2017 NFL Draft – Top Tight Ends

Offense: QB | WR | RB | FB | TE | OT | OG | C

Defense: DT | DE | OLB | ILB | CB | S

Note: These are ordered in regards to general overall rating.  This is not necessarily a reflection of predictive draft order as other variables such as scheme, coaching, etc. will alter each team’s rating of each prospect.

  1. O.J. Howard, Alabama – Superior ball skills, big hands, and natural pass catcher. Excellent ability to snag the ball, turn and accelerate for yards after the catch- big play ability for a tight end is elite.
  2. Evan Engram, Mississippi – Not a true tight end, nor a true wide receiver, but could find a role as a big slot receiver, especially in Erhardt-Perkins type offenses. Aggressive blocker, but doesn’t have the size to be counted on regularly for that, he is much better suited to be moved all over the line, especially in slot as a potential mismatch with linebackers or smaller slot corners.
  3. David Njoku, Miami – He lacks the experience of the top tier tight ends in this draft, but might have the best overall physical attributes. A physical freak that can be moved all over the line for a team that knows how to use tight ends in the passing game. Excellent yards after the catch threat, and more than competent inline blocker.
  4. Gerald Everett, South Alabama – Smooth athlete that runs crisps routes which he comes out of with an athletic burst.  Gifted pass catcher that has the athleticism to succeed as a pass catching tight end, but still has the willingness to block when required.
  5. Jake Butt, Michigan – Excellent mismatch type tight end that can move all over the line of scrimmage, wreaking havoc on defensive coordinators. Very good at getting out of breaks, and runs crisp routes. Good ball skills and reaches up for balls at the right time, and quickly tucks in the ball to gain yards after the catch.  Decent blocker, but probably won’t be used much as an inline blocker at the next level.
  6. Jordan Leggett, Clemson – A “move” tight end that works all over the offense to work on mismatches in the passing game. Able to burst out of cuts and get open for big plays, often down the seam. Major threat in the red zone, and creates nightmares for defenses that don’t have the right personnel to cover him. Not an effective blocker, and has durability issues.
  7. Adam Shaheen, Ashland – An surprising prospect, that at first looks like a big bodied blocking tight end.  It doesn’t take long to see this is an athletic, basketball player with excellent skills in the passing game. Huge frame that easily boxes out defenders, and catches the ball easily.
  8. Bucky Hodges, Virginia Tech – A pure mismatch as a passing target.  Huge catch radius, outstanding speed, athleticism, and excellent pass catching ability will make him a tight end that is used almost exclusively in the pass game, and will probably be moved all over the line. Virtually non existent as a blocking tight end, a trend that is growing in the NFL.
  9. Cole Hikutini, Louisville – Strong hands that can win contested balls. Athletic, and will fit into how NFL offenses are using tight ends more in the passing game. Excellent running inside routes and down the seam, but still could show more versatility on the outside.
  10. Josiah Price, Michigan State – Got lost in a down season for MSU, but has started to gain attention during the scouting process. Was a leader and stood out at the East West Shrine practices. Hard worker, not an elite threat in the passing game like many in a big crop of new breed tight ends, but is reliable, and provides more to the blocking game than most. Draft process could be interesting for him as he can showcase pass catching and route running skills that might not have been utilized in college.

Comments: 12 Personnel has shown to be extremely effective against NFL defenses, and teams are scrambling to find athletic, pass catching tight ends that create matchup nightmares for defenses.