2013 NFL Draft tight end rankings: Tyler Eifert leads group of athletic tight ends

Apr. 21, 2012; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish tight end Tyler Eifert (80) catches a pass for a touchdown in the first quarter of the spring game at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE

If nothing else, the upcoming tight end class for the 2013 NFL Draft has potential.

The obvious standout of the group is Tyler Eifert of Notre Dame. Even with a shaky quarterback situation for the Irish, Eifert finished with 63 receptions for 803 yards and five scores a year ago. He may not profile to be the next Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham, but he's better than former Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph. He'll have to make it this year with sophomore Everett Gholson starting for the first time for Notre Dame.

Eifert isn't the only one who has to deal with quarterback inconsistency. Joseph Fauria of UCLA enters the season as the top senior tight end, but the Bruins have struggled to find a steady quarterback. Ohio State's Jake Stoneburner is loaded with talent, but plays with Braxton Miller, a quarterback who often seems more comfortable using his feet than his arm.

Then there are Stanford's duo of Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo. No longer will they have Andrew Luck placing the ball perfectly. Make no mistake, the tight end class has talent. But their draft future may be dependent on quarterback play. Find the full preseason tight end rankings after the jump.

SENIORS

1. Joseph Fauria | 6'7, 258 pounds | Tight end | UCLA
2. Jake Stoneburner | 6'5, 245 pounds | Tight end | Ohio State
3. Ryan Griffin | 6'6, 247 pounds | Tight end | Connecticut
4. Chris Gragg | 6'3, 236 pounds | Tight end | Arkansas
5. Michael Williams | 6'6, 270 pounds | Tight end | Alabama
6. Philip Lutzenkirchen | 6'5, 250 pounds | Tight end | Auburn
7. Ben Cotton | 6'6, 255 pounds | Tight end | Nebraska
8. Gavin Escobar | 6'6, 255 pounds | Tight end | San Diego State

JUNIORS

1. Tyler Eifert | 6'6, 251 pounds | Tight end | Notre Dame * Prospect notes
2. Zach Ertz | 6'6, 249 pounds | Tight end | Stanford *
3. Levine Toilolo | 6'7, 263 pounds | Tight end | Stanford *
4. Dion Sims | 6'5, 276 pounds | Tight end | Michigan State *
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