An important note for the draft is not just knowing where you believe the drafted players currently stand, but having an idea of where you believe they could end up after some time. A player is never done growing (or if they say they're done, they shouldn't be on a roster) and coaches are the green thumbs that help the players reach their potential.
Scouts are supposed to identify that potential. Here's who I think the ultimate upsides are of some of our favorite tight ends, especially when viewed through a Patriots lens.
Eric Ebron: Less athletic, but bigger, Vernon Davis. Ebron is a freak of athleticism, but Davis is on a whole other playing field. That doesn't mean that Ebron can't be effective. He can make the same catches that Davis makes (and drop the same drops). He just won't be running a 4.38 in the open field.
Jace Amaro: Jason Witten. Witten can do it all and is one of the better tight ends of the past decade. He's a threat at catching the ball underneath as the quarterback's outlet and is a danger for YAC every time. Amaro will have to develop his blocking skills, but his size is there and he's shown ability when called upon (which was very rare).
Austin Seferian-Jenkins: Kyle Rudolph. Rudolph has been the second best red zone tight end over the past three seasons, behind our very own Gronk. Rudolph is underutilized and is slightly stiff, but he has strong hands to make the contested catches. He can catch and he can block with the best of them.
Troy Niklas: Rob Gronkowski. Niklas has sneaky athleticism and is a dominant blocker. He has plenty to work on the receiving game, regarding consistency and route running, but the body of work is there for a coach to mold.
C.J. Fiedorowicz: More athletic Anthony Fasano. This is a good thing. Fasano is limited as an athlete, but Fiedorowicz has proven that he can compete with the best of the tight ends. While he was underutilized in college, CJF still shows polish and ability as an all-around tight end, much like Fasano in the NFL. CJF may not be regarded in the same light as the league's top billings, but he'll be able to produce in every facet of the game.
Arthur Lynch: Heath Miller Lite. Lynch is a compact, if not stocky, tight end and he's as NFL ready as the rest. His upside is limited, but if he is placed in the correct environment (read: Arizona with Bruce Arians), he can be a 500 yard receiver with plenty to block about.
Crockett Gillmore: Marcedes Lewis. Lewis didn't live up to his expectations, but he showed flashes of promise- and that's the promise Gillmore shows. Both are more-than-competent blockers who need to be polished to excel in the receiving game. Gillmore could be what Lewis projected to be.
Jake Murphy: Dustin Keller. I'm a big fan of Murphy's athleticism and believe he has tremendous upside. His size is limited, just like Keller, but he has natural ability that hasn't been tapped. Keller is a threat as a receiver in the open field, while leaving something to be desired in the blocking game. I think Murphy can become an adequate second blocker and grow into a threat as a receiver.
Colt Lyerla/A.C. Leonard/Trey Burton/Gator Hoskins/Chris Coyle: Charles Clay. Slightly lazy, but they're all undersized tight ends who can block, but are primarily weapons as mismatches all over the offense. FB/HTE/RB/SWR. Why not?
Who are some of your comparisons for players that you like?