The NFL Draft is inching closer. With a serious lack of sports-related events on the calendar, there’s extra excitement surrounding the draft. Although the draft won’t be happening as usual, I’m completely ok with that. The virtual draft will keep everyone safe and give me some sports. It’s a win-win.
With Draft Day on the horizon, I will be listing my top-5 players at each fantasy football relevant position. You can check out my quarterback rankings here, my running back rankings here, and my wide receiver rankings here. This blog will focus on the tight ends.
1. Hunter Bryant, Washington (6′ 2″, 248 lbs)
Combine results: 40-yard dash: 4.74 sec, bench press: 23, vertical jump: 32.5 inches, broad jump: 115 inches, 3-cone drill: 7.08 sec, 20-yard shuttle: 4.46 seconds
2019 stats: G: 12 REC: 52 YDS: 825 AVG: 15.9 TD: 3
Bryant by virtue of size and skill-set is not a traditional tight end. He has above-average quickness for the position and is a difficult assignment for opposing defences. He’s a hybrid tight end-wide receiver that doesn’t necessarily fit the mould of either. He has good hands and can “go up and get it” against most defenders. He’s also strong at creating yards after the catch.
Player comparison: Clive Walford
Both players are solid receivers who are versatile on offence. Walford is the superior blocker, but Bryant runs better routes.
2. Adam Trautman, Dayton (6′ 5″, 255 lbs)
Combine results: 40-yard dash: 4.80 sec, bench press: 18 reps, vertical jump: 34.5 inches, broad jump: 114.0 inches, 3-cone drill: 6.78 sec, 20-yard shuttle: 4.27 sec
2019 stats: REC: 70 YDS: 916 AVG: 13.1 TD: 14
Trautman is the most intriguing prospect at tight end. He played at a small school which allowed him to physically and athletically dominate his competition. He’s able to “go up and get it,” and is capable of making contested catches. He does not run a complete route tree and will have to prove that he can dominate against tougher competition.
Player comparison: Austin Hooper
Both Hooper and Trautman were not polished route runners leaving college. Both are able to make difficult catches. The two share nearly identical builds and tested similarly at the NFL Combine.
3. Brycen Hopkins, Purdue (6′ 4″, 245 lbs)
Combine results: 40-yard dash: 4.66 sec, bench press: 21, vertical jump: 33.5 inches, broad jump: 116 inches, 3-cone drill: 7.25 sec, 20-yard shuttle: 4.28 sec
2019 stats: G: 11 REC: 61 YDS: 830 AVG: 13.6 TD: 7
Hopkins is below average as a blocker, but he can make plays in the passing game. He is an excellent route runner that has good speed. He is able to make contested catches and can line up in a number of spots on offence. His athleticism allows him to generate yards after the catch. He does not have the best set of hands amongst the tight ends in this class.
Player comparison: Hayden Hurst
Neither Hurst or Hopkins are great blockers. Hurst has better hands than Hopkins, although Hopkins runs better routes. Both are very athletic players.
4. Cole Kmet, Notre Dame (6′ 6″, 262 lbs)
Combine results: 40-yard dash: 4.70 sec, vertical jump: 37.0 inches, broad jump: 123.0 inches, 3-cone drill: 7.44 sec, 20-yard shuttle: 4.41 sec
2019 stats: G: 10 REC: 43 YDS: 515 AVG: 12.0 YDS: 6
A threat in the red zone, Kmet runs solid routes and has soft hands. He’s not great at creating yards after the catch, but he can make contested catches thanks to his size. His 40-yard dash time suggests he has slightly above average speed for the position. Kmet hasn’t really shown that he can block with effectiveness, but he may be able to develop.
Player comparison: Austin Seferian-Jenkins
Both players have coveted size as tight ends and run solid routes. Seferian-Jenkins is a better blocker, but both have good hands. Kmet is slightly faster and better at making difficult catches.
5. Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri (6′ 5″, 258 lbs)
Combine results: 40-yard dash: 4.49 sec
2019 stats: G: 9 REC: 26 YDS: 306 AVG: 11.8 TD: 6
Okwuegbunam dropped jaws at the NFL Combine when he ran a sub-4.50 40-yard dash. He doesn’t always play as fast as he is and is a choppy route runner. Still, he is a rare blend of size and speed that can break it loose when making a catch in the open field. He’s not a great blocker, but if he can put it together as a route runner, he could be a dynamic option in any team’s passing game.
Player comparison: Foster Moreau
Both have good speed and are solid after the catch. Neither were great at route running leaving college. Moreau is a much better blocker than Okwuegbunam.