Tight Ends- NFL Draft 18

1. Dallas Goedert (South Dakota State)- He has really blossomed into an NFL-caliber receiving tight end during his time playing for the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. With tight ends today, a majority of those playing the position have ties to the basketball court and Dallas Goedert is one of them. He’s a former high school basketball player with advanced ball skills and body control that have transferred over to the football field. When he runs his routes, he can gain adequate separation with his short and intermediate routes and he maintains his speed when working vertically. He’s a pass snatcher and on the tape, he made many acrobatic, one-handed grabs. He’s a great blocker and has the size and technique to work defenders out of the play. He strikes with a good knee bend, hand placement ,and pad level. Scouts are referring to him as the next best tight end to reach the professional level.

2. Hayden Hurst (South Carolina)- The start of his athletic career is definitely an interesting one. He started out as a baseball player and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 17th round of the 2012 draft. In 2015, he was a walk-on for the South Carolina Gamecocks and in 2016, he became a star. He shows a great combination of size and quickness and he can line up anywhere on the field and be effective. He’s a willing and capable passer at each of the levels and has the footwork and acceleration to burst open from his breaks. He’s extremely focused on the football when it’s headed in his direction and can sink himself into a zone look when getting open. He’s a very reliable target inside the hash marks and can make adjustments halfway into his route to make the catch.

3. Mark Andrews (Oklahoma)- I saw a lot of Oklahoma Sooners football games in 2017 and Baker Mayfield was great at connecting with each of his weapons on the field, but he always seemed to have a special chemistry with the man in the middle, his tight end, Mark Andrews. He was counted on for an additional workload and put up some big numbers for the Sooners. He was the best red zone tight end in the country and anytime they needed a score, Mark was always there to make the catch. He’s a crafty guy when it comes to making an adjustment in his routes and he’s not the quickest guy, but he finds ways to release and uncover. The one thing that scouts have mentioned has been his lack of speed and the inability to really break away from man coverage. Once he catches the football, he doesn’t have that burst to really sprint ahead to the races. He’s just a big possession guy over the middle that’s a quarterback’s best friend.

4. Mike Gesicki (Penn State)- Whenever I discussed Penn State and their offense, I often talked about a big three and that consisted of quarterback Trace McSorley, running back Saquon Barkley and the third piece of this offensive trio was Mike Gesicki. He’s another former basketball player that traded the hardwood for the gridiron and he became one of the best all-around tight ends in all of the college football. He’s very smooth in his release and when he’s roaming around to get the ball, he bullies linebackers that try to cover him. At 6’6 and 252 pounds, he’s long, athletic and displays the loose hips to create separation at the second and third level. He’s put a lot of effort into his route running and he’s able to work the seams without any type of hesitation. He uses his length and springs himself up to create a rare catch radius. He’s very sure-handed as he hasn’t dropped a pass in two years.

5. Dalton Schultz (Stanford)- The University of Stanford has been known as a “hotspot” for tight ends. David Shaw referred to Dalton Schultz as one of the best tight ends he’s ever coached and he’s the best that the team has had in a while. Blocking is a very important part of playing this position and he’s a very tenacious and tough as a blocker. As a route runner, he’s very physical when it comes to creating the space to get open. He can get open over the middle of the field and he’s become a very reliable target, especially on third down when it comes to converting the chains. The one thing I’d like to see him improve on is being a bit more physical after the football is in his hands. Run people over! Stiff arm somebody!