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Several tight ends outperform Pettigrew

2/21/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
INDIANAPOLIS -- Several draft gurus, including ESPN's Mel Kiper, predict the Buffalo Bills will select Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew with the 11th pick.

Pettigrew's performance Saturday at the NFL scouting combine in Lucas Oil Stadium might have given pause to teams with early draft slots.

Pettigrew, the top-rated tight end in the draft, ran his 40-yard dash in a sluggish 4.87 seconds, failing to register among the top 10 tight ends invited to the combine.

That's Tim Graham speed. But we knew stopwatches weren't Pettigrew's allies. He's a blocker first, receiver second.

Pettigrew tied for sixth with a 33-inch vertical jump, was fifth in the broad jump at 9 feet, 10 inches and tied for eighth with 22 repetitions in the 225-pound bench press.

The most impressive tight end performance of the day was turned in by Jared Cook, a receiving end with marginal blocking skills.

Cook ran his 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds, had a 41-inch vertical jump and a 10-9 broad jump. All three measurements were the best of the day. Cook also pushed out 23 bench-press reps.

The Bills need an extra weapon on offense, and tight end is an area where they can upgrade. Robert Royal had 33 catches for 351 yards and one touchdown. Other tight ends on the roster are Derek Schouman (15 receptions, 153 yards, one touchdown) and Derek Fine (10 receptions, 94 yards, one touchdown).

Bills coach Dick Jauron on Thursday noted how receiving tight ends still can curtail defensive penetration because of their threat in the passing game.

"Given some degree of blocking proficiency, the better receiver you are the better blocker it makes you because the defense is busy defending you all the time," Jauron said. "They're defending you in the run game because they fear you in the pass game.

"If he's got some kind of blocking ability and he's a really good pass receiver, it'll make him a better blocker. They're worried about him escaping and getting down the field."