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Except Brock Bowers, Which Tight Ends Await Their Future in NFL Draft ’24

Ayush Juneja

Except Brock Bowers, Which Tight Ends Await Their Future in NFL Draft '24

While Brock Bowers sits comfortably in the first round of the 2024 draft, unworried about his future, others are still awaiting their destinations, in successive rounds. The Tight End is one position that isn’t highly valued by NFL teams, as almost all the best TEs in this century have been drafted in the later rounds. Since 2014, only 8 players from this position have been selected in the first round.

Brock Bowers, however, could add his name to the list. His rise at the UGA was nothing short of remarkable and is a consensus starting prospect. With over 2500 yards and 26 touchdowns in 40 college games, along with two National Championships, he is set to become a dominant force and will make an immediate impact with his playmaking abilities, much like Travis Kelce.

While Bowers is certain to be picked before anyone, the teams get their hands on top prospects in later rounds. The next Tight End on that list is now other than Kansas State’s Ben Sinnott.

Kansas State TE Ben Sinnott

A walk-on talent from Kansas, despite receiving a scholarship offer from South Dakota, Sinnot is a multi-sport athlete, which adds another facet to his game. As per the NFL’s website, he is rapid and potent at running routes and is swift enough to contest against man coverage on all three levels. And with no fear of getting hit, he can rack up additional yards after the catch. Despite being a Tight End, his soft hands allow him to watch like a Wide Receiver, and grab onto the balls thrown far away from the body. He ran his 40-yard Combine dash at an impressive 4.68s.

Despite adding 40 pounds to his frame, his 6’4 makes him a less-than-ideal physical and blocking threat at Line of Scrimmage. He can be a much more effective player if he can only catch passes and block for runs. While initially projected as a day three pick, he is now seen as more of a 56th overall pick, as per CBS Sports, which means he will be available in the 2nd round. Teams like the Carolina Panthers and the New York Giants could be interested in him.

Ohio State TE Cade Stover

The 23-year-old Ohio prospect is another effective pass catcher in the draft class full of Tight Ends. Though slow in getting off the line, as per the Bleacher Report, he picks up the speed during the route and makes up a lot of ground in only a few steps. Great agility and flexibility for someone standing at 6’4, 251 lbs.

In the 2023 season, he recorded 41 receptions for 576 yards but added 5 TDs. A willing blocker, with an erratic blocking technique that needs work, and is also not that fast. An expected third-rounder, as per On3, the Broncos are the team that could benefit from his blocking and receiving qualities.

Penn State Theo Johnson is the Earliest Blocking Tight End in the Draft

Standing at 6 feet 6 inches and weighing 260 pounds, Theo Johnson’s stock shot up during the Combine when he scored the second-highest athleticism trade from the scouts. A true blocking tight end, Penn State’s man is physically blessed and can operate anywhere on the field. Though he is not a great route runner, he has safe hands and uses his size advantage to bully defenders.

Though nifty for someone of his size, he is slow and static when it comes to getting off the line and lacks the explosion of other Tight Ends. An unreliable receiver who will need time to develop and unbolt his receiving potential. Projected as the 123rd pick, he will be a good fit for the Patriots, who are looking for someone like Gronk. As per BVM Sports, the Falcons with one of the best receiving Tight End in Kyle Pitts, would be a perfect landing spot for Johnson.

Texas Tight End Ja’Tavion Sanders

A highly productive pass catcher, Sanders had 642 yards on 45 receptions in 2023. He can move down the field whether he starts from the tight end position or the slot, and he is good at getting past defenders at the start of his routes or quickly creating space when he changes direction. While he can provide another pass-catching threat for any team, his average build doesn’t allow him to block well, something desirable for any team looking for a more complete Tight End. However, he would need to gain more muscle to withstand the physicality of the NFL. As per BVM Sports, Sanders would fit well in Tampa Bay’s offense as an additional, reliable pass catcher, especially in the red zone.

Michigan’s Natty-Winning AJ Barner

As per NFLDraftBuzz, Barner is a National Champion with the Wolverines, for whom he was a backup and regularly contributed to blocking duties with his 6’6, 251-pound frame. Given how much Michigan loved to run the ball and play a physical football brand, he is adept at blocking those big D-Linemen. He also contributed with 22 receptions for 249 yards. However, his route running is limited, and lacks smoothness in his movements.

At 21 years old, he has a huge potential upside but would need to improve both his blocking and pass-catching to get on the team as a starter. As per Bleacher Report, he could be a great addition for run-heavy offenses like Baltimore and Detroit.

Case in point, teams hardly pick tight ends in the first round because it is difficult to transition from a college role to the biggest stage on planet Earth. Most don’t break immediately in the first season, which isn’t ideal for a team looking for immediate production numbers. The position is tough to evaluate and teams hardly gamble their first-round pick because it’s easier to scout one as per your needs in the latter round.

The Best TEs in the last decade have been selected in the later rounds — Kelce and Mark Andrews were third-rounders — Gronk was a 2nd rounder, Kittle was fifth, and Jake Ferguson was 4th. Two of the best of all time- Shannon Sharpe and Antonio Gates were 7th rounder and undrafted, respectively.

About the author

Ayush Juneja

Ayush Juneja


Ayush Juneja is an NFL Journalist at the SportsRush. New to Gridiron, he has been following the sport for past 9 months and has authored over 400 articles so far. As a sports enthusiast and a true adrenaline junkie, he finds the physical side of sports to be more thrilling and engaging. A big fan of Liverpool F.C., he now roots for another red team in San Francisco 49ers and would love to see a match at Levi's Stadium and Michigan Stadium. American culture and politics fascinates him and would love to experience it first hand.

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