In recent years, the tight end position has produced many second-day picks that have made impacts early on, including tight ends Kevin Boss (New York Giants) and Owen Daniels (Houston Texans). This year, there are several guys who could fit that bill, including University of Kentucky tight end Jacob Tamme. Tamme arrived on campus in 2003 as a lanky wide receiver before switching to tight end in the last of game of 2004 as a redshirt freshman. As a sophomore in 2005, Tamme started 10 games and finished with 29 catches for 253 yards and a score while also making an impact on special teams.
As a junior, Tamme was an All-Southeastern Conference first team selection, racking up 386 receiving yards and two touchdowns, while leading the conference in receptions at his position with 32. As a senior last fall, he built on that success by recording a whopping 56 catches for 619 yards and six touchdowns, solidifying himself as one of the top pass-catching tight ends in the college ranks. He earned his second All-SEC first team nod following the season and finished his career second in conference history for receptions by a tight end (133).
It's pretty obvious that Tamme brings a wealth of receiving ability to the table. He has great hands and can bring the ball down in traffic. A converted receiver, he was one of the fastest players at his position at the 2008 NFL Scouting Combine, posting a 4.58 40-yard dash. That speed makes him dangerous after the catch, particularly when he's working against slower-footed linebackers. At Kentucky he did a good job making plays over the middle of the field while lining up wide and in the slot as well.
Tamme is a good blocker in space and does a nice job of reaching and engaging defenders at the second level. He is a great character guy, known for his work in the community and the classroom as well. Tamme already owns a master's degree in just 3 1/2 years of school! That work ethic extends to the playing field as he is very coachable and willing to put in the extra work to improve. Tamme also brings value on special teams, having served as a backup holder with the Wildcats. In addition, he is a capable long-snapper.
Size is a critical concern with Tamme, who at 6-foot-3 1/2, 236 pounds, is very undersized for an NFL tight end. While teams certainly can find a place for a pass-catching specialist at the tight end position, he may not be a fit in some places. He could really stand to improve as a blocker along the line of scrimmage as he can get pushed around by larger defensive ends and linebackers even when his technique is sound. Not surprisingly he also has issues with getting jammed at the line. Additional work in the weight room should help, but those could still be perennial issues.
Expected Draft Placement
While Tamme is clearly undersized, he does have the frame to put on weight, so teams will likely draft him based on what they think they can turn him in to. In all likelihood, Tamme is an H-back in the NFL, in the similar mold of what Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley began his career as. Right now, Tamme grades out as a fifth- or sixth-round selection and will almost certainly go off the board on Day 2. Look for teams such as the Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills to all take long looks at Tamme.
About Francis Duffy
"Fran Duffy has been involved in sports since he was a child. A Philadelphia native, Fran is obviously a die-hard fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Flyers and Sixers. Fran is desperately waiting to see his first major championship from one of his hometown teams. He is a Broadcasting major at Temple University and has experience on the radio as well as in television production. Fran also currently works with Temple football's video-operation's team and is an avid fantasy sports player. Looking for more experience in writing, Fran joined KFFL in the spring of 2005."
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