NFL Draft - TE's

NFL Draft Top 10 Positional Rankings: Tight End Edition

This entry is part 4 of 10 in the series 2019 NFL Draft Top 10

1. T.J. Hockenson, Iowa, r-Junior (6'5" 251lbs)

T.J. Hockenson - TE

  • Board Ranking: #6
  • Round Grade: 1
  • Draft Prediction: Mid Day One

T.J. Hockenson is one of the rare complete tight ends coming out of college. Hockenson showed above average route running ability both lined up in-line and out of the slot. Along with his receiving abilities, Hockenson showcased elite field vision and YAC ability. Hockenson did an excellent job as an in-line blocker showing good hand placement, footwork, and strength at the point of attack. T.J. Hockenson enters the league in the same mold as former Iowa Hawkeye, George Kittle.

2. Noah Fant, Iowa, Junior (6'4" 249lbs)

noah-fant - TE

  • Board Ranking: #11
  • Round Grade: 1
  • Draft Prediction: Late Day One

I'm not sure there's ever been a case where two tight ends from the same program-wide up being TE1 and TE2. That is the case for my rankings, and will likely be the case come draft day. Though not on the same level as a blocker as teammate T.J. Hockenson, Fant showed the ability to develop as an above average blocker, with a sky-high ceiling as a receiver. Fant is an extraordinary athlete, with plus-measurables lining up both in-line and in the slot.

3. Irv Smith Jr., Alabama, Junior (6'2" 242lbs)

Irv Smith - TE

  • Board Ranking: #22
  • Round Grade: 2
  • Draft Prediction: Early Day Two

Though Irv Smith Jr. is far from a finished product, Smith Jr. has all the traits to be a complete tight end at the next level. Combining his reliable hands, route running ability, and athletic ability with his blocking ability makes Irv Smith Jr. one of the more complete tight ends coming out in the draft, and will likely hear his name called late on day one or early in the second round.

4. Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M, r-Junior (6'4" 251lbs)

Jace-Sternberger-TE

  • Board Ranking: #88
  • Round Grade: 3
  • Draft Prediction: Late Day Two

A former JUCO product, Jace Sternberger is the definition of a developmental tight end. With above average size and athletic traits, Sternberger has great potential as a big slot receiver in spread offenses. Sternberger showed great ability to stretch the field vertically with his speed, showed above-average ball skills and catch radius, and reliable hands, along with the willingness to block. Sternberger will likely need a year in an NFL weight program before what he can bring to the table.

5. Kahale Warring, San Diego State, r-Junior (6'5" 252lbs)

Kahale Warring - TE

  • Board Ranking: #95
  • Round Grade: 4
  • Draft Prediction: Mid Day Two

Similar to Jace Sternberger, Kahale Warring is a complete project with tons of translatable traits. Warring, a former basketball player, is still adjusting to the game after starting football in his freshman year of college. Warring has intriguing measurables, had success as a blocker in the running game, and showed intriguing receiving skills due to his catch radius, natural hands, and athletic ability as a route runner.

6. Isaac Nauta, Georgia, Junior (6'3" 244lbs)

Isaac-Nauta-Georgia

  • Board Ranking: #107
  • Round Grade: 4
  • Draft Prediction: Mid Day Three

Despite the bad testing at the combine and pro day, Isaac Nauta shows on tape to be a much better athlete than what his numbers would suggest. Nauta showed above average route running ability, with a developed route tree, and reliable hands as a receiver. Nauta, while being undersized, and testing out as a poor athlete held his own as a blocker when given opportunities.  Though the tape shows a midday two player, Nauta's combine will likely push him down to the middle of day three, which will be one of the steals of the draft for a team looking for an in-line tight end.

7. Dawson Knox, Ole Miss, r-Junior (6'4" 254lbs)

Dawson-Knox-TE-Ole-Miss

  • Board Ranking: #123
  • Round Grade: 4
  • Draft Prediction: Late Day Two

Dawson Knox is likely the biggest mystery of all the tight ends in this draft class. Knox showed intriguing development as a receiver, but production questions are one of the biggest questions surrounding Knox's game. Knox has the size and strength to excel as a blocker in the running game but will need to work on his hand placement, leverage, and flexibility when asked to block in the NFL. The traits are there for Knox, but the lack of production, true athletic ability, and injury history will leave many teams guessing.

8. Dax Raymond, Utah State, Senior (6'5" 255lbs)

Dax Raymond - TE

  • Board Ranking: #129
  • Round Grade: 4
  • Draft Prediction: Mid Day Three

One of the better small school prospects in this draft class is Utah State's, Dax Raymond. Raymond possesses the ideal size to excel as an in-line tight end at the next level. Raymond showcased an impressive catch radius, being able to go up and catch the football up-and-away from his frame. Raymond was able to out-athlete a lot of his competition at Utah State, though his testing didn't match up with the traits on tape. It may take Raymond a season or two to develop into a nice role, but has intriguing potential as a TE2 in the NFL.

9. Drew Sample, Washington, Senior (6'5" 255lbs)

Drew Sample - TE

  • Board Ranking: #143
  • Round Grade: 5
  • Draft Prediction: Mid Day Three

Washington's Drew Sample is following in the footsteps of 2018 draftee, and former teammate Will Dissly. Though used as a primary blocker at Washington, Sample possesses enough athletic ability and ball skills to develop as a pass catcher at the next level if given the opportunities. Sample impressed at the Senior Bowl and also helped himself this offseason with an impressive performance at the Combine.

10. Foster Moreau, LSU, Senior (6'4" 253lbs)

Foster Moreau - TE

  • Board Ranking: #155
  • Round Grade: 5
  • Draft Prediction: Late Day Three

Unlike most of the names listed above, LSU's Foster Moreau will find himself drafted due to his blocking ability in the running game. Moreau brings a glass-eater mentality to the table when setting the edge and getting to the second-level as a blocker. A flexible guy that showcased good knee bend, short area quickness, and hip mobility to help moves bigger defenders. Thanks to his blocking ability, Moreau can find success as a receiver working off of play-action with the boots-and-waggles. Though he'll never lead the league in receiving yards, Moreau will be a value in the NFL for a very long time.

Series Navigation<< NFL Draft Top 10 Positional Rankings: Wide Receiver EditionNFL Draft Top 10 Positional Rankings: EDGE Edition >>
Connor Livesay

Connor Livesay

ProFootball Free Lance Author at SportsTalkLine.com
I talk a lot about the NFL Draft and the Dallas Cowboys. I plan on talking a lot more.
Connor Livesay
Connor Livesay

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