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NFL Draft PRR 2024: Tight Ends

Welcome back to the PRR series! Today, we'll take a look at one of the most sought after positions on offense in recent years...the tight end!


Whether they're catching tough passes, trucking and weaving through a defense, or blocking defenders into the turf, the tight end position has many different hats that are tough to wear for just one player. Today, we'll cover 8 tight ends that I believe have multiple traits that fit the bill and will help them succeed in the NFL. Let's get into the versatile weapons of this class!


Photo: Scott Wachter/USA TODAY

 

8. J'Tavion Sanders - Texas

What They Do Well

What Could Limit Them

Good route runner, makes smooth cuts without sacrificing speed

Blocking is suspect, gets benched backwards often, stops feet on contact

Looks to get additional yardage every time he touches the ball

Goes down easily from weak hits more often than not

Good athlete despite his 40 time, moves well on the field

Won't be able to play as a true Y, needs to be split out in the slot or out wide

To be honest, I'm not the biggest fan of JT's game and don't believe he is a top 3 tight end in this class. I think he's a good athlete and has really solid hands, but his blocking and YAC ability is questionable. The upside; he's young and played in a limited offense. If a coach can tap into making him a better blocker, he could easily be a top 5 tight end in this group.


Pro Comp: Brevin Jordan


7. Jared Wiley - TCU

What They Do Well

What Could Limit Them

Vertically stretches the offense, great speed and finds holes in the defense

Blocking out in space is below average, doesn't want to get into defenders

Did more damage as a receiver when aligned in the slot and out wide

Won't break through tackles, fails to make defenders miss as well

Blocking is decent when he lines up as a true Y, down blocks effectively

On the older side, will turn 24 during his rookie year

Smooth route runner, can make clean cuts and exploit LBs and safeties


Jared does everything JT does, just at a higher level, and he blocks better from the true tight end position. He lined up all over the offense, and he has good receiving traits with his speed and route running. He'll need to improve his blocking out in space when aligned as a receiver, as well as improving his YAC ability to break tackles and make defenders miss in space.


Pro Comp: Dawson Knox


6. Theo Johnson - Penn State

What They Do Well

What Could Limit Them

Great athlete, has good long speed and can make people miss in space

Struggles to seperate often, got jammed by DBs smaller than him consistently

Lined up all over the offense, good versatility

Spotty blocker, either abuses his guy or misses his assignment altogether

Made some ridiculous catches in traffic, can take a hit too

Despite making tough catches, he routinely dropped the easy ones as well

Theo is a unique prospect in terms of athleticism, versatility, and overall playmaking ability. He knows multiple spots on the offense and can easily turn a 5 yard pass into a 40 yard gain. The key for Theo will be becoming a much more consistent player in terms of making routine plays and blocking at a higher level.


Pro Comp: Brock Wright


Photo: Steve Manuel/Blue White Illustrated


5. Cade Stover - Ohio State

What They Do Well

What Could Limit Them

Combines his speed and size well to create plays after the catch

Stops his feet when blocking, has more bad blocks than good

Surefire hands, catches almost anything that enters his radius

Will be 24 his rookie year, not much room for growth

Moves fluidly for a guy his size, leverages against defenders well too

Not utilized properly for his skillset, wasn't able to showcase his tools

Overall, Stover could be a solid pickup for any tight-end heavy offense. He won't maul someone in the run game, but he has nice flashes in the pass game. I think he needs a year to develop into a pro level athlete, and I can see him as a potential 3rd or 4th option in an offense.


Pro Comp: Gerald Everett


4. Jack Westover - Washington

What They Do Well

What Could Limit Them

Smooth and strong hands, hauls in passes outside his frame and in traffic

Struggles as a blocker on the line, bigger linemen give him issues

Great blocker in space, can drive second level players downfield

Slightly undersized for a traditional tight end, may move to fullback in the league

Good YAC ability, breaks tackles often and looks to get extra yards when he can

Despite running good routes, he struggles fighting off defenders through them

Played the majority of snaps at Y, but can play over an entire offense


I think Westover will be a fine addition for any team who takes him, but will most likely move to fullback/H-back in the majority of schemes. He's a good athlete overall and has great hands, but he needs to get stronger at blocking LOS defenders and running stronger routes. I think he has a high ceiling and can contribute on any offense at the next level.


Pro Comp: Alec Ingold


3. AJ Barner - Michigan

What They Do Well

What Could Limit Them

One of the best blocking tight ends in this class, stays engaged and runs his feet throughout the entire block

Isn't as good of an athlete as other tight ends in this class, versatility is limited

Long frame with a massive catch radius, has great hands to go with it

Played in a run-friendly system, didn't get to put his receiving skills to use often

Not the best athlete, but uses his physicality to create separation on routes




AJ is a delightful player. He blocks really well, has a solid receiving prowess, can make plays after the catch, and can come down with tough snags in traffic. He may lose opportunities with teams who want a more athletic tight end, but he has enough skills to overcome that wherever he goes. AJ is a complete old-school tight end who should do well in the NFL.


Pro Comp: Tyler Higbee


Photo: Lila Turner/Michigan Daily


2. Ben Sinnott - Kansas State

What They Do Well

What Could Limit Them

Good athleticism for his size, runs smooth routes and gets a ton of YAC

Drops some gimme passes, nothing to be overly concerned about though

Great hands and catch radius, caught most out of structure passes

Whiffs on blocks when someone is stunting, needs to keep his feet under him

Solid blocker all around, can take guys out of a gap when he's low and balanced

Played more as a wing rather than a true Y, but can play as a Y if need be

On the younger side of tight ends in this class


Overall a sound prospect, Sinnott has all the tools that a modern NFL tight end needs. He catches well, runs nice routes, can make plays after the catch, and can make most blocks. Ben needs to clean up the little things to be a true top option for a team, but he will be a nice find for whoever drafts him.


Pro comp: Dalton Schultz


1. Brock Bowers - Georgia

What They Do Well

What Could Limit Them

Top-tier YAC ability, breaks tackles and hits creases with limited wasted movement

Despite being a good blocker when he's on, he's inconsistent overall

Underrated route runner, has crisp breaks to create significant separation

Struggles to come down with jump balls despite getting his hands on most of them

Great hands, catches anything thrown in his reach


Good versatility, aligned anywhere Georgia asked him and succeeded


One of the best tight end prospects of the decade, Bowers is a fluid receiver, a decent blocker, and he does everything you need a tight end to do in today's NFL. Bowers can lineup anywhere on the field and win any matchup, will be really good at the next level, and has potential to be a generational talent.


Pro Comp: George Kittle


Photo: George Walker IV/AP Photo

 

Final Notes:


Two guys I want to mention are Tip Reiman and Jaheim Bell. Both have different skillsets that will make them fun additions to any offense.


Tip is a 6'4, 270 pound monster that brings solid blocking and surprising speed. He made some nice catches in traffic, but would drop the easy ones. To make matters less than ideal, he was used in an offense that completely disregarded the tight end position, and it made him a tough eval.


Jaheim is the opposite, where he was used in multiple different ways because of his unique sizing and athleticism for the tight end position. He stands at just 6'2 and weighs 240 pounds, making him undersized as a true Y, but was used all over Florida State's offense. They put him out wide, in the slot, at the traditional tight end spot, and even in the backfield. He'll most likely transition to fullback, but could be used in ways we haven't seen a fullback be used before, especially when trying to force mismatches.


Join me next time as we cover the best safeties and nickels to round out the week!

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