The NFL Draft is knocking on the door. All-star games and the NFL Combine have been completed, leaving only pro days between us and the annual selection event. As the 2022 NFL Draft nears, here are Pro Football Network’s top 10 tight ends in the class!
Top 10 Tight Ends in the 2022 NFL Draft
The top 10 has gone through quite the shake up from early on in the process to now. The preseason TE1 has fallen a few spots, while a couple of tight ends rose from obscurity into the group.
10) Jelani Woods, Virginia
One of the biggest risers in the pre-draft process, Jelani Woods now finds himself in the top 10 at the position. At 6’7″, 259 pounds, with 34 1/8″ arms and 24 bench reps at the NFL Combine, Woods isn’t lacking in the size and strength departments. And with a 4.61 40-yard dash, the speed is there to support his frame.
Woods was primarily a blocking tight end for three years at Oklahoma State before transferring to Virginia last year. He hauled in 44 receptions for 568 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2021, flashing his receiving ability inline. While a bit raw, Woods’ physical tools are worth the investment in the 2022 NFL Draft.
9) Cade Otton, Washington
His physical tools may not be on the level of Woods, but Cade Otton still stands at 6’5″ and 247 pounds with nearly 33″ arms. Washington’s offense didn’t maximize Otton’s skill set, but across four seasons, he caught 91 of 121 targets for 1,026 yards and 9 TDs. He’s comfortable in the slot and has sure hands, with only 6 drops in his career. Additionally, Otton owns solid technique as a blocker and the feet/instincts to win as a receiver.
8) Cole Turner, Nevada
A receiver-turned-tight end, Cole Turner was a reliable weapon for Nevada over the last two years. He spent most of his time out wide and in the slot, and his 6’6″ frame with 33″ arms allowed him to secure contested catches. However, with a 4.76 40 time and 27″ vertical, Turner may not have the athleticism to thrive as a “move” tight end. Regardless, his size makes him a red-zone threat from Day 1, with room to grow as a receiver and blocker.
7) Chigoziem Okonkwo, Maryland
At 6’2″ and 238 pounds, I’m not quite sure how the NFL will view Chigoziem Okonkwo. Nevertheless, his 4.52 40-yard dash and 35.5″ vertical highlight his explosiveness from the position. The Terrapins made an effort to get Okonkwo the ball, leading to an average depth of target of 5.0 in 2021. He averaged over 5 yards after the catch, totaling 51 receptions for 448 yards and 5 touchdowns.
The tools are there for Okonkwo to shine as an “F” tight end (slot/fullback), but teams likely won’t ask him to block much due to his size.
6) Greg Dulcich, UCLA
One of my personal favorite tight ends in the class, Greg Dulcich thrived in Chip Kelly’s offense at UCLA after walking on to the program. At the Combine, Dulcich participated in every drill and generated above-average numbers in each, including a 4.69 40 time and 34″ vertical. The physical tools are there, and he flashed the ability to pressure defenses vertically with the Bruins. Dulcich even showed improved blocking ability during Senior Bowl practices.
5) Jake Ferguson, Wisconsin
Consistency and reliability are the names of Jake Ferguson‘s game. He isn’t your typical run-blocking, hard-nosed Wisconsin tight end. He is a threat in the receiving game with great hands and ball skills. While he is a better receiver than blocker, Ferguson gives effort and will benefit from NFL coaching. In the end, Ferguson offers an appetizing skill set and can be a TE2/3 from the jump.
4) Jalen Wydermyer, Texas A&M
Jalen Wydermyer didn’t test at the Combine, and his reported pro day numbers are scary for a prospect many had as the TE1/2 in the class. He never looked like an explosive athlete, but he possesses NFL-level size at 6’4″ and 255 pounds. He’s been a productive playmaker for Texas A&M against SEC competition, and he still has room to grow as a true junior.
Wydermyer has the route-running ability and loose hips to win as a receiver early on, but his physical tools put a cap on his upside.
3) Jeremy Ruckert, Ohio State
Jeremy Ruckert is a rocked-up 6’5″ and 250 pounds. He isn’t very explosive off the line or in and out of route breaks, but his sheer size is a problem in the open field. Although he can bully smaller defenders, he isn’t much of a receiving threat downfield. If he can improve his technique as a run blocker, he can be a legitimate bulldozer for running backs due to his brute strength. Ruckert can be a solid TE2 but leaves some juice to be desired in the passing attack.
2) Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina
Isaiah Likely played a pivotal role in Coastal Carolina’s ascension. His slighter frame will force him into more of a slot/move-heavy role, but Likely can win with his routes and speed. He has some wiggle in the open field, and he is more of a WR/TE tweener than anything else. Still, Likely’s natural receiving prowess will cause mismatches once he gets up to NFL speed.
1) Trey McBride, Colorado State
Ladies and gentlemen, the top tight end of the 2022 NFL Draft: Colorado State’s Trey McBride. He may not be athletically gifted as Kyle Pitts — few are — but McBride was the focal point of the Rams offense. He succeeded with the heavy workload, taking 91 receptions for 1,125 yards in 2021. McBride has enough speed to threaten the seams and provides a looming target over the middle. If you need an all-around tight end in Year 1, McBride is your guy.