With the Offensive Linemen now out of the way it’s time to turn our focus to the Tight End prospects. They were the final group to workout in Indianapolis today and have become a bigger and bigger part of the combine over the past few years as the TE position has continued to evolve. This year is no exception as NFL Network spent considerable time hyping the three big E’s in Tyler Eifert, Zach Ertz, and Gavin Escobar.
40 Yard Dash
Arkansas’s Chris Gragg was expected to be among the fastest TE’s in this class and he proved it on Saturday nearly breaking 4.50 in his 40 yard dash. The next closest TE was Matt Furstenburg of Maryland who ran a 4.62. As for the three E’s Tyler Eifert led the trio was 4.68, followed by Zach Ertz at 4.76, and then Gavin Escobar at 4.84. The trio went Ertz, Escobar, and Eifert when it came to their 10 yard split times. Rice’s Vance McDonald continued his hot streak of good fortune as he was the only TE to come in at over 260 lbs and run under 4.7.
20 Yard Short Shuttle, 3 Cone Drill, and 60 Yard Shuttle
Gavin Escobar and Tyler Eifert were neck and neck in the Short Shuttle as they battled it out for 2nd place behind Jake Stoneburner. Eifert was only one one-hundredth off Escobar’s 4.31. Ertz’s 4.47 was good enough for Top 10 but was far behind the other two. Despite having a poorer than expected 40 time (4.94) Justice Cunningham had a very good short shuttle finishing ahead of Ertz.
The three cone was the event that had everybody talking as all three of the E trio showed out in this one. Eifert pulled away from Escobar and Ertz in the end running a 6.92 to their 7.07 (Escobar), and 7.08 (Ertz). Eifert’s time was pretty impressive as he was the only prospect all day to break the seven second barrier in the three cone.
The 60 yard shuttle is an often overlooked event but we have the results and we’re posting them as Jake Stoneburner continued his strong combine by winning this event followed closely by Eifert. Eifert made a living at ND abusing the seam route and hitting defenses deep. His strong shuttle time here should not be a surprise to anybody.
Vertical Jump and Broad Jump
Finally some jumping results that actually mean something to somebody. Chris Gragg was once again the leader of the category as he went up and touched 37.5 inches. In second place was the familiar name of Tyler Eifert who was only two inches below Gragg. Both Dion Sims and Vance McDonald had strong certicals going for 35 and 33.5 inches each. Both Escobar and Ertz fell way back in the group both finishing below 33 inches. Ertz vertical of 30.5 inches actually finished tied for last in the group.
The three E’s had a much stronger Broad Jump as a trio once again led by Eifert. South Carolina’s Justice Cunningham won the event with Eifert coming in second, Ertz in third, and Escobar in sixth.
Weigh-In and Bench Press Results
All of the three E’s came in at over 6’5 which was great for all of them. Levine Toilolo came in the tallest at 6’7 while Justice Cunningham was the shortest at 6’2 1/2. Cunningham, Gragg, and Reed were the three prospects who came in under 6’3 and will be looked at as more of an H-Back prospect than a traditional inline TE.
In what could become a horrible situation Rutgers TE DC Jefferson injured himself only three reps into his bench press workout and the early word is that the injury could be a tear of his pectoral muscle. Let’s all hope that’s not the case. Rice’s Vance McDonald won the Bench Press competition pushing 225 lbs up 31 times. That was seven better than Zach Ertz who finished in 2nd place. Tyler Eifert finished with 22 reps while Gavin Escobar did not bench.
Coming into today this was hyped as a moment where one of the three E’s could separate themselves from the pack. Well I think Tyler Eifert clearly did that today, he was near the top in every athletic category and ran very solid drills as well. Eifert did plenty to justify his status as the #1 TE in this class. I was disappointed Jordan Reed choose not to work out beyond running the 40 yard dash. He could have been up there with the three E’s in terms of hype with a good day. I though Chris Gragg did a lot to help his stock, teams knew he was athletic but he really showed something today. Also Vance McDonald had a good day building on his already strong Senior Bowl week.