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Houston Texans

Position Preview: Tight Ends

With Owen Daniels, Mark Bruener and Jeb Putzier all back this season, it's unlikely that the Texans will be pursuing a tight end in the 2007 Draft.

While there are a few talented receivers ready to make contributions on the NFL level, the position is probably one of the weakest in this year's draft.

Daniels, secretly, might be wishing he was a year younger as he would unquestionably go before the fourth round this year. While Daniels loss is the Texans gain, here's who he would have been competing against in the 2007 draft if his birthday fell a year later.

The Crème of the Crop.

Greg Olsen (6-5, 254)

Olsen is head and shoulders above every other tight end in this year's draft and is the only one who is guaranteed to be selected in the first round.

Some mock drafts have Olsen going as high as the early teens next Saturday, while others have him going in the 20's.

Olsen's abilities as a pass catcher are beyond reproach. He's closer to 6-6 than 6-5 and at 254 pounds, still has some room to grow. His blazing speed for a tight end (4.51 40-yard dash) will provide whatever team drafts him with a big target who can run all over the field and create huge mismatches for the opposing defense.

However, Olsen does come with some question marks. His blocking skills need to be improved and he has had some durability issues while at the University of Miami.

In the end, those two factors will not hurt his stock too much and Olsen will likely become the next great receiving tight end from the U.

The Best of the Rest

Zach Miller ( 6-4, 256) Ben Patrick (6-3, 252) Scott Chandler (6-7, 270) Matt Spaeth (6-7 270)

Depending on where Olsen is selected, Miller could slip into the first round next weekend. Miller has outstanding hands and shows a knack for coming down with the ball in traffic.

What separates Miller from Olsen, in a negative way, is his lack of top-end speed. Like Olsen, there are questions of whether Miller will be a serviceable blocker in the NFL and without that separate gear, it makes the former Sun Devil less attractive to many teams.

Patrick is probably the most interesting prospect of this tight end class because he finished his collegiate career in relative obscurity at the University of Delaware.

However, he did have some success at Duke before transferring to UD, and could contribute right away at the now popular H-back position that many teams employ throughout the league.

Because of Patrick's upside, he could slip into the first day of the draft.

Both Chandler and Spaeth are enormous targets. Chandler is a former wide receiver, but with so-so speed (4.78 40-yard dash) he was quickly moved to tight end.

Chandler does display some nice agility, but isn't a the type of blocker that you woud expect and because of his size, struggles with leverage.

Spaeth might be the best blocker of the group, but he's far from dominating, and like Chandler, struggles with leverage thanks to his height.

He is also the least fluid of these pass catchers and is unlikely to make the spectacular catch, though he will catch most balls from the shoulders down.

Both Spaeth and Chandler will benefit from a weak tight end class, but are both likely to wait until Sunday to hear their names called.

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