In recent years, we have seen a significant breakthrough in real threats at tight end with TJ Hockenson, Noah Fant, and Kyle Pitts leading the pack. This year, Trey McBride is looking to join that crew of top-tier tight ends drafted in the 1st round, but outside of McBride, will there be any others from this draft class that can elevate their game at the next level? We’ll look at the top 5 tight end prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft class.
#1: Trey McBride – Colorado State
The clear runaway tight end in this class is the Senior out of Colorado State, Trey McBride. The 2021 John Mackey Award winner excelled in his senior campaign with over 1,100 receiving yards on an impressive 90 receptions. McBride came out of nowhere this year and shot his way to a 1st round draft prospect and the only tight end who will hear their name called on day 1. Based off of the 2021 season, there isn’t much flaw to McBride’s game, he is a natural receiver, a great blocker despite his size, and an athletic freak.
#2: Isaiah Likely – Coastal Carolina
Coastal Carolina burst onto the college football scene out of nowhere over the last two seasons and even made their way into the top 25 polls for a period of time. Coastal Carolina has a lot of players to thank for their success, but one in particular who deserves a lot more credit than given is the tight end, Isaiah Likely. Steadily improving each season, Likely ended his senior campaign with over 900 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns. He knows how to find the end zone and would make a real red zone threat for many teams. Likely only had one drop all season and is effective in breaking pass coverage, this makes him a very dangerous player.
#3: Greg Dulcich – UCLA
From walk on to first team All Pac-12 and soon to be drafted in the NFL. Dulcich led all Bruins with yards per reception of over 17 yards per reception on his way to over 700 yards along with 5 touchdowns. Dulcich has come a very long way from being a walk on and a lot of it has to do with him hitting the weight room. He’s added over 40 pounds of muscle and is a stronger blocker, especially downfield. If he can continue to add to his physicality, he can become a well-balanced tight end as right now his biggest weakness is his run blocking.
#4: Jalen Wydermeyer – Texas A&M
Once ranked the #1 tight end prospect from this class, Wydermeyer took a little bit of a slip throughout the season. Wydermeyer didn’t have a bad season, but he could’ve done better. He had over 500 yards receiving and was excellent on intermediate routes but in the short game and blocking is an area of improvement. He isn’t as fast as some of the other players on this list which limits his ability to make separation unlike other tight ends such as Likely or McBride. Given a better quarterback situation and a more established offense, Wydermeyer can improve in the NFL. He has what it takes to become a starting tight end with the right fit and should have a successful career at the next level.
#5: Jeremy Ruckert – Ohio State
Ruckert should have taken a play out of Jameson William’s playbook and transferred away from Ohio State while he could. Ohio State’s high powered offense had too many weapons that it did not allow Ruckert to reach his full potential. With Ohio State having Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, this left little room for any other receiver to make a significant impact. Ruckert was the #1 recruited tight end out of high school and for good reason, he is a good receiver with some speed. Ruckert could easily end up having the best career of any tight end from this class, but just going off of what we saw from Ruckert in his collegiate career, others were more deserving to be ranked higher. Ruckert is going to be a steal for a team that can snag him in the 3rd or 4th round of the draft.
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