Tight end is perhaps one of the more intriguing positions to forecast in 2014. The three headed monster of Sam Cooper, Jordan Leggett and Stanton Seckinger offer a little bit of everything in three different body types as they are symmetrically listed on the depth chart as 6’6 250, 6’5 240 and 6’4 230 respectively.
Cooper is the best blocker of the group, but lacks the speed, elusiveness and big play ability of the other two and despite my assigning numbers below his value should not be measured by the number of receptions, yards or touchdowns he scores.
Seckinger is athletic (see tight rope down sideline in Georgia game) and has pretty good hands, but had issues blocking at times and has a lower ceiling than Leggett.
Leggett appears to be the one with the potential to dominate a game in the Dwayne Allen mold, but only saw 166 snaps on the field last year after dealing with injury, suspension and several other games in which he barely saw the field (1 snap against Boston College, special teams only at South Carolina).
Leggett showed big play potential with plays of 44 and 43 yards among his 12 receptions in 2013, but also appeared inconsistent and out of control at times.
My operating philosophy on the numbers below is that Cooper plays the role of the blocker, Leggett takes snaps from Seckinger as he develops consistency and grows into a veteran player and Seckinger plays an important, but reduced role.
It’s natural to assume that as a player moves through his career his statistics will improve each year. In reality, I believe Seckinger saw more time than expected last season because of Leggett’s injury and suspension.
While Seckinger is probably the “safer” option, an offense that loses an all-time great quarterback, explosive running back and two wide receivers is going to be looking for playmakers. Out of this group, that’s Jordan Leggett.
The question is has Leggett matured and embraced the role?
Breakout Season: 35 receptions, 525 yards, 6 TDs
Bust: 15 receptions, 175 yards, 1 TD
2014 Outlook: 19 receptions, 278 yards, 3 TDs
Breakout Season: 30 receptions, 400 yards, 6 TDs
Bust: 10 receptions, 112 yards, 1 TD
2014 Outlook: 14 receptions, 155 yards, 3 TDs
Breakout Season: 20 receptions, 168 yards, 3 TDs
Bust: 4 receptions, 40 yards, 0 TD
2014 Outlook: 7 receptions, 68 yards, 1 TDs