I'm a TE nerd, love the fact that we have had two of the all-time best in San Diego in Kellen Winslow, the prototype for the modern Tight End, and now Antonio Gates. I hope that 2012 draftee Ladarius Green can follow in the footsteps of these two. He will be a fourth-round pick that proves inspired I think, he has the physical tools, and has the right environment in terms of coaching, system, and mentorship, to learn his craft and eventually excel.
The kid is 6'6", a little undersized at barely 240 lbs, it's said he looks more like a big WR than a true TE. The thing is, he brings great hands and catching ability, and ran a 4.5 40 at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. So while he won't be the blocking machine that Eric Sievers or Brandon Manumaleuna were, we know that going in.
In effect, we won't be counting on him to disguise his assignment, he's not the guy who'll more often be kept in to block, then once in a while slip away and catch a dump-off pass and be effective in the receiving game like that. Instead, he'll be the guy that defences know is out there to catch balls, but can't cover anyway because of his size and speed. Really. No one will be able to match up.
It's said that he needs to bulk up to be an effective receiver in the pros, and that he needs to learn route discipline, that he got along in college based on his physical gifts, but you can say that of most receivers graduating to the NFL. Very few are effective their rookie year, they start to haul in catches in their second or usually third year.
One thing I was afraid of was that Ryan Mathews would cost us a Tight End on the roster, but it looks like that may not be the case, since Ryan's clavicle break apparently didn't present any complications, and Coach Turner seems confident they can make do with Ronnie Brown, Curtis Brinkley and LeRon McClain carrying the ball for a week or two. More worrisome is Vincent Brown's snapped ankle, he'll be on the sidelines for half the season. Still, the thinking is that a LB will be sacrificed to carry an extra receiver. So we'll still have four TE's on the team, which will allow Ladarius time to learn the game.