While the tight end position isn’t considered to be a priority position, it could be the deepest class in recent memory. There hasn’t been multiple TEs selected in the first round of the same draft since 2006 (Vernon Davis, Mercedes Lewis), but this year will more than likely match that and could even see 3 go off the board during Day One if a team feels intrigued enough to select Evan Engram – although he could even be considered more of a wide receiver at this point after his insane Combine performance.
In the past decade, only 6 tight ends have been drafted in the first round, and the overall TE position in the NFL appears to be on the decline. This despite the emergences of players like Rob Gronkowski and Jordan Reed who have had a helping hand in revolutionizing the position.
Looking at the top of the class, a guy like O.J. Howard looks like a “can’t miss” prospect, and even has the potential to go off the board inside the top 10. Then there’s David Njoku who looks to have enormous upside. Mix that in with the aforementioned Engram and guys like George Kittle, Jake Butt and Adam Shaheen, among many others, this TE class has all the making to be the best in NFL history.
Below we have compiled our consensus TE rankings between our Breaking Football draft team which includes the individual rank from each writer for each player. Let us know what you think in the comments below and follow the rest of our draft team on Twitter @MichaelJKist, @SteveDraft_ , @ZachHicks2.
*Note: We understand the scouting report links in the table below aren’t clickable. Simply type “[Player Name] scouting report breaking football” into Google and it will be atop your search list. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Small School Sleeper: Adam Shaheen (Ashland)
A former basketball player, Adam Shaheen broke onto the NFL Draft scene after posting absurd production at the D-II level. This past season he hauled in 57 catches for 803 receiving yards and 16 TDs. That wasn’t even the most impressive part about him. Shaheen stands tall at 6’6”/278 with a huge wingspan and big hands. He has surprising quickness for a man his size. Shaheen is currently projected as a 3rd-4th round pick, and while he is quite raw, he develop into a huge payoff for whatever team he’s drafted by.
Biggest Riser: George Kittle (Iowa)
Coming into the 2016 season, Kittle had a good reputation as a solid blocking tight end with some upside in the passing game. He impressed many scouts throughout the season even though he only managed to haul in a total of 22 receptions. The main reason Kittle is a riser is the athleticism he displayed at the combine, most notably with a 4.52 40 yard dash. That athletic upside along with his solid run blocking may make Kittle a surprising name called on Day 2 of the NFL Draft this year.
Biggest Faller: Jordan Leggett (Clemson)
Jordan Leggett entered this season as one of the more polarizing tight end prospects. After digging deep into Leggett’s tape, he doesn’t play with the urgency or effort NFL teams want out of their football players. He’s lackadaisical in the run game and has even gone on record saying he considers himself lazy. With the emergence of guys like Howard, Njoku, Engram and Kittle, I wouldn’t touch Leggett until day three of the NFL Draft.
Risk Factor: Jake Butt (Michigan)
Two-Time Big Ten Tight End of the Year, Butt’s draft stock took a major hit when he went down with a torn ACL against Florida State in the Citrus Bowl. There were already concerns in regards to his athletic ability as a multi-level receiving threat and now he has to face intense scrutiny from team doctor’s as he grinds through the road to recovery.