NFL Draft: Q&A with Draft Guru Tony Pauline

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Texas Tech Red Raiders tight end Jace Amaro (22). Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Q. The Packers don’t have nearly as many holes on offense, but they will probably be looking for a tight end in the draft. What is your take on this tight end class, especially the early-round guys?

Pauline: Overall, it’s not a good tight end class as far as I’m concerned. It’s basically two-player heavy. You got Jace Amaro and Eric Ebron, and then you got some players in the third and fourth round area that could contribute at the next level. Ebron is the big-time playmaker and Amaro is also a great pass catcher, but he’s a little more well-rounded. Both of those guys are first-rounders.

Now you also got Austin Seferian-Jenkins who’s all over boards. I think he is going to go in the third round. He’s a big athlete that creates mismatches, but he doesn’t have the downfield speed. From what I understand he’s not the hardest worker in the world either, which is well known by teams.

Then you got Troy Niklas and C.J. Fiedorowicz. Niklas is a Notre Dame pass catcher, but he can also block. Fiedorowicz is a tremendous blocker. He’s a traditional, throwback tight end. He’s a solid pass catcher, but you’re not going to ask him to run routes more then 10 yards downfield.

The two sleepers are Marcel Jensen of Fresno State and Richard Rodgers of Cal, who are both good pass catchers. Jensen is a tremendous athlete and has great size and explosion. Rodgers was a receiver last year at 245 pounds, and many people think he could be that Jimmy Graham-type of tight end with more development.

Q. What’s the difference between Ebron and Amaro’s game?

Pauline: Amaro is a little bit bigger, sturdier, and more disciplined. Ebron is a bit of a high maintenance personality, but he’s also a guy that basically looks like a fast possession receiver in a tight end’s body.

Ebron’s got the ability to make the highlight-reel plays 30 yards downfield, whereas Amaro is going to make the plays in the middle of the field and on third-and-two you can also leave him on the field and ask him to block and he’ll do the job. Ebron is not a bad blocker, but he just doesn’t have great blocking strength at this point.