There is no hiding that Jeff Brohm loves his Tight Ends.
Since Coach Brohm arrived in 2017, there is been no shortage of using his big, tall and athletic Tight Ends.
In 2017, he had two, Brycen Hopkins and Cole Herdman.
Hopkins had 25 catches, 349 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Herdman had 20 catches, 331 yards and 3 touchdowns.
In 2018, Hopkins went off with 34 catches, 583 yards and 2 touchdowns.
In 2019, Hopkins third year as the starter, he put himself in the talks of the top tight ends in the nation.
Corralling 61 catches for 830 yards and 7 touchdowns. He put himself in the talks as the first tight end to be drafted in the NFL Draft. He ended up going in the third round, to the Los Angeles Rams.
In 2020, the Tight End group was young and unproven - Payne Durham came to the top of the group, having 16 catches for 166 yards and three touchdowns, in a 6 game season. If we played a normal 12 game season, we could expect him to be over 300 yards.
Now, in 2021, with the tight end group getting more experience and older overall, I think we can expect a couple of guys to come to the top of the group, maybe similar to the 2017 duo of Hopkins and Herdman.
Pay Durham, the 6-6, 255 Junior, has the most experience of the group and should do a great job. I think Payne has the potential to have a breakout season. He is a solid blocker and receiver. He is not nearly as smooth as Hopkins was in running routes, but he could improve to get close.
I think we can pencil him in as the Tight End 1.
Next up for me is Garrett Miller, a clone of Payne Durham, at 6-6, 255 Pounds, he looks like Thor with his long blonde locks. He only had a couple of catches last season, but made them count. Miller to me is more of a run blocker than Payne, but is a nice option in the pass game as well.
For the third tight end spot, which is just as important as the first two in case of injury, I have Kyle Bilodeau. Kyle was the highest ranked of the trio, but has had a bit of an uphill climb, fighting some back issues. Kyle is probably the best route runner of the group, but not the best blocker.
Two others to consider.
Jack Cravaack moved over to tight end from defensive end for more depth this winter. He was a guy that played tight end in high school. He got some run at defensive end this past season when asked, but he may be better suited for tight end.
The other is former quarterback, Paul Piferi. Something happened to his throwing motion, I am not real sure, but he has put on enough muscle mass to maybe help at Tight End. Paul was an all state sprinter in California. I am not sure how he is in blocking, but maybe he could help with special teams as well.