The tight end position has become more and more valuable in recent years. Players like Rob Grownkowski and Tony Gonzalez completely revolutionized the position for players like George Kittle, Darren Waller, and Travis Kelce today to thrive. A position where a tight end very well may be amongst the leaders in receiving yards but also possess better blocking capabilities. This year’s draft class features a tight end who is one of the top 5 prospects in the entire draft.
#1: Kyle Pitts – Florida
Pitts may very well be the first non-quarterback position off the board depending on how the San Francisco 49ers approach this draft. The 49ers would not take Pitts with the #3 spot as they have Kittle, but if the niners select a quarterback with the pick they traded up for, Pitts would be a great pickup for whoever ends up with the #4 pick come draft day. Pitts has elite talent and is ready to be a starting tight end on most teams. Pitts has significantly improved since his freshman year and has had over 1,400 yards between the last two seasons with an impressive 12 touchdowns in this past season alone. If Pitts can improve his blocking which he has already managed to do slightly, he can turn into one of the best tight ends in the entire league.
#2: Pat Freiermuth – Penn State
Freiermuth narrowly edges out Brevin Jordan of Miami for the 2nd spot with Kyle Pitts being the consensus #1 tight end in this draft. Freiermuth has the perfect size build to make it into the NFL. What Freiermuth needs to work on which will be the story for several of the tight ends on this list is being a blocker in addition to a receiver. Freiermuth has potential to be a solid run blocker with his pure physicality. In the passing game, Freiermuth is an excellent route runner and is agile with the ball in his hands. The biggest question in the tight end draft after Pitts is how soon will #2 and #3 tight ends will be drafted, we predict both Freiermuth and Jordan will be mid to late 2nd rounders.
#3: Brevin Jordan – Miami
Jordan is one of the best receiving tight ends in all of college football. Jordan is a disappointment for a blocker as are severa, other tight ends this year, but that isn’t stopping Jordan from being a force to be reckoned with through the air. The biggest thing holding Jordan back from being in the top 2 is the lack of playing time he’s had in the Hurricanes offensive system over the last couple years compared to Freiermuth and Pitts. The Hurricanes will use a cycle of tight ends even when Jordan was the clear #1 option on the team. Jordan has shown he can still thrive even when there are multiple tight ends in the mix which will be desirable for teams with an established #1 option on the team.
#4: Tommy Tremble – Notre Dame
In a position that has evolved so much so quickly, Tremble sits alone as by far the best blocking tight end in the class. Tremble is basically used as a 6th offensive lineman and is especially best on run plays. Tremble would fit well on a team who is run heavy and in need of more interior protection for a bargain pick that isn’t going to cost them much to grab. Tremble is seldom used in the pass game due to his lack of speed and route running capabilities. This isn’t something that Tremble necessarily needs to work on, but he could improve his catching ability as this will be more needed in the NFL if the play script gets jumbled and he needs to be a secondary option for the quarterback. Tremble will be a reliable blocking tight end for a team in need of one.
#5: Hunter Long – Boston College
With a more established quarterback and a more reliable supporting cast, Long can develop into the player he is truly meant to be. Long has the highest ceiling of any tight end in this draft excluding Pitts. Long is a receiving threat with over 600 yards and 5 touchdowns making him a solid Plan B option in the draft if a team doesn’t get one of the top 3 on the board. We know blocking isn’t going to be as needed in the future, but explosiveness will and that’s Long’s biggest area of improvement needed if he wants to translate his talent into the big leagues. Long has so much potential if he can get faster and craftier. We expect in a couple years time, Long will be a viable starting tight end in the NFL.