NFL Tight End Rankings 2024: Travis Kelce Loses Top Spot, Brock Bowers Debuts in Top 20

There's a new No. 1 in our 2024 NFL tight end rankings, but which players will fill out the top five with the new season just around the corner?

Like the quarterback position in the NFL, there are not 32 starting-caliber tight ends in the league. Plus, with more and more tight ends becoming de facto receivers, comparisons are difficult. You really can’t compare Travis Kelce and Rob Gronkowski, as they’re completely different players.

Nevertheless, with the free agency and the draft now behind us, we’ve updated our NFL tight end rankings.

Offense: QB | RB | WR
Defense: DT | EDGE | CB | S

Who’s the Best Tight End in the NFL?

Note: Only one rookie tight end made this list, but we highlighted some other 2024 draft picks in a section at the end.

Move over, Travis Kelce: There’s a new No. 1.

George Kittle is the all-around best tight end in the NFL. The San Francisco 49ers star offers the best combination of receiving ability, blocking prowess, and toughness that the position requires. He is also coming off one of his best seasons as a pro.

At 30 years old, Kittle caught 65 balls for 1,020 yards and six touchdowns while playing in 16 games. He also finished as Pro Football Focus’ highest run-blocking grade for tight ends.

Kansas City Chiefs fans won’t like it, but Kittle is atop the tight end mountain.

NFL Tight End Rankings 2-11

2) Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

Kelce showed some signs of slowing in 2023, finishing with fewer than 1,000 receiving yards for the first time since 2015. But he still is the second-best TE in the game, despite the fact he really is a receiver masquerading as a tight end.

Playing in 15 games, Kelce caught 93 balls for 984 yards and five touchdowns. Despite all the hoopla surrounding his relationship with Taylor Swift, Kelce stayed at the top of his game while leading the Chiefs to another Super Bowl title.

The question isn’t whether Kelce still is a top-two NFL tight end. Rather, it’s fair to wonder whether he’ll slide further down this list a year from now when he’ll be 35 years old.

3) T.J. Hockenson, Minnesota Vikings

T.J. Hockenson was enjoying a career-best campaign before suffering a torn ACL late in the season. In 15 games, the Iowa product caught 95 balls for 960 yards and five touchdowns. He was an absolute force.

Yes, Hockenson is inconsistent as a blocker, and the knee injury is a concern. But he still is just 26 years old and is a dynamic talent.

4) Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

Mark Andrews’ season was wrecked by an ankle injury, but he was a force when healthy. In 10 games, the 28-year-old caught 45 balls for 544 yards and six touchdowns while serving as Lamar Jackson’s most trusted target.

Andrews still is one of the best in the game.

5) Sam LaPorta, Detroit Lions

The Lions recycled drafting a TE high instead of paying the one they already had on the roster. Considering Hockenson is now the richest TE in NFL history and decidedly not the best TE in the NFL, the Lions are probably comfortable with their decision. They even got the same model — a brand-new Iowa TE.

And a great one at that. Sam LaPorta was a beast in his rookie season, finishing with 86 catches for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns.

MORE: Who Are the NFL’s Highest-Paid Tight Ends?

6) Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles

Former OC Shane Steichen’s evolution of the Eagles’ offense was perfect for Dallas Goedert. He was a draft darling coming out of South Dakota State and proved to be an excellent all-around TE prospect. That has come to fruition in the NFL, as Goedert continues improving as a blocker in the pros.

When he’s healthy, Goedert is one of the best receiving tight ends in football.

7) David Njoku, Cleveland Browns

Drafting a tight end high is a bit like investing in bonds. They take time to fully vest, and even if you need the money now, the investment hasn’t broken even yet. You may perish by the time they’re profitable.

David Njoku was selected in the 2017 NFL Draft. His first season with over 500 receiving yards was in 2022. He has improved as a blocker in the run game, which is necessary with a strong offensive line and a stable of backs that get the ball so often.

But everyone should have seen this slow developmental curve coming because he was only 21 during his rookie season. Since then, he’s become one of the more consistent blockers at the position.

8) Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons

Kyle Pitts has been a disappointment since posting 1,026 receiving yards as a rookie in 2021. He posted just 356 yards in 2022 and followed it up with 667 yards in 2023. Pitts also has been a total liability as a run blocker.

With all that said, Pitts’ talent is undeniable, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him deliver a breakout campaign with Kirk Cousins as his quarterback.

9) Trey McBride, Arizona Cardinals

Trey McBride was a breakout star in the second half of last season. From Week 6 on, the 2022 second-round pick averaged 6.1 receptions and 62.2 yards per game while showing well as a blocker.

Don’t be surprised if McBride is considered a top-five tight end a year from now.

10) Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars

The 240-pound “tight end” is a mismatch of a weapon similar to Pitts and New York Giants TE Darren Waller. And with WR Calvin Ridley in the mix, those crossing patterns Evan Engram runs so often were even more open in 2023 than they were in 2022.

Engram will turn 30 in September, but he’s still every bit of the athlete he was coming from Ole Miss.

11) Jake Ferguson, Dallas Cowboys

It’s odd that Jake Ferguson tested like an average athlete because his on-field spring is apparent after the catch. Ferguson lept over defenders a few times in 2022, and he held his own as a run blocker, even though it’s clear he needs to get stronger and more technical at the craft.

In 2023, Ferguson was fantastic. One of Dak Prescott’s favorite targets, he finished last season with 71 catches for 761 yards and five TDs.

Top Tight Ends Remaining

12) Dalton Schultz, Houston Texans

Following five solid seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, Dalton Schultz joined the Texans in 2023 and posted 59 catches for 635 yards and five TDs. Here’s merely an average blocker, but Schultz is one of the more consistent pass-catching tight ends in the league.

He recently re-signed with Houston on a three-year deal.

13) Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears

Cole Kmet’s breakout finally arrived in 2023. The 2020 second-round pick finished the season with 73 catches for 719 yards and six touchdowns while serving as one of Justin Fields’ most trusted targets. Don’t be surprised if Kmet is one of the first tight ends selected in your fantasy draft this summer.

14) Hunter Henry, New England Patriots

Hunter Henry joined the Patriots in 2021 with a checkered injury history. But he put those concerns to bed, appearing in every game over the last three seasons until missing the final three contests in 2023 due to a minor knee issue.

Back with New England on a three-year contract, Henry racked up 42 catches for 419 yards and six touchdowns last season.

15) Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills

Dalton Kincaid might be ready to take his job, but Dawson Knox is still a very good TE in his own right. Solid both as a blocker and as a receiver, Knox combined for 1,104 yards in 2021 and 2022 before injuries limited his production in 2023.

Does he have as much raw talent as Kincaid? Probably not. But Knox still is one of Josh Allen’s favorite weapons.

16) Jonnu Smith, Miami Dolphins

Will the real Jonnu Smith please stand up? Smith displayed tantalizing potential but offered so-so production while with the Tennessee Titans from 2017 through 2020.

He then was a disaster with the New England Patriots after landing a big contract but rebounded with the Falcons in 2023 by setting new career highs with 50 catches and 580 yards.

Now with the Dolphins, Smith will have a chance to flourish in Mike McDaniel’s offense. But don’t be surprised if he’s a total disappointment.

17) Noah Fant, Seattle Seahawks

Noah Fant, a first-round pick in 2019, hasn’t lived up to his draft billing — but that doesn’t mean he’s a bad player. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Rock-solid as a blocker, Fant topped 480 receiving yards in four of his first five seasons, including two campaigns of over 600 yards. He recently was given a new contract by the Seahawks, and for good reason.

18) Dalton Kincaid, Buffalo Bills

He might rank top 10 next year, but not because he’s a great all-around tight end. Kincaid is firmly in the Kelce mold: receiver first, tight end second.

Nevertheless, he’s a young, talented player who racked up 673 yards and two TDs in his first season. The arrow is pointing up.

19) Brock Bowers, Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders used the No. 13 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft to select Brock Bowers, considered considered one of the best tight end prospects of the last decade. Another receiver-tight end hybrid, Bowers should be an immediate upgrade over Michael Mayer, who was selected 35th overall in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Bowers’ combination of speed, open-field playmaking, and raw pass-catching ability should lead to big numbers — and a fast rise up this list.

20) Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams

People don’t talk much about Tyler Higbee, but they probably should. He barely misses any games, and he’s posted at least 495 receiving yards in each of the last five seasons.

Higbee doesn’t offer much as a run blocker, but he’s a solid all-around player who deserves more respect.

21) Tyler Conklin, New York Jets

The same can be said for Tyler Conklin. After doing next to nothing in his first three seasons, Conklin posted yardage totals of 593, 552, and 621 over the last three campaigns, respectively. Don’t be surprised if he has a big season in 2023 with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback.

22) Luke Musgrave, Green Bay Packers

Luke Musgrave didn’t match the production of fellow rookie tight ends LaPorta and Kincaid, but he still enjoyed an impressive debut. In 11 games, the second-round pick caught 34 balls for 352 yards and one touchdown. He’d be a sneaky-good late-round target in your fantasy drafts.

23) Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers

Pat Freiermuth spurned the “Baby Gronk” moniker when he was at Penn State — a smart decision on his part. Expectations for the Nittany Lion were high, but thankfully, his hype did not outpace his college tape, which was good but not revolutionary.

Freiermuth is an old-school TE, who is a strong route runner from an in-line position but is athletic enough to cause problems when split out into the slot and out wide. His 6’5″, 260-pound frame hasn’t made him a devastating blocker, but he’s improving and still has a lot of time to go before becoming a finished product.

24) Isaiah Likely, Baltimore Ravens

Isaiah Likely doesn’t do much when Andrews is healthy. But when Andrews is sidelined, he usually takes off.

KEEP READING: 13 Greatest Tight Ends of All Time

Likely finished last season with 30 catches for 411 yards and five TDs, with most of the production coming after Andrews suffered an injury that wiped out his regular season. Likely is an ascending talent at 23 years old.

25) Tucker Kraft, Green Bay Packers

Green Bay’s other rookie TE, Tucker Kraft finished his first season with production that nearly mirrored Musgrave’s: 31 catches for 355 yards and two TDs.

You also could argue he’s a better blocker than Musgrave. Regardless, the Packers are set up at tight end for years to come.

Unranked Rookie Tight Ends

  • Ben Sinnott, Washington Commanders
    The Commanders used the 21st pick in the second round to select Ben Sinnott, who can line up in multiple spots. In addition to versatility, Sinnott brings pass-catching upside and lead-blocking prowess. With Logan Thomas retired and newcomer Zach Ertz on the back nine, Sinnott could see a lot of targets from quarterback Jayden Daniels.
  • Tip Reiman
    With the 18th pick in Round 3, the Cardinals selected Illinois tight end Tip Reiman. More of a blocker than a receiver, Reiman should serve as a great compliment to McBride, one of the best pass-catching tight ends in football.

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