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Rookie Report – TE Edition

Welcome everyone to the fourth installment to the 2008 Rookie Report. Each week during the regular season, the report will cover trends, news items and analysis of notable performances by the NFL’s 2008 Rookie Class to assist in your pursuit of dynasty championship gold.

During the preseason, the plan is to give a tiered analysis of rookies by position each week. The preseason is crucial for evaluating rookies’ long-term fantasy values as they are given the opportunity to gain valuable playing time and experience they otherwise will not get the opportunity to during the regular season.

This week’s edition will focus on breaking down the 2008 TE rookie class. Overall, the 2008 rookie class of tight ends is overall weak compared to previous years as there is a lack of quality at the position in this years class. With a few exceptions, it appears most of these guys will be projects to develop for the future.

Before we go any further, the following is a breakdown of the 2008 tight-end rookie class:

Tier 1

Dustin Keller,

New York Jets

Positives:

Good athlete that is more of a wideout than tight end. He has great hands and above-average speed for his size.

Negatives:

A bit on the smallish size when it comes to bulk. Keller is an average blocker at best and will need to improve in this category to become a three-down player.

Outlook:

In OTAs and training camp, Keller has been working a lot out of the slot as a wide receiver in certain spread sets. Keller will need to work on his ability to block to stay on the field all three downs; however, long-term he has the best upside in this year’s rookie class at TE.

Tier 2

Fred Davis,

Washington Redskins

Positives

: Very athletic and has great hands. Also, he has adequate and is quick enough to get separation from linebackers off the line.

Davis does not have ideal speed, but is quick enough to get separation.

Negatives:

Davis does not have ideal speed. Despite his size, he will need to work on his blocking ability. His situation behind

Chris Cooley on the depth chart is another major concern.

Outlook

: Starting his career behind

Chris Cooley, Fred Davis will be limited to playing time in two tight end sets.

Davis’ athleticism and hands cannot go unnoticed; however, he will struggle to find playing time long-term behind

Chris Cooley.

Martellus Bennett,

Dallas Cowboys

Positives

: Bennett is the most physically gifted tight end in this year’s rookie class. He has all of the measurables to be a successful tight end in the NFL.

Negatives:

Bennett is an extremely raw talent and will need time to develop into a quality football player. He may have come out of college too soon and struggle to put everything together due to the lack of refinement in his skills. He also will be limited in playing time due to

Jason Witten’s firm grasp on the starting job.

Outlook

: Bennett has a huge amount of upside due to his freakishly superior raw physical attributes. He has all the measurables to develop into a quality fantasy TE; however, his situation behind

Witten and the rawness of his football skills makes him the classic high-risk, high-reward type of choice on your fantasy roster. The coaching staff in

Dallas has reportedly been impressed with Bennett’s blocking skills so far in practices, which should help see some playing time as a rookie to develop. In his rookie season, don’t expect anything out of Bennett unless

Witten goes down.

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