NFL Draft 2021: Top 5 Tight End Prospects

Story posted April 27, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio, NFL Draft by Jonathan Draeger

The tight end position provides versatility as a receiver or an extra offensive lineman. They can help lead a drive down the field with their great hands and large stature to bulldoze defensive backs or provide great protection on the line of scrimmage to aid the run game and stop any blitzes coming off the edge. Having a tight end on the same level as Travis Kelce, George Kittle or Rob Gronkowski can put an offense at a high pedestal. These five prospects in this year’s NFL draft have the potential to do just that.

1. Kyle Pitts, Florida

Arguably the best single prospect in this draft class, the 6-foot-6-inch junior possesses an advantage in size compared to the opposing secondaries of the NFL. His legs provide long strides and quick bursts of speed to create separation, while his near-11-inch hands can locate, track and secure the ball as well as any receiver.

Coming off a 770-yard, 12-touchdown year for the Florida Gators, Pitts managed to raise his draft stock exponentially, though there are kinks that need to be fixed. His blocking skill set needs improvement when holding linebackers as the lead blocker, and his releases into routes need more hesitation to throw off defenders. Regardless, Pitts will likely find himself as a top-10 pick.

2. Pat Freiermuth, Penn State

After shortening his 2020 season due to a shoulder injury, Freiermuth decided to focus on preparing for the NFL draft. Having gained 310 yards in just four games, the 6-foot-5-inch junior provides NFL teams size and athleticism that can be placed all over the field.

Freiermuth can find himself trucking over defenders in the open field after cruising past the second level of the defense. He may be a reliable option for a third-down conversion, but shedding his defender in close man coverage and his blocking mechanics need to improve slightly. Look for Freiermuth to be an early selection in the second round.

3. Tommy Tremble, Notre Dame

The Fighting Irish let the sophomore tight end Tremble pursue a career in the NFL. On paper, the stats do not compliment the Notre Dame product, as he only has 35 receptions, 401 yards and four touchdowns to his name, which many scouts may consider raw.

Regardless, the 6-foot-3-inch Tremble provides an athletic burst of speed off the line to either get into his route or set the edge for an outside run. He finds a way to adjust to the defense to stay open and is very physical once the ball is snapped. He will find his way off the big board by day 2.

4. Kenny Yeboah, Ole Miss

Yeboah provided lots of collegiate tape, whether during his time at Temple or Ole Miss. The 6-foot-4-inch redshirt senior had a great 2020, racking up 524 yards on 27 receptions for six touchdowns.

Yeboah brings the mechanics of a great wideout while providing the blocking abilities of a veteran lineman. However, his overall ability needs more work in order for him to really blossom in this league. He may be a late pick, but Yeboah is a hidden gem in this draft class.

5. Brevin Jordan, Miami

This Hurricanes tight end is usually found on the line of scrimmage or in the slot, but he acts like a receiver with soft hands and fast route-running. As he runs down the field, Jordan will not hesitate to bulldoze defenders and continue to gain yards after contact, which is why he ended the 2020 season with 38 receptions, 576 yards and seven touchdowns.

He may find himself open most of the time, but he cannot seem to break off defenders well, which is a problem considering his struggles with contested catches. Jordan also struggles with sustaining his blocking assignments, which can prove fatal to the personnel in the backfield. He may get the call near the end of the third round.

 

Jonathan Draeger is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact him at jrd6052@psu.edu.