Ranking the 10 best tight ends in 2024 NFL Draft class

The 2024 NFL Draft is peeking over the horizon of the NFL offseason landscape as we are already into April. In this article, we will rank and review the top 10 tight end prospects in this year’s draft class. SB Nation’s community of draft analysts each ranked their top TEs in the draft and this top 10 is the result of those cumulative rankings.

The tight end position is seeing a resurgence with skilled prospects coming out of the draft seemingly every year. The injection of young talent at the tight end position has proved substantial for teams like the Falcons, Lions, and Bills to name a few. A tight end has been selected in the first round of the draft in two out of the last three years, and we can expect to see another one drafted in round one this year.

This year’s tight end class features a generational talent at the top, prospects with big upside in the middle, and some intriguing “projects” later on. Here are SB Nation’s 2024 top 10 TE rankings.

10. Tanner McLachlan, Arizona

McLachlan is an interesting prospect. He has ideal height but lacks the athletic measurables that are desired to be a dynamic threat at the position. However, he consistently plays with a his foot on the gas pedal and he flashes exceptional on-field athleticism, evident from his above average contact balance and his impressive hurdle highlights. McLachlan likely will come off the board on Day 3, but he has a chance to emerge as a starter if he continues to develop.

9. AJ Barner, Michigan

Barner has ideal size for the NFL tight end position but lacks the explosive traits to be a real threat in the receiving game. He has a solid foundation to be a productive blocking tight end at the next level, but needs to keep improving those skills. He strength in the passing game is his ability to catch balls in traffic, and he is strong at the catch point and isn’t afraid to take a hit over the middle. Barner was a captain at Indiana before transferring to Michigan and has shown development throughout his college career. He will add solid depth to an NFL team’s tight end room and has some traits that are desirable at the next level.

Big 12 Championship - Kansas State v TCU

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8. Jared Wiley, TCU

Wiley is a tall tight end that uses his height and length to play above the rim. He is a long strider that shows decent build up speed but lacks short-area quickness. His ability to be strong at the catch point and win 50/50 balls make him a red zone asset. Wiley can line up wide or as an in-line tight end and will likely end up being a rotational player as he continues to develop his skill sets.

7. Dallin Holker, Colorado State

The 24-year old was a late bloomer having a productive last season at Colorado State after transferring from BYU where he didn’t have much production. Holker is a pass-catching tight end that doesn’t offer much from an in-line blocking perspective. Holker’s play speed and testing speed (4.78 second 40-yard dash) aren’t great, but he understands how to get open on multiple levels of the field. His role is likely limited to being a “big slot” but if he finds himself in the right situation he can be productive.

6. Jaheim Bell, Florida State

It is a very interesting spread for Bell, who earned a third-place vote from one of our voters and a tenth-place vote from another. Bell is an undersized tight end that doesn’t really have a true position. He was used all over the field in college and that trend will likely continue in the NFL. His blocking ability isn’t all that special, but he shows the effort. Bell is ranked this high because he possesses the talent to make plays happen after he catches the football. He will have to find his niche in the NFL but he has the talent to find it in various situations.

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - Ole Miss v Penn State

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4T. Theo Johnson, Penn State

Johnson had a third-place vote, but settled into fifth on the other ballots. Johnson is a tight end prospect dripping with exciting traits. The 6’6” giant not only is big but showed off his explosiveness in many athletic tests at the combine. However, all of these traits haven’t quite translated to production. His stature and athletic ability will likely get him drafted in round three or four but significant development needs to happen to bring out his true potential on the field.

4T. Cade Stover, Ohio State

Voters were split on Stover, ranking him all the way from three through six. Stover is a defensive player that transferred to the offensive side of the ball and it really paid off for him. He is a pass-catching tight end who shows off his basketball background in his route-running and catch abilities. Stover has the foundation to grow his blocking skills but teams will value him in the passing game more than anything else. The John Mackey Award finalist (nation’s best TE) has been on an upwards trajectory throughout his career and it should continue to make him a solid starter in his NFL career.

3. Ben Sinnott, Kansas State

Sinnot earned one second-place vote but was otherwise fours across the board. It is hard to say that Sinnott is underrated with him being at number three on our list, but I still think he might be in other areas of the NFL Draft space. The former walk-on has ascended in grand fashion, improving himself each year and declaring for the NFL draft in his junior season. Sinnott moves well and had a strong understanding of how to get open on all levels of the field. He offers run after the catch ability and can also be a chain-mover. Sinnott is still growing into form and has the chance to be something special in the NFL if he puts it all together.

Allstate Sugar Bowl - Texas v Washington

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2. Ja’ Tavion Sanders, Texas

Sanders received all but one of our second-place votes. The two-time first-team All-Big 12 tight end is a pass-catching specialist that thrives running the seam. His NFL game will likely consist of being featured as a pass-catcher but he has shown some ability to hold up as an in-line blocker. His testing numbers weren’t great but his play speed often showed him getting separation from linebackers before and after the catch. Sanders seems to find a way to make a play and be a productive receiver and teams will be excited about adding his talents to their tight end room.

1. Brock Bowers, Georgia

No one besides Bowers received a first-place vote and for good reason; he is a beast. He is the first ever tight end to win the John Mackey Award in back-to-back seasons. Bowers led his team in receiving yards in all three of his collegiate seasons, not to mention he went to college at Georgia where he won two national championships. Bowers is a dynamic playmaker that can win from anywhere on the field and will be a difference-maker from the get-go for whoever drafts him.

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