The 2013 NFL Scouting Combine is underway in Indianapolis, as prospects are going through their preliminary measurements and interviews. Of the position groups available on Friday, the quarterbacks and tight ends have drawn the most attention.
Matt Barkley's poise at the podium was an impressive thing for scouts to see this early into the process. But outside the interview and media gauntlet, the measurables from the tight ends caught some well-deserved attention.
NFL analyst Gil Brandt reported from the combine, particularly intrigued by the TE group:
Tight ends have packed on pounds in last 30 years. Heaviest in 1983 draft was Tony Hunter: 237 lbs. Average TE at this combine: 252 lbs.— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) February 22, 2013
Weight isn't the only change for tight ends. Hunter was 6-foot-4. 12 of 19 TEs at this combine are 6-4 or taller.— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) February 22, 2013
Of course in the game of football, or any sport for that matter, there is bound to be evolution. Whether it is as a whole or by position, this game moves forward with time. But Brandt's reports from this year's combine show a staggering difference from 30 years ago. The standard has been set much higher, as teams are searching for hybrid athletes at tight end.
Players like Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham established the new-look prototype from the position. And before them, it was multifaceted athletes like Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates that helped revolutionize the way the position is played.
The blocking aspect is becoming less important, as scouts and general managers are searching for massive targets for their quarterbacks. It is about adding an X-factor to the offense that can provide mismatch problems for opposing defenses.
This new prototype is becoming more and more popular because it adds an entire dimension to the offense. And while these players used to be extremely hard to find, it seems that the size factor is becoming more prevalent and more readily available for NFL teams.
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