Tight End Boards: It’s Anyone’s Guess

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Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

Talk to 10 people around the league about the top of the tight end class and you could get 11 different opinions; there’s that much of a difference. The top six at the position is pretty much set, but there is great disparity among teams how they rank those prospects.

Consensus around the league has Michael Gesicki, Dallas Goedert and Hayden Hurst as the top three tight ends in the draft with Ian Thomas, Dalton Schultz and Mark Andrews making up the next group.

We presently grade Gesicki as the No. 1 tight end in the draft, but truth be told, we are in the minority. The criticisms around Gesicki center on his blocking and route running, two aspects which can be improved. Some have told us they believe Gesicki is “stiff,” an opinion we disagree with, especially after the reviews from his pro day.

In our latest mock draft, we had the Penn State tight end being selected in Round 1 by the Jacksonville Jaguars. That’s unlikely to happen, and I get the feeling Gesicki is a mid-Round 2 prospect.

Several teams have Goedert as the No. 1 prospect at the position.

Goedert is the tight end I’ve heard the most first-round chatter about since early March. He’s more of a complete tight end compared to Gesicki and has big upside.

Goedert’s schedule has included the New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Chargers, Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, Jacksonville Jaguars, Pittsburgh Steelers, Oakland Raiders, New York Giants and New York Jets, or basically half the league.

Of that large group, I’m told there is intense interest from the Dolphins and Ravens.

There are also teams who believe Hurst grades as the No. 1 player at the position. One team even said he’s the only first-round tight end in this year’s draft. It’s an opinion I never agreed with, and while I feel that Hurst comes with a solid game, he’s not spectacular in any aspect. Someone last night referred to him as the “safe” pick at tight end, which explains a lot.

Of the next three, Thomas will likely be drafted first. The word on Thomas from most is that he’ll need time before he’s NFL-ready, but he could be the best tight end from this year’s class two or three years from now.  Thomas has already had visits with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Atlanta Falcons as well as workouts with the Philadelphia Eagles and Tennessee Titans

People like Schultz, as they feel he’ll be able to immediately step in and help a team on all three downs. He’s not spectacular and doesn’t have the upside some of the other tight ends possess, but he could be a solid starter for years to come. Schultz has had workouts with the Houston Texans and Minnesota Vikings and is also getting a lot of interest from the San Francisco 49ers.

Andrews fits in with that second tier, although his grades are all over the place. The criticism of Andrews centers around his blocking, something he almost never did at Oklahoma. In my opinion, Andrews is the most underrated player at the position. He was in Jacksonville for a visit with the Jaguars this week.