Top TEs at the Shrine Bowl: Ja’Tavion Sanders, McCallan Castles Lead Talented Group

Which tight ends should you be watching as the 2024 East-West Shrine Bowl takes center stage in the pre-draft process?

The 2024 East-West Shrine Bowl is here, and the wide receivers boast a deep group this season. Several talented NFL tight ends like Chig Okonkwo and Luke Schoonmaker got their start at the Shrine Bowl.

Are any of this year’s Shrine Bowl tight ends destined for top NFL Draft picks and stardom?

Shrine Bowl TE Rankings

The Shrine Bowl begins on Saturday, Jan. 27, and will be a spectacle for all NFL Draft enthusiasts. This year’s tight end class brings plenty of dynamic receiving threats to the fold.

Here’s how those TEs stack up against one another at this stage of their prospective NFL Draft journey.

1) Ja’Tavion Sanders, Texas

The top target at the Shrine Bowl, many believe Ja’Tavion Sanders is the second-best tight in this draft behind Brock Bowers, and it is easy to see why. His size and speed make him a dangerous mismatch, and he is tough to bring down after the catch.

Sanders will pop in drills and has a chance to vault his name even further up draft boards.

2) McCallan Castles, Tennessee

People forget about McCallan McCallan Castles because he doesn’t get a ton of production, but make no mistake, Castles is a great prospect. Tennessee’s offense rarely looked his way, but not for a lack of getting open. Every time Castles touched the ball, good things happened. A fluid athlete for his rocked-up frame, Castles can do damage as a receiver and as a blocker.

He has a real chance to impress and put himself up on NFL radars.

3) Mason Fairchild, Kansas

A bit more of a traditional tight end, Mason Fairchild didn’t get a ton of production at Kansas but made the most of what he did get. Fairchild is a steady blocker, but I’m very intrigued by his upside as a receiver with his athleticism. He has a great chance to really shine at the Shrine Bowl and boost his stock.

4) Isaac Rex, BYU

Isaac Rex was a key cog for BYU’s offense this season, and BYU fed him the ball in tough situations for a reason. Rex was great in contested-catch situations and consistently won in the red zone. When you add on his ability as one of the best blockers in the class, Rex makes for an intriguing prospect at the next level.

5) Dallin Holker, Colorado State

Dallin Holker might be the best pure receiving tight end of this group, and it might be fair to say he’s more “jumbo wide receiver” than tight end. Just 26% of Holker’s snaps came in-line, with the vast majority split in the slot or out wide. He is a weapon after the catch, though, with good athleticism to move the chains consistently.

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Holker will have questions to answer about his ability to play in-line, but he can start as an F-tight end in the NFL.

6) Zach Heins, South Dakota State

Zach Heins had to compete with the Janke twins for production but made the most of it. Following in line with the recent stellar South Dakota State tight end pipeline, Heins has a knack for finding holes in zone coverage and being a reliable chain-mover.

While not quite the same level of athlete as previous SDSU tight ends, Heins has the ability to be an effective weapon at the next level.

7) Tip Reiman, Illinois

A tough blocker and one of the best in this class, Tip Reiman is a prototypical possession-style tight end. Reiman ideally fits in as a TE2 but can be an instrumental part of a team’s success with his reliable hands, toughness, and blocking skills.

8) Mason Pline, Furman

If you are a real CFB sicko like me, you might remember Mason Pline’s crazy catch in the FCS playoffs in Furman’s upset bid against Montana. It’s that kind of ability that makes Pline an intriguing name.

A former basketball player, Pline is 6’7″, 260 and has the contested-catch ability to match. I want to see how he separates against better competition, but Pline has the tools to make an impression at the Shrine Bowl this year.

All the 2024 NFL Draft resources you need — the draft order, the top QBs, the Top 100 prospects, and the full 2024 Big Board — right at your fingertips at Pro Football Network!

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