Kyle Pitts | Florida
Pitts is one of the best receiving Tight End prospects ever. A decade ago he would’ve been a pure number X Receiver, but due to the evolution of the position he has become a matchup nightmare from the Y. Pitts is huge (6’6″ 240 lbs) and has a catch radius as big as anyone currently in the NFL. He is also just 20 years old and won’t turn 21 until midseason, which is outstanding considering how developed he is at such a young age. His IQ is elite and his improvement as a blocker was one of the biggest strides that any prospect made in 2020. As skeptical as it is to take a TE early in the 1st, if you are ever going to do it then Pitts is your guy. He is on the lanky side, but is skilled enough that he makes up for the lack of weight by his instinctual and athletic blocking abilities. Despite playing the majority of his snaps on the line of scrimmage, he has had his fair share of snaps out of the slot and shatters the rest of the class in terms of down field receiving. Pitts had an incredible 2020 campaign, catching 12 TDs despite missing several games to injuries. It is also worth mentioning that Pitts was as dependable as they come and had zero drops last season on his 65 targets. Pitts’ weight and speed is a bit of a concern, as he will be challenged by more athletic defenders, but his catch radius and dependability in the end zone will make him into a true threat in the league. I am not a fan of taking TEs in the 1st, but I think he is a near lock to go Top 15.
Pat Freiermuth | Penn State
Freiermuth is a monster standing at 6’6″ and 260 lbs, but surprisingly moves very well for someone of his stature. He isn’t blazingly fast for a Tight End, but is quick on his feet and creates separation from Linebackers. He doesn’t have the potential to be split out wide very often, but should still be a matchup nightmare for most teams. He is as talented as anyone in the class as a blocker off of the line of scrimmage, both in the run and pass game. He will continue to get stronger, but he has very solid technique and busts through the second level to create holes for his Running Backs. He isn’t going to break many ankles, but he is a creative route runner who can find holes in the defense and does a great job of getting to the sticks. He is most dangerous in the short to mid depth targets and is a certified chain mover as he accounted for roughly 20% of Penn State’s offense last season. Any team that takes Freiermuth will immediately benefit by having such a multi-faceted threat who is as solid as a blocker as he is as a receiver. He likely stands in the Day 2 discussion, but don’t be surprised if someone takes their shot in the back end of the 1st Round.
Brevin Jordan | Miami
Brevin Jordan rounds out this elite group of Tight Ends, and despite a large drop off between each of the three, Jordan is an elite Day 2 prospect that has the physical tools to get it done at the next level. At 6’3″, Jordan is the smallest of the 3, but he also is better than Pitts or Freiermuth when the ball is in his hands. His YAC abilities are strong, which gives him a great comparison to receiving tight ends like Evan Engram and Noah Fant. Jordan averaged 9.3 yards after the catch in 2020, which ranked 6th in the nation and was largely due to being ranked fourth in missed tackles forced. At 240 lbs, Jordan barrels down the field with great speed for a big guy. Despite his athletic abilities, what is most concerning (and has his stock lower than most tight ends that possess his abilities) is his limited blocking off the line of scrimmage. He was split out often and is a matchup nightmare, as he found separation all over the field against Linebackers. Jordan can blow the top off and gets behind the secondary well, as he is the best vertical receiver in this class. He will be a work in progress in the run game, but his receiving abilities alone keep him as an elite talent and likely will be taken on Day 2.
Hunter Long | Boston College
Hunter Long reminds me a lot of Harrison Bryant from last year’s draft. He has great size and is decently athletic, but doesn’t blow you away with speed. He is a great combo player, but doesn’t wow you at one thing in particular, which speaks to how solid he is all around. He doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses, which is why he certainly can be a very productive tight end that will play a long time in the NFL. He likely doesn’t have the “it” factor like Pitts, Jordan or Freiermuth, but will be a very rounded second or third receiving option for an offense. He isn’t overly powerful as an in-line run blocker, but he has the technique and effort that it takes to open up holes. He particularly excels at down field blocking and is the first guy to find a defender to block when a pass is caught be a teammate. He had 11 contested catches in 2020 and all but 3 of his receptions were under 20 yards, which paints a great picture of how he was used in the Boston College offense. He showcased his sound technique at the Senior Bowl and was resoundingly labeled as the top TE of the week. His game is so solid and coachable that he will make it at the next level, but his ceiling isn’t close to the top 3. Long could sneak into the 2nd Round, and possibly even jump Freiermuth or Jordan if a team falls in love, but look for him to be take anywhere from the late 2nd to late 4th Round.
Tre McKitty | Georgia
Tre McKitty is an intriguing prospect. The prototype Tight End had just 6 receptions at Georgia in 2020 after transferring from Florida State. Prior to transferring, he had just 50 catches for 520 yards and 2 TDs in the previous three years. Despite his major lack of production, he was invited to the 2020 Senior Bowl and had a significantly impressive week that has tuned him into a draftable prospect. At 6’5″ and 245 lbs, he has an impressive, pro-ready frame and could carve himself a role, but it would be a reach for any team taking McKitty before Day 3. Consider McKitty as a major boom or bust candidate, but the athletic ability alone is something that a team will take a shot on.
Tony Poljan | Virginia
The big bodied Tight End from Virginia has a lot of upside, but lacks the athletic ability to put him at the top of the class. At 6’7″ and 265 lbs Poljan is hard to ignore, but he snuck through defenses with ease to score 12 career TDs. With that amount of size it becomes a double edged sword. Despite being one of the biggest receiving threats in the country, he was also one of the sloppiest movers. He is a few protein shakes shy of being an offensive lineman and is well above average in the run blocking department. He isn’t the type of playmaker that you draft to be heavily involved in your offense, but he is a very good supporting player who will get his chance to use his size in the red zone. Poljan started his career at Central Michigan as a dual threat QB, but made the transition to a TE before becoming a graduate transfer at UVA for his final season. As of now, Poljan is likely a Mid to Late Round pick.
Tommy Tremble | Notre Dame
Tremble played all over the field and is the best run blocker in the class. His advanced blocking skillset could turn him into one of the best Swiss Army (Blocking) Knives in the league and the possibilities are endless. His experience as a receiver is as limited as possible, and he had just 30 receptions in his career. What’s also concerning is he had 5 drops in his career, which is an diminishing factor to his already low stock. However, he is elite when it comes to run blocking, which could turn his role into a Fullback/Tight End combo. The most impressive play of his career was certainly hurdling a Clemson defender early in the 2020 ACC Championship. He is extremely athletic and has tremendous speed for a 6’4″ Tight End, which couples well with his instincts as a mauler. NFL teams will love the intensity he brings as a blocker and likely will be take in the 4th Round or later.
Kenny Yeboah | Ole Miss
Kenny Yeboah had flashes of greatness at Ole Miss, but is more of a prospect than anything. He had decent production and reeled in 82% of his targets in 2020, but lacks the dynamic playmaking ability needed at the next level. He isn’t much of a run blocker, but makes it up with his ability to stretch the field. He won’t be drafted to be a starting tight end anytime soon, but with some coaching and experience he could develop into an above average receiver. Since he lacks the ability to be much of a dependable combo TE, he could possibly go undrafted due to the fact that he is far from developed as a receiving threat. He does run polished routes for his position, so don’t be surprised if a team takes a shot late.
Kylen Granson | SMU
Granson is an intriguing prospect and despite not being the biggest or fastest prospect, he has very solid film that keeps him in the draftable category. He had a productive and respectable week at the Senior Bowl and showcased his abilities as a receiving tight end well in practice. He played a majority of his snaps from the slot in 2020, which further adds to any speculation revolving around his in line blocking abilities. We have Granson as a 7th round prospect and could be a role playing Tight End.
Noah Gray | Duke
Gray is in a similar tier to Granson as a prospect and also benefitted from a solid Senior Bowl. He is underdeveloped as a blocker, but flashed his receiving abilities and was one of the best in the ACC. He started his career as a productive target for Daniel Jones, but had his most productive season in 2019 where he hauled in 51 catches. He wasn’t much of an end zone target and only caught 8 TDs in 4 years. He doesn’t have the size to be a top tier playmaker, but any receiving Tight End that could handle the volume Gray did deserves a shot at the next level. Gray is a late round prospect, but could go undrafted.