Top 25 tight ends heading into the 2021 NFL season

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Tight ends within the NFL are available in numerous types. Some can block, some can catch — unicorns can do each. Elite tight ends are scarce. But, among the best possible on the place are on championship-caliber groups, showcasing how essential tight ends are to constructing a contender. So who’re the highest tight ends within the NFL heading into the 2021 season?

High 25 tight ends within the NFL for the 2021 season | 25-16

Let’s dive into the highest tight ends for the 2021 NFL season, beginning with a participant on a model new staff.

25. Jared Prepare dinner, Los Angeles Chargers

Jared Prepare dinner was mainly by no means utilized in safety final yr and finally is a glorified huge slot receiver, however his athletic potential is waning. Prepare dinner is a little bit over two years older than Rob Gronkowski, making him the oldest participant on this checklist by a large margin. He was beginning to lose enjoying time to Adam Trautman late final yr in New Orleans. Prepare dinner has had a great profession, however it’s in all probability coming to an finish.

24. O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Seeing O.J. Howard on the checklist of the highest tight ends within the NFL would possibly increase some eyebrows, as most view his profession as a disappointment to date. Nonetheless, earlier than Howard was injured final yr, he acquired essentially the most enjoying time of Tampa Bay’s tight finish group.

Tight ends take longer to hit their peak within the NFL than most positions. Whereas Howard didn’t burst onto the scene early in his profession, the most effective could possibly be in retailer for this extraordinarily proficient participant.

23. Hayden Hurst, Atlanta Falcons

A yr in the past, Atlanta traded a second-round choose for Hayden Hurst. He caught 56 passes final yr however wasn’t actually an enormous difference-maker. Hurst got here into the league as an overaged prospect and possibly is what he’s at this level.

In fact, to no fault of his personal, the Falcons drafting of Kyle Pitts (who would already be very excessive on this checklist if rookies have been eligible) isn’t going to assist Hurst’s trigger in any respect. The Falcons didn’t choose up Hurst’s fifth-year choice.

22. Adam Trautman, New Orleans Saints

That is an up-and-coming participant that could possibly be far larger on this checklist a yr from now. Trautman solely performed 450 snaps in his rookie yr, however his play gave the Saints a simple determination to insert him right into a full-time function in 2021.

Trautman did a pleasant job of run blocking in his rookie season, and whereas he wasn’t focused typically final yr, he did profit from these alternatives. Going again to his school movie, Trautman is a man that may definitely affect the passing sport.

21. Eric Ebron, Pittsburgh Steelers

Eric Ebron has bounced across the league and isn’t a blocker in any respect, however he nonetheless creates mismatches within the passing sport. Ebron has by no means lived as much as his draft pedigree, and it positive didn’t assist his trigger that Detroit handed on Aaron Donald and Odell Beckham Jr. to draft him. Ebron performed a excessive variety of snaps for the Steelers final yr. Will that proceed with second-round choose Pat Freiermuth now within the equation?

20. Mo Alie-Cox, Indianapolis Colts

This man simply retains getting higher and higher. Mo Alie-Cox could possibly be in for a a lot larger function in 2021, particularly since Indianapolis didn’t do a lot to enhance their respective group of cross catchers. Alie-Cox has a basketball construct with a protracted, wiry body, and he does a superb job in cross safety and blocking within the run sport. Moreover, Carson Wentz does have a powerful historical past of concentrating on tight ends.

19. Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears

Jimmy Graham remains to be on Chicago’s roster, however will he actually block Cole Kmet from enjoying time?

You wouldn’t assume so, and Kmet confirmed why he was the primary tight finish drafted one yr in the past. He’s the youngest NFL tight finish within the prime 25. Kmet nonetheless has vital work to do as a blocker, however he has the scale and energy to enhance on this capability. He’s already a great receiver and may enhance dramatically together with his routes and skill to arrange defenders.

18. Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns

The Browns are paying Austin Hooper an terrible lot of cash however make the most of three completely different gamers on the place. Hooper didn’t give the Browns all that a lot as a blocker in his first season in Cleveland. Clearly, this is a matter with how a lot the Browns run the ball. All of that being mentioned, Hooper is a considerable contributor.

17. Robert Tonyan, Inexperienced Bay Packers

Robert Tonyan is a median athlete and isn’t nice in contested-catch conditions. Nonetheless, you may’t take his manufacturing from final yr away from him. He hauled in 11 touchdowns, and his function saved growing all through the season as he gained Aaron Rodgers’ belief. We’ll see if Tonyan crashes again right down to earth.

16. Irv Smith Jr., Minnesota Vikings

Irv Smith Jr. entered the NFL at a younger age, and solely Kmet is youthful amongst the highest tight ends listed right here. Smith may have a brilliant future, as he has the prospect to emerge as Minnesota’s third choice within the passing sport. He was fairly productive when Kyle Rudolph was out of the lineup final yr. Smith doesn’t supply loads as a blocker, however 2021 needs to be his finest season thus far.

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