Scouts seem to have gone up and down on tight ends for this draft class. There are times they believe one or two of a few different tight ends will go in the first round and, at other times, they aren’t mentioned at all.
Here are the top five tight ends as well as an underrated, overrated and a sleeper prospect.
#1 – Mike Gesicki, Penn State
Gesicki is the latest prospect to have his name on top of the tight end group. He will likely stay there and should have the best career of the group. He is big, fast and runs the tight end routes from an in-line position. He has position flexibility and can be a matchup problem for almost any defender. His blocking still needs a lot of work, but he will be a dominant receiver in the NFL.
#2 – Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State
Goedert has small guy skills in a tight end’s body. He may be the best athlete in the tight end group. He can run through arm tackles and fall forward on the tackle, but he is not going to break many. He needs to get better as a blocker and refine his skills to beat better competition than what he faces at the FCS level.
#3 – Mark Andrews, Oklahoma
Andrews was one of the many tight ends considered the best in this draft class at one point. He has the ability to be a high-end receiving tight end. He is not an outstanding athlete, but he has the speed to separate from defenders and get into open areas. He is a physical blocker but can get in the way and keep his defender from making the play.
#4 – Ian Thomas, Indiana
Thomas is climbing the board. He is the best complete tight end in the draft. He is a good athlete, but not to the level of the tight ends above him on the list. He can play in the slot but will be an in-line, hand-in-the-dirt tight end. He is a solid blocker that can sustain his blocks at the line of scrimmage and in the slot. He is a late bloomer that really took off as a senior.
#5 – Durham Smythe, Notre Dame
Smythe is another complete tight end. He has the blocking skills to play on the line of scrimmage and in any situation. He can shift off the line of scrimmage but doesn’t have the athleticism to present a consistent mismatch. His blocking ability will get him on an NFL roster and keep him there for years to come.
Underrated – Troy Fumagalli, Wisconsin
Never underestimate a tight end out of Wisconsin. Fumagalli is the next in line with the skills to be a complete, every down tight end in the NFL. He is a reliable pass catcher with a good feel for finding holes in the zones.
Overrated – Hayden Hurst, South Carolina
Hurst is another athlete with the ability to be a mismatch in the passing game. However, his athleticism and receiving skills are not elite or dominant enough to overcome his blocking problems. He will struggle to separate from defenders in the NFL and will be a liability in running game.
Sleeper – Deon Yelder, Western Kentucky
Yelder is a very good athlete and receiver. He needs to improve as a blocker and refine his skill set, but he could be a matchup problem for defenders. He has good hands and plays with physicality. He had only one big year at Western Kentucky, so he needs to prove he is more than a one-year wonder.