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Top 5 Tight Ends in the 2023 NFL Draft

Top 5 Tight Ends in the 2023 NFL Draft

Top 5 Tight Ends in the 2023 NFL Draft

#5. Sam LaPorta, Iowa

Iowa has a history of producing tight ends, from T.J. Hockenson to George Kittle. LaPorta will come after. LaPorta has demonstrated good fluidity to change directions quickly despite using large strides to move downfield at a good clip. With his ability to catch throws in stride and adjust to them, his catching instincts are top-notch. He also has a very wide catch radius, which makes it quite reliable for him to grab throws that are off-target. LaPorta excels in deceiving defenders by using either slight side steps or head fakes to lead them in the wrong direction.


Despite his size, he has not been a reliable blocker. He struggles to position up properly when trying to pass protect, and his lack of strength makes it difficult for him to overcome defenders in the running game. He is a good receiver, but there are still some things he might do better, such avoiding letting the ball fall into his body and cause drops. LaPorta's fluid athleticism and instincts give him the long-term starting potential in the NFL to be a playmaker, but his lack of blocking keeps him outside the top five.

#4. Tucker Kraft, South Dakota State

Another FCS tight end with the ability to make an NFL impact is Kraft. He is exceedingly difficult to cover at 6'5" and 255 pounds. As soon as he leaves the starting line, Kraft accelerates to open up space, and his long speed stretches the field as a whole. In the open field, he follows it up by having the agility to shift directions while maintaining his speed. The physical aspect of Kraft's game is one in which he also excels. Throughout the course of his career, he gained 1,208 yards, 654 of which came after the catch, by dominating in contested situations to grab the ball and create yards after the catch.


Kraft is able to grab the throw in stride while keeping an eye on the defender to plan his next move to gain more yards thanks to the way he tracks the ball. Kraft's wide catch radius has also enabled him to react to passes and catch them when they appear to be incomplete.


Although Kraft is very well-rounded, he occasionally relies too much on his physicality, which causes him to stand up to anticipate impact and loses momentum in the process. He is ranked fifth since he is also one of the better blocks, but because he lacks exceptional strength, he will lose versus strong defenders. Yet, given how dangerous Kraft can be in space and his potential to improve as a blocker, he has the ability to significantly improve his performance in the NFL.

#3. Luke Musgrave, Oregon State

a very fluid athlete with one of this class's greatest receiving skills. Musgrave regularly stresses defenses with his lengthy strides and high-end acceleration because of how rapidly he can go upfield. He poses a threat over the middle of the field thanks to his athleticism and agility, as he brushes off opponents to gain space. His ability to smoothly grab throws without sacrificing his stride shows off his catching instincts, which elevate his performance. Musgrave regularly catches the ball away from his frame and also does this action. 


Musgrave can still improve his route running to really step up his game, but that is what is holding him back. Musgrave also lacks the necessary strength or leg drive to consistently battle through impact. NFL teams can work with him on these small issues, and if done properly, he will be a starting caliber player in the league.

#2. Michael Mayer, Notre Dame

It may surprise you to learn that the competition for the top tight end in 2017 draft was fierce. Nevertheless, Mayer is still a first-round talent. But what prevents him from dominating? His meager sports background. Mayer will triumph because of the mismatches his stature causes; yet, his quickness won't allow him to penetrate defenses. His potential in the NFL will be limited by his lack of breakaway speed. Mayer has experienced concentration lapses as well, recording four in 2022 and a total of 12 over the course of three seasons. 

But those are only minor particulars. Due to his pass-catching skills and size disparity he produces, he does provide alignment versatility. He has the focus and tracking skills necessary to catch deep throws and knows how to maneuver through traffic to make tight-window catches. Mayer can use false steps to fool opposing backs and swiftly trigger back upfield thanks to his route running, which helps him make up for his lack of speed. Mayer additionally possesses the practical strength and hand technique necessary to consistently win and hold blocks. Although his 2,099 yards, 890 yards after the catch, and 18 touchdowns speak for themselves, there are only a few things that can be done to improve. 

#1. Dalton Kincaid, Utah

In my opinion, Dalton Kincaid has made a compelling argument for being the best tight end in this class. Kincaid is always making plays thanks to his agility, route running, and fluidity. On the field, Kincaid is successful at all three levels. His route running is incredibly fluid, allowing him to swiftly snap in and out of his breaks. He also possesses a broad route tree to help the offense get going. He can make acrobatic catches appear easy thanks to his body control and focus, and he also possesses sure hands as evidenced by the two drops he has had in five seasons. 


This helps with Kincaid's wide catch radius, which allows him to catch anything thrown in his direction. He accumulated 1,400 yards and 16 touchdowns over the past two seasons. His ability to run routes quickly helped him continuously produce after the catch as well; between 2021 and 2022, he generated 551 yards after the catch.


Kincaid can demonstrate his awareness of angles to secure the block while also precisely timing his punch. He is also a willing blocker. He may be constrained by his size in certain blocking scenarios, though. With the way the NFL is now structured, Kincaid will easily transition with his inherent athletic talent, plus the potential he still has makes him the best tight end.

5.0 / 6

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