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NFL.com's top 50 prospects: Could Miami's David Njoku be this year's top TE?

It's clear this year's NFL Draft class is loaded with defensive talent from every corner of the country.

What's also becoming evident 2017 is poised deliver an impressive group of tight ends, maybe one of the best in recent memory.

In NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah's second installment of the top 50 prospects, two tight ends cracked the top 16 while a total of four made the list.

Miami's David Njoku (No. 12) and Alabama's O.J. Howard (No. 13) saw their stock rise while Ole Miss' Evan Engram and South Alabama's Gerald Everett came in at No. 43 and 44 respectively.

The Browns — who own the first, 12th and five of the top 65 picks — were on hand to evaluate Howard,

Engram and Everett at the Senior Bowl last month. Cleveland, who coached the South roster, spent a week working with the trio in Mobile, Alabama.

"The tight end group that we were able to coach on the South squad was about as good of a group as I've seen down there," vice president of player personnel Andrew Berry said, "and I think all three of those guys have a chance to be excellent NFL players."

Howard is projected to be a first-round pick while Engram and Everett figure to go in the second or third rounds.

Njoku, who declared after two seasons in Miami, has drawn comparisons to Panthers tight end and Pro Bowler Greg Olsen. He caught 43 passes for 698 yards and eight touchdowns and is expected to turn heads at the combine with and blend of size and athleticism.

Crimson Tide on the rise

College football powerhouse Alabama currently features seven players in the top 50 -- including Howard, defensive tackle Jonathan Allen (No. 5) linebacker Reuben Foster (No. 6), Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey (No. 36), ​linebacker Tim Williams (No. 38), tackle Cam Robinson (No. 40), and outside linebacker Ryan Anderson (No. 42).

Other players who have gained momentum in Jeremiah's rankings include Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett (No. 16), Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey (No. 21), Ohio State running back/receiver Curtis Samuel (No. 39), Temple linebacker Haason Reddick (No. 41), UCLA cornerback Fabian Moreau (No. 47), and Ohio defensive end Tarell Basham (No. 49). The NFL combine is set for Feb. 28 through March 6 in Indianapolis at Lucas Oil Stadium. ​

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