This years class of tight ends is the first of many deep positions for this upcoming draft.
There at least two names that figure to be gone by the end of day one and as many as 5 could be off the board once the second round ends. This group is talented and could produce multiple players that can become top tier pass catchers at the position.
5. Gerald Everett, South Alabama: Everett started off his career at UAB before joining South Alabama when UAB cut their program. Since then, he has become a solid option for South Alabama as both a pass catcher and blocker. He’s more effective in the pass game and is one of the two best athletes playing tight end in the draft.
If he has a big combine, he could rise up to the beginning of the second round, maybe even end of the first, depending on how high some teams get on him. He could be a day one starter next season, but he’s not a three down player yet.
4.Jake Butt, Michigan: Jake Butt has been at Michigan for like ten years so I just assume he’s like 35 and ready to retire, but it turns out he’s only 21 so he gets a spot on my rankings.
Butt is a great all-around player and if he adds some weight once he gets into the NFL, he could become a very good blocker. He struggles in the run, but Butt (haha) has great pass blocking technique giving teams more versatility when he’s in. He isn’t a stand out athlete among this class but he’s no slouch and he’s been proven to be sure handed during his three years at Michigan.
Butt also has a very well developed route tree and his all around skill earns him a second round grade.
3.Evan Engram, Ole Miss: Engram had put together a great career at Ole Miss through three years then during this past season he absolutely exploded and his game took a huge jump.
Engram has always been a great athlete, but not a great player, but that’s no longer the case. His has hands looked near perfect all season and he began creating much more separation in his routes as he worked his way towards 926 yards and eight touchdowns. His biggest improvement came in his blocking though.
He’s not going to wow anyone and off the line he’s nothing special but when he works for the second level or finds someone in space he keeps them from making a play. He knows how to stay in front of guys and uses the cut block very well especially against rolling safeties.
He’ll look similar to Jordan Reed once he starts playing on Sundays.
2. David Njoku, Miami: Hello NFL, meet Vernon Davis 2.0. Njoku only spent two seasons playing with Miami, but the redshirt sophomore has shown more than enough on film to make teams willing to draft him in the first round.
He is the best athlete at tight end this year and gets open with pure speed. Most safeties can’t keep up with Njoku. If linebackers don’t make contact with him during his routes, he’s going to expose defenses. He hasn’t shown much as a blocker, but he’s still young and has the size to become decent. He’ll be at his best lining up in the slot or out wide, where his size will be more of an advantage against defensive backs. The Miami product is a threat to score every time he has the ball and should be gone when round one ends.
1. OJ Howard, Alabama: Howard can do it all, and there’s little to no question he’s the top TE in the Draft.
As a receiver, he’s second only to Njoku and he’s just as good of an athlete as him and Engram. He’s also a better blocker than the other top tight end’s and it’s not even close. He has great technique as a pass blocker and can manhandle defenders in the run game. Howard is a three down player and can develop into an offense’s primary weapon.
Howard should be off the board after the first 20 picks and any type of slide would be shocking.
Cover Photo via Giants Wire- USA Today