Draft Prospect Watch: Tight Ends
The 2022 NFL Draft is rapidly approaching and here at Sportsvival we will be pointing out the top players at each position. This article will touch on the tight ends of this year’s draft class, a position that often gets overlooked every year. Tight ends have slowly been coming into a big role for NFL teams, maybe this year’s class will provide another franchise tight end. Below are the top 10 tight ends coming into the 2022 NFL Draft.
Jalen Wydermyer – Texas A&M – Sportsvival’s number one ranked tight end, and 49th ranked overall prospect. Wydermyer is the undisputed best tight end coming into the draft, and the way he plays shows that. Wydermyer is a great route runner and is a big threat in the red zone standing at 6’5” 260 lbs. Not necessarily first round talent but has the talent to be a starting tight end in the NFL.
Cade Otton – Washington – Otton thrives as a blocking tight end both in the passing game and running game. Otton has good hands and does a great job being able to bring the ball down in contested situations. Otton does not have polished route running but is able to do enough to create separation in man coverage and find the open area in a zone defense.
Jeremy Ruckert – Ohio State – Ruckert is certainly a name to watch because of his lack of stats at Ohio State and the history of Ohio State tight ends not transitioning to the NFL well. Ruckert has the frame necessary to be an NFL tight end but come draft time I think he could be viewed more as a blocking tight end. He shows he has great catching ability but lacks creativity of what to do once he gets the ball into his hands.
Jake Ferguson – Wisconsin – Ferguson impressed me with his ability to catch the football, especially the way that he is able to adjust no matter the ball thrown his way. Ferguson with his ability to catch the ball and block offers a three down skill set that a lot of NFL teams would like to find in a mid to late round tight end.
Trey McBride – Colorado State – McBride’s versatility is what really sets him up as a top tight end prospect in this 2022 draft class. He has played at the Y, F, H and even the FB position which is important with the lack of full back usage by NFL teams. McBride shows a great football IQ, it really shows when the defense is running a zone, he sits comfortably underneath to give his quarterback an easy checkdown option.
Chigoziem Okonkwo – Maryland – Okonkwo is somewhat undersized for a tight end being 6’2” but he is such a tough runner once he gets the ball in his hands. Due to his below average size for a tight end he has only been really used as a receiving tight end, so blocking will be something to work on at the next level. Despite his smaller frame Okonkwo is a physical player and loves to try and run over defenders or move them out of his way with a stiff arm.
Cole Turner – Nevada – While Cole Turner is a sufficient blocker, when a passing play has been called, he should be put outside or in-line with the offensive lineman. Turner is not fancy with any type of moves in open space he is just quick once the ball is in his hand and shows great speed. Standing at 6 ‘6” also makes Turner a huge red zone threat, so look for whatever NFL team that drafts him to put him outside on a goal line fade.
Isaiah Likely – Coastal Carolina – The strongest part of Likely’s game is his route running, not just the route tree he is able to run but also his high football IQ to find the soft spots in coverage. Likely is excellent in pass blocking, whether that be chip blocks or staying in line and being an extra body to protect the quarterback. Likely also has a leg up on some of this tight end class because of his ability to stretch the field and make big plays.
Charlie Kolar – Iowa State – Kolar has tremendous hands and has proven he can make a great grab in all levels of the field. Route running is not his best attribute being Kolar struggles to make cuts and change direction. Kolar is not great with the ball in his hands, particularly due to his large frame Kolar is brought down pretty much instantly after making a catch. Does not work well deep down the field, has success short and intermediate routes.
Greg Dulcich– UCLA – Dulcich has made a name for himself at Senior Bowl practices and has had his name moved up a lot of draft boards already. Dulcich is great coming off the line of scrimmage and has a hidden burst of speed when running routes. With a huge wingspan (near 80 inches) Dulcich is able to just grab passes out of the air no matter the distance between him and the defender.