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2022 NFL Draft: Tight End Big Board


(Mandatory Photo Credit: Ron Chenoy - USA Today Sports)

(Pictured: Possible TE1 Trey McBride against MWC rival Boise State)


Written by: Joseph Yun


We are full steam ahead into Pro Days after a whirlwind offseason process that saw the NFL turn into the NBA offseason seemingly every other day. Think July 1 at an even more breakneck pace! The offseason draft circuit has long since been done and dusted. Teams are now meeting to firm up their big boards.


With that said, who are the best dozen tight ends in the 2022 draft class? While there are no unicorn-level prospects like Kyle Pitts last cycle, there are plenty of options in a deep class. Has the TE1 title been sewn up already? Who will settle the top-five tight end slots?


Note: All RAS numbers are courtesy of @MathBomb and statistics are from sportsreference.com/cfb


If you missed any of my previous big board articles, they can be found below:




1. Trey McBride 6’3 246 Senior Colorado State


- McBride is the top-ranked tight end in the class after quite the swan song in 2021. He produced more receptions (90 to 77) and yards (1,211 to 979) in one season than his previous three combined! He’s an athletic marvel who didn’t run the 40 at the Combine did the other stuff with aplomb. Versatility is a major plus with him as he has played multiple roles including reps at fullback on occasion. A willing blocker at the least. His tenure in Fort Collins coincided with some of the run dominant schemes we’ve ever seen with Mike Bobo and Steve Addazio, respectively. It’s a shame that he ran out of eligibility before meshing with new HC Jay Norvell’s vibrant passing attack. Regardless, he’s a second-round prospect with a chance to go in the first if everything times outright. He profiles physically and stylistically to former Cleveland Brown via Atlanta turned Tennessee Titan tight end, Austin Hooper.


Round Grade: Second


RAS: N/A


Player Comparison: Austin Hooper


2. Jeremy Ruckert 6’5 252 Senior Ohio State


- With the star power that Ohio State has had in the wide receiver room, Ruckert was never going to be that alpha dude as a tight end. He’s a viable safety valve and is developed as a blocker as a result. Not the best athlete but is sufficient for the position. Overall, his total package is good enough for such a high ranking on the board. Reportedly, he was seen in a boot at Ohio State’s Pro Day so that’s a bit concerning as the same foot issue did not allow him to work out at the Combine. He merits a third-round grade but teams will have to do their due diligence on the medical. The former Buckeye profiles similarly to Oregon’s Jacob Breeland physically and stylistically to Zach Miller of Arizona State + Las Vegas neé Oakland and Seattle fame.


Round Grade: Third


RAS: N/A


Player Comparison: Jacob Breeland / Zach Miller


3. Cade Otton 6’5 247 RS Senior Washington


- After an outstanding sophomore season, he never really got back on track due to COVID hampering the Pac-12 and injuries. He has only played in 12 games combined in two years for a Washington program that has struggled. Otton suffered a foot injury late in 2021 and was unable to work out at the Combine as a result. When he’s fully right, he’s a pretty serviceable athlete with above-average route-running ability. Versatile athlete who has been deployed in a variety of roles. Still, the flashes of potential should get him drafted early on Day 3. He tracks to profile similarly to former Michigan tight end Jake Butt.


Round Grade: Fourth to Fifth


RAS: N/A


Player Comparison: Jake Butt


4. Greg Dulcich 6’4 243 Senior UCLA


- Dulcich is a former receiver converted to tight end so the height and weight aren’t a massive surprise. He still has the receiver speed at the weight and could stand to add maybe ten pounds more. The RAS shows that he retained some of those receiver traits. Broke out as a senior with 42 receptions for 725 yards and five touchdowns. A good sign is that he improved statistically every year. The former Bruin has blossomed to a degree during the offseason process. He grades out as a third-round prospect. Profiles similarly to Tyler Kroft.


Round Grade: Third


RAS: 8.17


Player Comparison: Tyler Kroft


5. Isaiah Likely 6’4 245 Redshirt Senior Coastal Carolina


- Likely showed flashes during his junior season in 2020 before exploding onto the scene in 2021, producing 59 receptions for 912 yards and 12 touchdowns. As the RAS indicates, he’s an average to above-average athlete with TE1 potential. The former Chanticleer is efficient overall as a route runner, blocker, and football IQ-wise. While he has the potential to sneak into late Day 2 with some luck, it’s very likely (sorry, I had to go there) that he settles into the early to mid Day 3 range. Physically, he profiles to former Georgia tight end Martrez Milner.


Round Grade: Fourth to Fifth


RAS: 5.35


Player Comparison: Martrez Milner


6. Charlie Kolar 6’6 252 Redshirt Senior Iowa State


- Kolar has ranked among the best tight ends in this class for a couple of years now. He has been very consistent in terms of production, notching 52 receptions for 481 yards and seven touchdowns in three years. The former Cyclones tight end saved the best for last, posting 62 receptions for 756 yards and six touchdowns for a retooling program in 2021. CK has outstanding hands and apparently way above average athleticism according to his RAS score. He won’t wow anyone with it but it is a weapon in his toolkit. Great route runner as well and just seemingly gets open quite frequently. He projects as a serviceable TE1 but can be a great TE2 with a little development. Physically and stylistically, he is almost a carbon copy of longtime Washington Commanders tight end Logan Thomas.


Round Grade: Fourth


RAS: 9.11


Player Comparison: Logan Thomas


7. Jelani Woods 6’7 253 Redshirt Senior Virginia


- Woods has been the star of the show this offseason, showing off at the Combine and nailing a perfect 10 in the RAS like he’s Simone Biles on a random Tuesday. He’s the top-scoring tight end in terms of both current year and all time, leading the illustrious likes of Vernon Davis, Noah Fant, and Dan Campbell (yes the Lions head coach). He did the tight-end version of Jermaine Johnson II and blew up at an ACC program after relative obscurity elsewhere. The former Cavalier via Oklahoma State almost doubled his career yards in 2021. Uber athlete who’s just scratching his potential after basically three years of tight end. He played quarterback prior to his college career. Versatile one at that he was listed as a receiver before settling on a tight end in Charlottesville. He projects as a TE2 to start but has the potential to become TE1 with development time. Physically, he profiles similarly to Mike Gesicki of the Dolphins but his play style reminds me of Jason Witten. He has all but locked up an early Day 3 grade with the potential to go even higher.


Round Grade: Fourth to Fifth


RAS: 10.00


Player Comparison: Mike Gesicki / Jason Witten


8. Chigoziem Okonkwo 6’2 238 Senior Maryland


- Okonkwo is a prime-time “a-t-h-l-e-t-e” and the RAS backs it up. The former Terrapins broke out as a senior in 2021 after three years of relatively minimal production due to quarterbacking problems (career) and illness (myocarditis) in 2020. He’s a tad smaller than your traditionally built tight ends and could be considered as a hybrid role. The offseason process has been really impressive from the Shrine Bowl onwards and he blew it up at the Combine with a 4.52 40. Versatility in the passing game is a major plus. Physically, he’s a near-profile match to former 49ers / Titans star Delanie Walker. As such, he’s better off being used as a slot breaker type of tight end or outside in some packages. He trended to UDFA territory before the ‘21 season but has flown up the boards into the late Day 2 / early Day 3 region.


Round Grade: Fourth


RAS: 8.03


Player Comparison: Delanie Walker


9. Jalen Wydermyer 6’3 255 Junior Texas A&M


- A much-maligned and precipitous fall from the highly acclaimed ranks to the just barely there for one Mr. Wydermyer. The RAS isn’t a typo. He’s had a horribly inefficient offseason process to put it charitably. Once touted as TE1, he exists on the dangerous precipice of TE no man’s land where the boundary of a not good enough to be the TE1 but better credentialed TE2 merge. To his credit, he is a versatile asset that was used in a variety of tight end positions such as in line and perimeter. I want to believe that he is a better athlete than the score indicates. A pretty decent route runner as Jimbo Fisher is fanatical about his devotion to the subject. A Day 3 grade awaits him after a devastatingly cruel offseason. He profiles much like former Auburn and Bengals turned Jets tight end C.J. Uzomah.


Round Grade: Sixth


RAS: 1.07


Player Comparison: C.J. Uzomah


10. Cole Turner 6’6 249 Senior Nevada


- All those beautiful Carson Strong passes, where did they go for a ton of numbers? Oh, that’s right, Mr. Turner. He was a productive pass-catcher to the tune of 111 receptions for 1,282 yards and 19 touchdowns the past two seasons. Athletic guy who wins a lot of my ball jump situations in highly contested confrontations. While he isn’t the mismatch nightmare the caliber of some of the premier tight ends like Kelce, Kittle, or Waller, Turner is a sufficient athlete that just gets open somehow in some way. If there was a perfect stylistically and physical comparison for him, it would have to be Dalton Schultz of recent Cowboys vintage. He’ll likely end up as a mid to late Day 3 selection and be a fun TE2 for a team who loves creating tight end-based mismatches like the Titans, perhaps?


Round Grade: Sixth


RAS: 7.30


Player Comparison: Dalton Schultz


11. Jake Ferguson 6’4 250 Redshirt Senior Wisconsin


- Ferguson was your typical Wisconsin tight end of recent vintage i.e. great fundamentals, modest (relative) production, and underhyped. In terms of RAS of former Badgers tight ends, he’s in the middle of the pack of a list that includes Travis Beckum, Owen Daniels, and Lance Kendricks. He’s an above-average athlete which is a plus but won’t wow you. He profiles similarly to the handsomely paid Hunter Henry of the Patriots fame, both athletically and stylistically. Consistent producer that was in the 450s in terms of yards with a career-high four touchdowns in two seasons minus the 2020 COVID marred campaign. It is what it is can be a proper label for him.


Round Grade: Fifth to Sixth


RAS: 6.71


Player Comparison: Hunter Henry

12. James Mitchell 6’4 249 Senior Virginia Tech


- Mitchell is all about the buzzword, potential at this point due to injury or inconsistency with the quarterback. His 2021 was demonstrably missing as he suffered a knee injury after just two games. Similar to tight ends of recent lore, he played a bit of hoops before fully committing to football at the college level. RAS isn’t available due to the injury. He was used all over the place, including in line and on the perimeter. Playstyle trends to profiling more like former Boston College tight end Tommy Sweeney. Mitchell has enough potential to merit a late Day 3 selection as a developmental type.


Round Grade: Seventh


RAS: N/A


Player Comparison: Tommy Sweeney




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