by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of Georgia Bulldogs.
As this year comes to a close, Draft 412 will take a look at the 2023 and 2024 draft classes by position. The following is a current “Best Of” list for both offense and defense, taking a look back at the top players from last year’s draft party and ahead to the coming NFL selection process in April.
From Draft 412 to you…Happy Holidays and get your mock drafts ready!!
No other position in football has evolved in the past decade as much as the tight end. Teams are looking for the next Tony Gonzalez or Rob Gronkowski to build their offenses around and are no longer just drafting blocking tight ends who can catch a pass here and there. Tight ends in today’s football line up in line and out wide and has grown to be one of the most important spots on an offense as teams look to exploit weak linebackers and safeties.
The 2023 NFL Draft had 15 tight ends selected and here are the best of last year’s selections:
1- Detroit - Sam LaPorta
The Detroit Lions had one of the better drafts in 2023. Not only did they nab future star running back Jahmyr Gibbs and tough linebacker Jack Campbell in round 1, they also grabbed Sam LaPorta, a future All-Pro tight end in the second round. LaPorta has added a new dimension to Jared Goff and the Detroit Lions. On the season, he has hauled in 71 catches for 758 yards and 9 touchdowns.
2- Buffalo - Dalton Kincaid
Dalton Kincaid was the first tight end selected in 2023 picked at #25 by the Buffalo Bills. The thought of giving Josh Allen another offensive weapon had defensive coaches staying up late at night. He has hauled in at least 2 passes each week, until suffering a thumb injury in this past weekend's game. In total he has tallied 61 catches for 495 yards and 2 touchdowns for the Bills.
3- Green Bay - Luke Musgrave
Luke Musgrave was selected in the second round by the Green Bay Packers who are looking to rebuild their offense with young talent. Musgrave has had some moments of brilliance this season and the 6’6” tight end was becoming a favorite target of Jordan Love. However, in a week 11 matchup with the Chargers, Musgrave was lost for the season with a lacerated kidney. His season ends with 31 catches for 341 yards and 1 touchdown.
As we move from the 2023 draft to the 2024 NFL Draft, here is Draft 412’s Top Ten Tight End prospects:
1- Brock Bowers - Georgia
Tight ends like Brock Bowers do not come around very often. The combination of speed, hands and versatility will propel him into at least the top 10 in this draft class. Used the right way, Bowers will become a star in the NFL.
2- Ja’Tavion Sanders - Texas
Sanders was an integral part of a lethal Texas offense that went 12-1 and has reached the College Football Playoffs. Sanders runs very good routes and has soft hands and body control to haul in any kind of pass. And he’s been very good in the red zone over the years for Texas.
3- Brevyn Spann-Ford - Minnesota
Brevyn Spann-Ford has the size and athleticism to be a top tier tight end in the NFL. He is excellent at contested passes and should be a weapon in the redzone for some lucky team.
4- Jaheim Bell - Florida State
In terms of versatility, only Brock Bowers is better. Bell has lined up everywhere for the undefeated Seminoles and has been productive. He has a high ceiling and will be a great day 2 pick.
5- Cade Stover- Ohio State
Cade Stover is the best blocking tight end in the class and just might be the most complete tight in the draft. He is athletic and can be that safety net for a quarterback at the next level.
6- Bryson Nesbit - North Carolina
Bryson Nesbit may be the wildcard in this tight end class. At 6’6” and 245 lbs., he runs and looks more like a wide receiver than he does a tight end. If put in the right hands, Nesbit could be an effective weapon in the NFL. At the time of this article, he has not announced his draft intentions yet.
7- Ben Sinnott - Kansas State
Sinnott is a scrappy undersized tight end who isn’t afraid to put a helmet on you in the run game. Has a productive season at Kansas State, further helping his draft stock.
8- Jared Wiley- TCU
Jared Wiley has made improvements to his game over the past 2 seasons. He has the play making ability to go along with a penchant to hit everything that moves as a blocker. Draft Nation is excited to see his combine performance to see if he can leapfrog some of the prospects ahead of him.
9- Luke Lachey- Iowa
Iowa is becoming “Tight End U” after the past several years of seeing their tight ends drafted and starring in the NFL. Luke Lachey is the latest to try and make his mark in the NFL. He has the size and strong hands to be an effective option underneath in the NFL. A nice day 3 pick but will have to overcome injury concerns as he was lost for the season early with an ankle surgery.
10- Dallin Holker- Colorado State
Since he completed his Mormon mission while at BYU, he will be entering the NFL as a 24-year-old. That may be a negative, but over the past two seasons, Holker has taken his game to a whole new level. He went from an afterthought to being a solid mid-late round draft pick.