CSN's draft board: Tight ends

CSN's draft board: Tight ends
April 22, 2013, 1:00 pm
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Since last Monday, Redskins Insider Tarik El-Bashir has examined the Redskins’ depth chart and evaluated potential needs in the upcoming draft, ranking them in order from least to most important. He's also taking a look at the prospects who could be a fit.  

No. 3:

Tight ends

Current depth chart:

Fred Davis, Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul and Deangelo Peterson

Comment:

If Fred Davis returns from a torn Achilles’ tendon 100-percent healthy, as the team hopes, the Redskins would appear to be set at tight end for the 2013 season.

But the draft isn’t just about next season. It’s about the next, next season and beyond.

And there could be a need as soon as 2014.

Davis signed a one-year deal that will count $2.5 million against the salary cap and could be worth as much as $3.75 million with incentives. If Davis remains healthy and performs up to his capabilities, the 27-year-old will put himself in line for a huge contract next offseason. And, as we saw last month, there won’t be a shortage of teams interested in bidding for his services.

It’s also important to note that Davis also faces a one-year ban if he runs afoul of the NFL’s substance abuse policy again.

Logan Paulsen did well in Davis’ absence last season and was rewarded with a three-year contract extension with a max value of $7 million. But Paulsen also won’t be confused for the freakishly athletic Davis anytime soon.

Niles Paul averaged about 14 snaps a game as a reserve and, late in the season, seized kickoff return duties when Brandon Banks got benched. He also caught eight passes (on 15 targets) for 152 yards and a touchdown.

Deangelo Peterson, meantime, spent the season on the practice squad. At 6-3, 243, he passes the eyeball test and remains an intriguing – if unknown – prospect.

The Redskins’ top priority in this week’s draft is, quite obviously, bolstering a defense that ranked 28th in 2012. On the other hand, the tight end class is considered to be deep with playmakers. And with Davis’ future in Washington anything but a certainty, it might make sense to grab another pass-catching threat for Robert Griffin III.

Three early-round prospect possibilities:

  • Travis Kelce, Cincinnati

After Stanford’s Zach Ertz and Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert, Kelce (6-6, 260) is the next best prospect. The younger brother of Eagles center Jason Kelce, Travis hauled in 45 passes for 722 yards and eight touchdowns for the Bearcats last season.

  •  Gavin Escobar, San Diego State

The 6-5, 255-pound Escobar is athletic for his size, possesses soft hands and, because of his speed, is a downfield threat. Led the Aztecs with 42 receptions for 543 yards and six touchdowns. 

  • Vance McDonald, Rice

At 6-4, 267 McDonald is a versatile, big-bodied pass catcher who is pegged for the third round. In his final three seasons for the Owls, he hauled in a total 107 passes for 1,386 yards and 17 touchdowns.

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