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Last in our pre-combine tiered ranking analysis is the tight end position.

While production can help identify potential contributors at the NFL level, the combine plays a large part in the evaluation process. Workouts such as 40-yard dash and bench press have been found to have some correlation with NFL success, along with draft age and market share of receiving yards.

With that being said, these tiers are largely based on college production, draft age, and projected draft capital.

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Pre-Combine Rookie TE Rankings

Rank Player Name Tier
1 MARK ANDREWS 1
2 MIKE GESICKI 1
3 DALLAS GOEDERT 1
4 TROY FUMAGALLI 2
5 ADAM BRENNAMAN 2
6 HAYDEN HURST 2
7 BLAKE MACK 3
8 IAN THOMAS 3
9 JAYLEN SAMUELS 3
10 DALTON SCHULTZ 3
11 JORDAN AKINS 3
12 DURHAM SMYTHE 4
13 RYAN IZZO 4
14 CHRIS HERNDON 4
15 TYLER CONKLIN 4
16 MARCUS BAUGH 4

Tier 1

Dallas Goedert very well might be the best TE in the class from both a fantasy and real-life perspective.  Several mock drafts in recent weeks have projected Goedert as a possible first round prospect which adds to his already strong prospect profile.  He account for 21 percent of his team's receiving yards over his career and peaked at 30 percent during his final year. If he can top it all off with a strong NFL Combine, Goedert could climb up to the top TE spot.

Based on his production, the hope for Mike Gesicki is that he turns into a redzone threat in the mold of Jimmy Graham. The concerns, however, are real. Gesicki doesn't have the draft hype surrounding him in the same way that Goedert does and his receiving production, while decent, lacked the peak of some of his classmates. If, at the NFL combine, Gesicki can show why he was such a dominant contested ball threat, he'll likely remain in tier 1, but if he falters and his draft stock follows, he'll likely slip a tier or two.

Tier 2

Hayden Hurst probably should be higher on this list due to his rising draft stock and athleticism. The former professional baseball player will turn 25 during his rookie season which will put him among the oldest prospects regardless of position. But he also produced well at South Carolina. His 16 percent career share of team receiving yards and final season of 20 percent should place him among the better producers at the top of the class. He doesn't appear to be the same redzone threat as Gesicki and Goedert with only 11 percent of his team's total, but if his draft stock continues to rise, it will be difficult to keep him at the bottom of tier two.

Gesicki's former teammate, Adam Brennaman is a small school prospect who produced at a high level who found success because of transferring. During his two seasons at Massachusetts, Brennaman accounted for 26 and 21 percent of his team's total yards and was either the leading or second leading receiver while there. He also added on 29 percent of TDs during his 2016 campaign. Brennaman's stock isn't nearly as high as the top prospects in the class so he'll need to finish out the draft process strong to remain in tier two.

Tier 3

One of the biggest complaints I got from my RB tiered rankings was that Jaylen Samuels was missing, but that's due, in large part, to his current classification by major outlets. Despite standing on 5-foot-11, Samuels has been primarily grouped with the TEs. Samuels ended his NC State career with 1851 receiving yards and 19 receiving TDs, but he also added on 1107 rushing yards and 28 TDs. Of any in the class, Samuels appears to be the most versatile prospect, but he also seems to lack a true position.

Dalton Schultz is consistently listed among the top eight to ten TEs in the class, but it's not because of his receiving production. During his college career, he peaked at 10.7 percent of his team's receiving yards and 13 percent of his team's touchdowns. What helps Schultz is that he was a great high school prospect. In 2014, Schultz was listed as the top TE prospects by 247 Sports. In order for Schultz to be a relevant draft pick, he'll need to finish out the drat process by showing that he's still the same caliber of athlete.

Tier 4

Once you get to tier four TE prospects, there isn't much value in drafting them, but Tyler Conklin produced enough at the college level to keep him on the radar. Among the tier four group, Conklin is the only prospect with a season over 500 receiving yards and he did it twice. In his favor, Conklin did earn a combine invite so he'll have an opportunity to raise his draft stock.

Ryan Izzo was, at least, consistent, but he wasn't a major part of his team's passing offense which make it difficult to project him as a future fantasy contributor. He averaged under two receptions per game and peaked at 317 yards for a season. Izzo was invited to the combine so it's possible that he could make some noise, but with his production, he's unlikely to move up my rankings.

 

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