Saturday, April 13, 2013

Ireland: College has changed how TEs are trending


The tight end position has evolved mightily over the past few decades in the NFL, and we can thank the minor leagues for that.

Pass-catching ability is at a premium as the game continues to favor air transit over ground travel -- a transition that has been in motion since the early '80s. (photo: Neon Tommy, Flickr)

“You kind of mirror what the college game is doing right now and the college game is spreading out," Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland said Thursday. "So you’re getting guys that the college game is playing with."

The evolution has made the run-blocking tight end not quite a thing of the past, but certainly a thing on the back-burner.

"There’s not many traditional ‘Y’ big blocking tight ends that are playing with them," Ireland said. "Certain programs have them and certainly you really study those programs that are playing with those kind of tight ends. But the tight end position all together has gotten very athletic. It’s gotten fast. It’s gotten big. It’s gotten athletic.

"And I think that’s made the NFL trend that way too. I think there’s some very athletic, big, fast tight ends that are making a lot of plays in this league and so I think you’ll see obviously the NFL going that way.”

Ireland's Dolphins are one of a handful of teams that could be looking to take a tight end early in the 2013 draft. There are half a dozen tight ends in this year's class who could easily be had by the end of second round, led by Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert (pictured).

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