INDIANAPOLIS - Meet the 2014 NFL Draft tight end class.
There's a little something for everyone at a position that seems to be growing by the year. North Carolina's Eric Ebron is the flashy athlete with wide receiver speed to go with his exuberant personality. Austin Seferian-Jenkins of Washington is more quiet but just as confident. He's also bigger but athletic in his own right. Seferian-Jenkins has even dropped some weight for the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine. Then there's Jace Amaro. He's the quietest of the bunch and probably the least athletic of the big three. Still, his route running and hands make up for it.
But Ebron wants tight end-needy teams to know something about this class of potential stars.
"If you need a tight end," Ebron urges, "I'm here."
It's nice to know really. The orangish tone of his hair is enough to make him stand out, but his big personality overshadows even his brightest physical attributes. Ebron, Seferian-Jenkins and Amaro have all been training together at EXOS, which is training a laundry list of the top prospects in the 2014 NFL Draft. The three tight ends have developed a bit of a quiet rivalry, according to trainers.
"Everyone does things differently between the three of us," Amaro said. "They're all great players and they all bring something to the table. I feel like it's three great tight ends, so it's kind of hard to tell and I don't want to go into too many details about that."
The first stage of the competition is already in the books. Seferian-Jenkins won the Mackey Award, which goes to the top tight end in the country. Ebron appears to have the early lead on the next stage of the competition for who will be drafted first. He certainly has confidence that he has an edge this weekend when the on-field drills take place in Indianapolis.
"We'll see on Saturday," Ebron said with a grin when asked what to expect from him on the field.
Seferian-Jenkins isn't backing down from the competition. He doesn't have a flashy haircut or the same infectious smile, but he's 20 pounds lighter than he was during his junior season at Washington. He shed 20 pounds to show off his athleticism this weekend but said it doesn't change the balance he has as a tight end.
"I've played almost every single position receiving the ball at the University of Washington and people still run the ball and I still take pride in run blocking and that's something I can do very well at," Seferian-Jenkins said.
Amaro and Seferian-Jenkins both have minor off-the-field questions which they seem to have put behind them. The competition will all be on the field at this point.
After the big three, it's easy for Notre Dame's Troy Niklas to be forgotten. He's the biggest of the group at just over 6'6 and is a converted linebacker. Niklas is impressed by the competition he has to stack up to.
"I think we're pretty stacked," Niklas said of the tight end class. "There are a lot of good ones coming out this year. It should be real competitive. Looking forward to it."
Unfortunately, a muscle strain may prevent Niklas from participating fully in all the drills. More and more, it's looking like a three-horse race at tight end.
"I think they're both great players and whichever team they wind up with, they got a great pick," Amaro said.