the part, but he relies more on strength than speed, and 14 bench reps raises head-scratching questions for the 6-foot-5 bruiser.

He took a serious backseat to Goedart, Gesicki, Hurst and Andrews following the combine weekend. However, he could be a steal for a team in the fourth round.

NCAA Football: Big Ten Championship-Ohio State vs Wisconsin
Wisconsin Badgers tight end Troy Fumagalli (81) stiff arms Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Jerome Baker (17) during the second quarter in the Big Ten championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports