Over the last five NFL drafts on average fourteen tight ends were selected. This year may be more as the tight end draft class is strong and deep. Here are a list of tight ends selected based on having a minimum 15% team market share of receiving yards in any of their college seasons. The list is ranked by overall player evaluation starting with the top players. At the end is a spreadsheet of data on the tight ends with stats and combine data.
- T.J. Hockenson
Hockenson participated in all seven combine events and scored within tight end target goals on six of the seven. Only one other tight end had that achievement (Foster Moreau). Hockenson had the most 30+ yard receptions (8) among all tight ends. Hockenson won the 2018 John Mackey Award given to college football’s most outstanding tight end.
- Jace Sternberger
Sternberger had the highest receiving average yards (17.3) among tight end prospects and the most receiving touchdowns among all tight ends (10). Sternberger had the most 20+ yard receptions among all tight ends (21) and the eleventh most among all receivers. He hd eight red zone receptions and seven of them were touchdowns. Fifty six percent of his receptions were for 15+ yards. That is the highest percentage among tight ends on this list.
- Caleb Wilson
Wilson had 60 receptions in 2018, the highest among FBS tight ends. His team market share of receiving yards was 34% which is the highest among all tight ends on this list by 8%. Wilson had 40 receptions of 10+ yards, the most by an FBS tight end by 7 receptions. He also was tied at fourth among all receivers for the most 60+ yard receptions (3). Wilson had the most receiving yards per game among tight ends. Sixty eight percent of his 60 receptions resulted in a first down. That was the most receptions and the fifth best conversion percentage on this list. Wilson has the highest career receiving yards (1,675) among all active tight ends.
- Irv Smith Jr.
Irv Smith tied Caleb Wilson for the most 40+ yard receptions among tight ends (4). As reported by Pro Football Focus quarterbacks had a 157.7 passer rating when targeting Smith in 2018. Also reported that he hailed in 76% of his targeted passes. PFF recognized Irv Smith as the best overall receiver for the corner route and has three touchdowns on corners.
- Noah Fant
Noah Fant was the top tight end in five of the seven combine workout events. As reported by PFF, Fant’s quarterback passer rating when targeted increased every year peaking at 122.2 in 2018.
- Josh Oliver
Oliver had the second most receptions and receiving plays of 10+ yards among tight ends. Team co-captain, highly regarded by teammates, strong work ethic. One of only six tight ends that met combine workout target goals for tight ends in five or more of the seven events. Oliver was third among tight ends in the forty (4.63) and second in the bench press (22).
- Donald Parham
Standing 6’8″ Parham dominated at the FCS level. He had 85 receptions, 13 touchdowns, averaged 146.6 yards per game and had a 41% team receiving yards market share.
- Zach Gentry
At 6’8″ and 265 lbs Zach Gentry was the largest tight end at the combine. As reported by Pro Football Focus, quarterbacks had a 107.6 passer rating when Gentry was targeted. Seventy two percent of Gentry’s receptions made first down. That was the highest percentage among tight ends on this list.
- Keenen Brown
Brown is the only draft prospect that had 2+ touchdowns for both receiving (5) and rushing (2) as well as 500+ receiving yards (577) and a 5+ yard rushing average (9.4). He was Pro Football Focus’s highest graded tight end and led all tight ends in missed tackles. He would have been their choice for the John Mackey Award given to the nation’s outstanding tight end.
- Kaden Smith
Smith was one of three finalists for the 2018 John Mackey Award given to the nation’s outstanding tight end. He had the third best 3-cone drill (7.08) at the combine among tight ends. Kaden, at 6’5″ and 255 lbs, was the fourth largest tight end at the combine. As reported by Pro Football Focus, nearly half of Smith’s receiving snaps saw him lined up in the slot. On those plays, he generated 2.06 yards per route run which ranked 6th among the 51 FBS TEs with 100+ slot snaps this season.
- Dax Raymond
Though not a lot of 3rd down receptions (19), Raymond has made 1st down on 90% of his 3rd down receptions over his three year college career. In 2018 nineteen of his 27 receptions resulted in a first down. He is a big physical receiver with good hands. Raymond had a good week at practice during the Senior Bowl and received many positive reports. Out of high school he served a two-year LDS Church Mission in Russia
- Tommy Sweeney
Sweeney is third among all active tight ends in career receiving yards (1,281) and second among tight end draft prospects. Sweeney performed good at the combine and pro day. His Pro Day 3-cone (7.17) would have been 8th best among tight ends at the combine. NFL Draft Network notes Sweeney’s best trait is his hands – “Showcases soft, natural and reliable hands.” and “Terrific hands.“
- Kahale Warring
One of only six tight ends that met combine workout target goals for tight ends in five or more of the seven events. Among tight ends Warring was third in the vertical jump (36.5″) and broad jump (10’2″). He came in sixth among tight ends in the forty (4.67). In high school Warring was a multi-sport athlete who played only one year of football in his senior year. He is still raw but exhibits a strong work ethic and great athleticism.
- C.J. Conrad
Conrad is one of only three tight end draft prospects that have career 1000+ receiving yards and 10+ receiving touchdowns. The other two are Noah Fant and Tommy Sweeney. Good hands and solid run blocker. Good work ethic.
The data used in the evaluation is Tight End Data