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We continue our preseason rankings of draft eligible players by position. Today we cover the tight ends.
1. Tyler Eifert – Notre Dame: Eifert was a 2nd team All-American in 2011 and was the #2 receiver for the Irish behind Michael Floyd with 63 receptions. He is a big, tough, dependable receiver with good football smarts. Eifert is a guy you look for on 3rd down to move the sticks and is great in the red zone. Now, if Notre Dame can just find a quarterback to get him the ball.
2. Joseph Fauria – UCLA: At 6’7”, Fauria is a huge target and he is more athletic than you think. He is another guy that can move the chains and bail out the QB on 3rd down. Fauria does a good job catching the ball with his hands, away from his body and is willing to give up his body to make a play. Redshirt freshman Brett Hundley was recently named the starting QB for the Bruins, so he will probably be looking often for his big tight end.
3. Jake Stoneburner – Ohio State: Stoneburner had to pick up the load last season when DeVier Posey was suspended for 10 games. The Buckeyes did not have much of a passing attack, but what they had revolved around Stoneburner. He only had 14 catches (which tied him for the team lead), but had 7 touchdowns. With Urban Meyer taking over as the head coach, Stoneburner will split out and be more of a wide receiver which will allow him to use his 6’5” body to shield off defenders.
4. Phillip Lutzenkirchen – Auburn: Lutzenkirchen was a 2nd team All-SEC selection last year and he has 12 touchdown catches in the last 2 seasons. He is a versatile player that can be moved around all over the field. He doesn’t catch a ton of passes, but once the Tigers get in the red zone, you better find #43.
5. Levin Toilolo – Stanford: Out of all the big tight ends on this list, Toilolo may be the biggest. He is listed at 6’8” and 243 pounds. The fact that Stanford ran out of multiple tight end formations when they had Coby Fleener on the roster is a testament to the talent that Toilolo has. He only caught 25 passes in 2011, but Andrew Luck liked to look for him when they got into the red zone. Josh Nunes will take over as the starting QB in 2012 and you can bet that he will look Toilolo’s way when he gets into trouble.
by Dwayne Wilton