Carolina selected a tight end in each of the last three fifth rounds: Jeff King (2006), Dante Rosario (2007) and Gary Barnidge (2008). (PHOTOS: ANDREW MASON / PANTHERS.COM)
TIGHT ENDS FROM AROUND THE NATION:
Was second in the nation last year with 111 receptions for 1,329 yards and 13 touchdowns ... Played wide receiver last year for the Owls, but worked out as a tight end at the Combine ... Led all tight ends in Indianapolis with 28 bench-press repetitions while logging the third-best 40-yard dash time at the position (4.66 seconds) ... Also had the second-best vertical jump (36 inches) and sixth-best broad jump (nine feet, eight inches) at his position ... Was a seventh-round draft choice of the Chicago White Sox coming out of high school and spent three seasons in their minor-league system and another in the independent-league ranks before retiring from the sport and joining Rice in time for the 2007 season.
Won the John Mackey Award, annually bestowed upon the nation's top tight end, after a senior season in which he amassed 90 receptions for 987 yards and 10 touchdowns ... Finished his four years at Mizzou with 246 receptions for 2,651 yards and 30 touchdowns, Did not become the full-time starter until his senior year after splitting time with Martin Rucker, the younger brother of former Panthers defensive end Mike Rucker ... Broke Martin Rucker's school record for receptions, and ranks second behind Justin Gage in Tigers annals for receiving yardage ... NFL.com's Gil Brandt reported that the foot injury that sidelined Coffman from work at the Scouting Combine was "80 percent healed" by mid-March ... Father, Paul Coffman, played the position for the Green Bay Packers (1978-85) and Kansas City Chiefs (1986-87).
Missed entire 2008 campaign because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered last August ... A year earlier, hauled in 34 passes for 508 yards and seven touchdowns, earning second-team All-Southeastern Conference honors ... Recovered from his injury in time to work out at the Combine, where he had the fifth-best 40-yard dash time among tight ends (4.68 seconds), the seventh- and tenth-best times at his position in the three-cone drill (7.12 seconds) and the short shuttle (4.53 seconds), respectively.
Grabbed 27 passes for 326 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior, easily eclipsing the 14 receptions for 158 yards and two scores he had in his first two seasons (2006 and 2007) ... Turned pro following his redshirt junior season with a year of eligibility remaining ... Had the third-best 40-yard dash time among tight ends at the Scouting Combine, clocking 4.66 seconds ... Also logged 24 bench-press repetitions and a three-cone drill time of 4.99 seconds; both were fourth among tight ends.
A four-time first-team All-Conference USA selection who took part in the Senior Bowl in January, Nelson left Southern Mississippi after hauling in 157 passes for 2,054 yards and 16 touchdowns. His reception and yardage totals are second and third, respectively, in Golden Eagles annals, and are more than any other tight end in school history … Had at least 30 receptions and 450 yards in each of his four years at Southern Miss … Was clocked at 4.56 seconds for the 40-yard dash at the National Scouting Combine, placing him second among tight ends … Also was third in the three-cone drill (6.96 seconds), tied for sixth in the vertical jump (33.0 inches), tied for eighth in the broad jump (nine feet, seven inches) and was eighth in the short shuttle (4.46 seconds).
Others of note:
Travis Beckum, Wisconsin
Marquez Branson, Central Arkansas
Jared Bronson, Central Washignton
Dan Gronkowski, Maryland
David Johnson, Arkansas State
Brian Mandeville, Northeastern
Rob Myers, Utah State
Bear Pascoe, Fresno State
John Phillips, Virginia
Kory Sperry, Colorado State
Eddie Williams, Idaho
Click to watch NFL Network's wrap-up of the tight end workouts at the National Scouting Combine.
TIGHT ENDS FROM THE CAROLINAS:
Was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection by the coaches and second-team from the Associated Press as a redshirt junior last fall after snagging 37 receptions for 573 yards and three touchdowns while averaging a team-leading 15.5 yards per reception ... Also led South Carolina in yards per reception the previous season, averaging 14.0 yards on 30 catches for 421 yards ... Turned pro with one year of eligibility remaining ... At the National Scouting Combine, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.50 seconds, the best among all tight ends and better than all but four running backs. He also led tight ends in the vertical jump (41.0 inches) and the broad jump (10 feet, three inches) while finishing sixth in the bench press (23 repetitions) ... At his pro day in Columbia, S.C. on March 25, NFL.com reported that Cook was clocked at 4.56 seconds for the short shuttle and 7.25 seconds on the three-cone drill.
Snatched 43 passes for 695 yards and three scores last season; his reception and yardage totals eclipsed the combined tally of his previous two seasons, when he grabbed 35 passes for 383 yards and five touchdowns ... Played quarterback at New Bern High School and remained there his first two years at ECU before switching to tight end for his redshirt sophomore season ... A New Bern native, he led his school to consecutive state-championship appearances in 2002 and 2003.
Became a starter in 2005, his sophomore season, and was second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference a year later aafter leading the Wolfpack with 45 receptions for 619 yards. However, he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament the following summer and missed all of 2007 ... He returned in 2008, caught 19 passes for 234 yards and four touchdowns, was elected a team captain and named to the Senior Bowl.
Started 12 games as a senior and eight as a junior for the Tar Heels ... Logged 12 receptions for 124 yards and two touchdowns in his career, including two scores last season ... Tallied 24 repetitions on the bench press at the Scouting Combine, fourth-best among tight ends ... Came to North Carolina after a standout career at Maple Heights (Ohio) High School.
Each of the three tight ends the Panthers carried on their 53-man roster last fall were fifth-round picks made in the last three drafts. Their order on the depth chart fell in line with the sequence in which they joined: 2006 selection Jeff King, 2007 pick Dante Rosario and 2008 rookie Gary Barnidge.
Carolina has taken a tight end in seven of the last eight drafts after selecting just one in the franchise's first six. That solitary pick from those early drafts -- 1997 seventh-rounder Kris Mangum -- played more seasons (10) with the franchise than anyone else at the position, and he ranks second among Panthers tight ends in receptions, yards and touchdowns, behind Wesley Walls in all three categories.
Five of the first seven Panthers tight end draftees started at some point for the team.
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