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5 Days to the Draft: Oklahoma TE, Jermaine Gresham

With the Draft fast approaching, it's time to start looking at some potential players for the Patriots. I'm going to put profiles of 2 players a day- one offense, one defensive- and gain a better understanding of the players in the draft.

Oklahoma's Jermaine Gresham is ranked as the #1 tight end prospect in the country. He has the best size, skill set and college performance out of anyone in the draft. He sat out this past season due to a leg injury, but he has been cleared. I'm more willing to look past Gresham's leg injury than Gronkowski's back injury, which leads me to place Gresham above Gronkowski. That said, Gresham WAS injured this past season, meaning that he's been out of the game for quite some time. When he was on the field, he was a stud pass catcher and down the field blocker. He was a YAC machine and helped out wherever he could. However, he was unable to be a top notch in-line blocker, which is a necessary skill for a Patriots TE. However, blocking IS teachable so expect the Patriots to grab a player willing to learn. Is Gresham a TE for the Patriots future? Or is he Ben Watson 2.0?

His measurements and some quotes after the jump. Scouting

Height: 6-5. Weight: 259.
Projected 40 Time: 4.64.
Combine 40 Time: 4.76.
Benchx225: 20. Vertical: 35. Arm: 34 3/4.

Player Comparison: Tony Gonzalez. I hate to compare Gresham to one of the best tight ends of all time, but I am limited because tight ends of Gresham's caliber are very rare with his size, athleticism and production.

Click the link for a more in-depth player review! Scouting

04/15/2010 - TOP RATED NFL DRAFT SCOUT TIGHT ENDS: Jermaine Gresham, Oklahoma, 6-5, 261, 1: Gresham probably could have been the first tight end taken in the 2009 draft, but he chose to return and play another year with Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Sam Bradford. However, like Bradford, Gresham was injured, tearing right knee ligaments in August and having reconstructive surgery a month later. He missed the season but was ready for the combine. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.66 seconds and had a 35-inch vertical jump. Before his injury, Gresham showed surprising speed for his size and was an accomplished route runner. However, he needs to be more aggressive going for the ball in a crowd, especially since he seems to have such sure hands. After the catch, he gains extra yardage more with strength than speed. In 2008, he caught 66 passes for 950 yards and 14 touchdowns. - Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange, Sports/USA TODAY

03/02/2010 - Jermaine Gresham said he's good to go in the NFL Draft. Gresham said his knee was "yanked" and "tugged on" all day Thursday at the Combine, and "not one doctor said anything" but good about his knee. Gresham said he's doing all the workouts at 100 percent health and will go through all the drills at the Combine. If that medical report holds, Gresham will rise on the draft boards. He's a 6-foot-6, 261-pound tight end who runs fast and catches well. Gresham, whose senior season at OU was wiped out by a knee injury, talked to the Combine media Friday about wanting to be great. "I want to be known as a blocker, as a passcatcher, special teams," Gresham said. "Being a great guy in the locker room. I want to be known for everything. One of the all-time greats." - Berry Tramel, News Oklahoma Scouting

Gresham will likely go later in the draft than he would have last year due to a season-ending knee injury in practice prior to the first game of the 2009 season. He had surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee in October. He lacks premier top end speed but can challenge secondaries down the middle thanks to his stride length. Gresham is more of a finesse blocker in line but can and will smother opponents on the second level as well as down field. There are times where it looks like he has lapses of concentration from his route running to missing blocks, but he is smart and can pick things up.

Click the link for a more in-depth player review!

Verdict: If Gresham drops to us in the 2nd round, I have a hard time seeing us passing him by. He has top tier talent and, should his injury pass team standards, he has the potential to be one of the best all around tight ends in the league. While the Patriots have shied away from passing the ball to their tight ends, Gresham may have the skill set authority to command balls be thrown his way. Gresham IS the best tight end in the draft, regardless of injury, so taking him in the second would be a great value pick. However, with our other needs, I don't see us taking him in the first.