June 21, 2024

2024 NFL Draft: Top 10 Tight Ends (10-6)

8 min read
Who are the tight ends to know about in the 2024 NFL Draft? @CodyFolden breaks it down with the first part of his top ten list.

2024 TE Prospects Part 1

By: Cody Folden

 

The Tight End class is here. The Quarterbacks and Running Backs are finished, and we are moving on to the first group of pass catchers.

I will be ranking the top 10 of each position. It is broken down from 10 to 1, into two articles from 10 to 6, and 5 to 1. Film breakdowns and testing will factor in. But, as of this moment, this specific article is for BEFORE the scouting combine. New and updated articles will be released after the combine and after the draft. These are the other two major events that will tell us a lot of information. 

Last year’s class had talented players. They included Dalton Kincaid, Sam Laporta, Michael Mayer, and the Green Bay tight ends Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft. While that class will be tough to surpass, I think this year’s class will give them a challenge. This year, we might have the best tight end prospect ever. But, people might worry because we said the same about Kyle Pitts. The 2024 class will also have some surprise tight ends. They will play and matter in fantasy football.

Player comparisons, draft projections, and measurables will all be taken into effect and added in once more available. Starting with number 10 we have:

 

#10 – Trey Knox (South Carolina)

 

 

 

 

 

He spent most of his career at the University of Arkansas for 4 years. However, it is his 5th year at South Carolina that will most likely get him drafted. This 6 foot 5 player had career stats of 118 receptions for 1195 yards and 11 touchdowns. He is one of the slimmer tight ends, weighing around 220 pounds. This may not be ideal for the NFL, where the tight end position requires a lot of physicality. Knox would benefit from being in a spread offense where he wouldn’t have to focus on blocking. It’s not that he is bad at blocking, it’s just not his area of expertise. Play to the players’ strengths.

 

Where Trey excels is everything you want to see based on fantasy. Great ball tracking with sticky hands. Should be one of the faster tight ends at the combine. With his speed, he is also one of the best at creating separation. He transitions smoothly from catching the ball to becoming a runner. But, he tends to bail out and fall without using any move to gain yards. He catches it and goes down with very few yards after contact. Knox lacks size at the line of scrimmage. So, while he can block, he is better in the slot or out wide. There, he can block a defensive back instead of a defensive lineman. He is in the 220 range. It will be interesting to see if the team that drafts him will keep him at tight end or make him a wide receiver. If he stays at tight end, I will have to question his durability with NFL physicality.

Trey Knox can raise his stock with good workouts and measurements during the draft process. I expect him to rise after the combine.

 

 

At number 9: 

 

 

 

#9 – Theo Johnson (Penn State)

 

 

 

 

Theo Johnson was a challenging player for me to watch. He has good film and is a typical size at 6 foot 6 and 250 pounds. I was not impressed, possibly due to the Penn State offense. In his 4-year career, he had 77 receptions for 938 yards and 12 touchdowns. Johnson is a physical tight end. In fact, on some of his routes, he prefers to hit the defender first to create separation. Johnson would have been a higher pick in the early 2000s because he is a good blocker. He excels at the little things that tight ends do. He even ran fullback for the team at times.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FruwcMKE2s4

Johnson became a red zone weapon last year. He scored 7 touchdowns out of his 12 career touchdowns in his last season. Theo is great with contested catches. He lacks the skills to create separation. So, he uses his speed, which he does have, to his advantage and creates something from nothing. While he never reached 500 yards during any season, he will be drafted.

I think Theo needs to improve a lot to play next year. While this is the case, it very well could have been Penn State. With a proper NFL coaching staff, he is a promising player and has all the characteristics, he needs more development.

 

Coming in at 8:

 

 

 

 

#8 Cade Stover (Ohio State)

 

 

 

 

Cade Stover and Theo Johnson could be one and the same for me. A 5-year collegiate career at Ohio State, he ended up with 82 receptions for 1058 yards and 10 touchdowns. Like Johnson, there is no denying that they have talent. I just question if they will be a fantasy-relevant option in the NFL. Stover is a good H back/inline TE and is very physical at the line of scrimmage. He is a dominant pass blocker but will need to work on learning proper stance and placement in run blocking. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMm1nLge-pI

Stover is better than Theo in the receiving game. He is skilled at catching contested passes and is a threat in the red zone. Stover’s height and weight (6 foot 4, 255 pounds) help him. Although he has enough speed to get open, defenders are not afraid of him. They would rather have Stover catch the ball than other playmakers. Stover has a variety of routes, but they are not precise. He often rounds off his routes, which shows that defenders are not afraid of him getting away and making a big gain. This also shows why he is in so many contested catch situations. Rounding off your routes makes it easy for defenders to stay with you. However, he can still move the chains and keep drives going.

But, I do question his attitude and effort in plays he wasn’t a part of. He would give up or sink his shoulders making it easy on the defender to save energy and live another down. While this is a personal gripe, it shows on tape and will get questioned. Stover will get drafted, I just don’t know when. Can he develop enough in the receiving game to become a reliable tight end in the NFL? We will have to stay tuned.

 

Here is the tier break. From here on out, based on the film, I believe these tight ends are more well-rounded and can start, and provide fantasy-relevant games starting next year. 

 

At number 7:

 

 

 

 

#7 – Erick All (Iowa)

 

 

 

 

Erick All is a versatile tight end that some NFL teams will be interested in. It’s not surprising that he played at Iowa, also known as Tight End University. What makes him a jack of all trades? He has the ideal size, standing at 6 feet 4 inches and weighing 245 pounds. He can block and has some agility, making him a do-it-all player. He spent 4 years at Michigan and completed his 5th year at Iowa. In total, he had 75 receptions for 864 yards and 5 touchdowns. Despite competing for playing time in college, he consistently impressed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZF1fhEnWo8

Erick All will be another tight end who could surprise us with how fast he is. While he could drop a little weight to gain some speed, he ultimately doesn’t need to be effective. All for his size, is twitchier than expected. He runs crisp routes and excels when it is one-on-one man coverage. While his size plays a factor in that, he is good at making the defender believe the ball isn’t coming to him. He brings his hands up later than most but they are always in perfect position. He is a quarterbacks dream of being the typical “security blanket.” Crisp route running can get you open. But, defenders seem to recover easier on All than some other tight ends. He cannot separate from his opponents fully. 

He does struggle to find some open pockets in zone. Decent coaching at the next level could address this. But, the bigger problem is the drops. While he is a reliable route runner to get open, he has a problem of thinking ahead before actually catching the ball.

After Detroit found Laporta in the second round of the Draft last year. Teams will be looking for the next do-it-all tight end. Most will start at his alma mater. Expect All to rise up draft boards and go higher than expected. 

Number 6 is a fan favorite on socials, that would be:

 

 

 

 

#6 Ben Sinnott (Kansas State)

 

 

 

 

Ben Sinnott another 6 foot 4 245 pound tight end played his whole college career at Kansas State. He started at fullback but fully transitioned to tight end in his third year. Then, started to play a lot more. With a career of 82 catches, 1138 yards, and 10 touchdowns, he also has a rushing touchdown. Sinnott is great in space, when you get him the ball good things seem to happen. He tracks the ball with the best of them and is sneaky fast. He has complete control of his speed where he can decelerate if need be to shake a defender. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pPrQrWxni8

He doesn’t need his speed to win. Sinnott is a precise route runner and creates separation that way. He is no slouch and can get physical. But, most linebackers or safeties can’t touch him to even bump him off his route. Yet, the good comes with some bad. His timing is good to highpoint the ball and be in a position to run after the catch. But, sometimes he focuses too much on that, then catching the ball. While I have praised his speed, he won’t blow the top off the defense. He creates separation so the quarterback has an easy throw but usually gets caught. A huge reason for this is his physicality. Ben Sinnott enjoys trucking defenders. He does this after catching the ball, rather than using his athleticism. He has enough athleticism to navigate defenders but instead uses his pads a little too much. Resulting in not gaining as much as he could have on the play, and nagging or season-ending injuries.

I believe Sinnott will exceed expectations. It’s difficult to predict where tight ends will be drafted. Instead of guessing, we hope for good landing spots that favor tight ends. If Sinnott is paired with an experienced tight end, he could succeed in the league.

 

Like the running back and quarterback lists, there are some omissions, or lower positions that some people won’t agree with. Stay tuned to see who was left off the list in part two where we go over the top 5 tight ends in the 2024 class. While the top won’t surprise you, some others might.