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Top Five Tight Ends In The 2023 NFL Draft Class

Dalton Kincaid - CFB DFS Lineup Picks, Daily College Fantasy Football, NFL Draft Rookies

With the 2023 Scouting Combine over, teams are gearing up for the upcoming NFL Draft. If they play their cards right, they can get more hits than misses throughout seven rounds. Meanwhile, fantasy football managers in dynasty leagues are also working to find the tight ends who can put their team on top.

Tight ends are some of the most versatile players on a team. They could serve as extra blockers during jumbo sets or short-yardage plays. They could also line up and be a target in the passing game. Teams that have been creative with their tight ends can keep opposing defenses on their toes.

While several talented tight end prospects are available in the 2023 NFL draft, there’s a clear distinction between the highly-rated ones and those needing much work to excel. Here are the five best dynasty options and some honorable mentions for tight ends in this year’s rookie class.

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Michael Mayer – Notre Dame, Junior

  • Height: 6’ 4.5”
  • Weight: 208
  • Age: 21 years, nine months
  • 2022 Stats: 67 receptions, 809 yards, nine touchdowns, 12.1 yards per catch
  • Rookie TE Dynasty Rank: #1
  • Player Comparison: Zach Ertz

Mayer doesn’t have blazing speed, as shown by his 4.7 seconds in the 40-yard dash, but it’s hard to ignore his productivity, considering he had at least 800 receiving yards in his sophomore and junior seasons. Likewise, he is a great route runner who can find the soft spots on defense. Aside from averaging 60 catches in his three seasons with the Fighting Irish, he also exerts effort as a blocker.

Mayer is unafraid to get physical with defensive linemen and keeps his feet moving to win in the trenches. He is the best prospect in this class when both pass-catching and run-blocking are considered. However, his upside might not be as promising as the other tight ends, and his small hands could lead to dropped passes. Still, he could be a solid contributor to the right team from day one.


Dalton Kincaid – Utah, Senior

  • Height: 6’ 4”
  • Weight: 246
  • Age: 23 years, six months
  • 2022 Stats: 70 receptions, 890 yards, eight touchdowns, 12.7 yards per catch
  • Rookie WR Dynasty Rank: #2
  • Player Comparison: Isaiah Likely

Kincaid is the best bet for teams looking for tight ends who are legitimate threats in the passing game. He has the speed to outrun linebackers and the strength to dominate defensive backs. He did not participate in the drills during the Scouting Combine because he was working his way back from an injury. However, 70 receptions in one season is remarkable.

He is also impeccable in route running, helping him get open or create separation. However, his blocking needs work. At this point, massive defensive linemen can bully their way through him. Working on his strength and technique can improve his skill. Otherwise, NFL teams might not deploy him during short-yardage situations wherein extra blockers are needed.


Luke Musgrave – Oregon State, Junior

  • Height: 6’ 6”
  • Weight: 255
  • Age: 22 years, seven months
  • 2022 Stats: 11 receptions, 169 yards, one touchdown, 15.4 yards per catch
  • Rookie TE Dynasty Rank: #3
  • Player Comparison: Mike Gesicki

Football runs in Musgrave’s blood. His father, Doug, played quarterback for Oregon, while his uncle, Bill, played seven seasons in the NFL. Unfortunately, he is also coming off a season-ending knee campaign that limited him to two games in 2022. Despite that setback, he showed his potential during the Senior Bowl and the Scouting Combine.

He does have exceptional speed for his size, allowing him to blow past defenders. Musgrave can also shift directions on a dime and demonstrates good blocking skills. However, his health will be the biggest question, given that he only played a few games in four years.


Sam LaPorta – Iowa, Senior

  • Height: 6’ 4”
  • Weight: 249
  • Age: 22 years, two months
  • 2022 Stats: 58 receptions, 657 yards, one touchdown, 11.3 yards per catch
  • Rookie TE Dynasty Rank: #4
  • Player Comparison: Pat Freiermuth

Iowa has produced great tight ends like George Kittle, T.J. Hockenson, and Noah Fant. LaPorta has had better numbers than them in his four seasons with the Hawkeyes. He finished with 1,756 yards and five touchdowns in 46 games. Watching him use his agility to get extra yards is a sight to behold.

He does have wide receiver skills, especially in route running. LaPorta is also good at catching the ball and going for extra yards in one motion. He is a fierce competitor who is also quite elusive for his size. However, his size and arm length allows defensive linemen to disrupt his timing. Still, he could be productive in an explosive offense, given that his alma mater ran a conservative offense.


Darnell Washington – Georgia, Junior

  • Height: 6’ 7”
  • Weight: 265
  • Age: 21 years, eight months
  • 2022 Stats: 28 receptions, 454 yards, two touchdowns, 16.2 yards per catch
  • Rookie TE Dynasty Rank: #5
  • Player Comparison: Logan Thomas

Washington was more of a blocking tight end at Georgia, but those who witnessed his impressive Combine performance think there’s more to his gigantic frame. He is solid as a blocker, a sixth lineman who can plow through linebackers and defensive backs. If he gets the ball, it will take more than one person to bring him down.

His route running and pass catching can be developed, and any improvement in that aspect can be scary for opposing teams. However, he is slow for a tight end, and his routes are predictable. Likewise, he also had health concerns via ankle and foot injuries. But he still is productive under the right system and thorough coaching.


Honorable Mentions

Tucker Kraft is a physical specimen with impressive quickness. He uses angles to block opponents and is also a good pass-catcher. Kraft finished the 2022 season for South Dakota State with 27 receptions, 348 yards, and three touchdowns. However, he must build his strength because defensive linemen can outmatch him.

Josh Whyle was one of Cincinnati's team captains last season, finishing with 32 receptions for 326 yards and two touchdowns. He makes good use of his height and frame to grab contested balls. He is also an adept pass-protection blocker and strives to make additional blocks downfield. While he runs hard after the catch, his routes can become predictable due to his average explosiveness.

Brenton Strange finished his junior season at Penn State with 32 receptions for 362 yards and five touchdowns. He is smaller than the other tight ends on the list, but he uses that advantage by evading tacklers. He is also an excellent lead blocker during sweeps. Strange can also adjust his body to catch passes. However, he might not be as good for traditional blocking duties.

Davis Allen successfully transitioned from a defensive player to a tight end. He finished his final year at Clemson with 39 receptions for 443 yards and five touchdowns. His basketball background allowed him to become a solid receiver, and he also puts his catching radius to good use. However, running the 40-yard dash at 4.84 seconds might work against him. Allen is also unreliable in breaking tackles.

Luke Schoonmaker had 35 receptions for 418 yards and three touchdowns in his final year at Michigan. He is a workhorse who dedicated himself to constant improvement. The Wolverines' pro-style offense made him an adept blocker who sustains his ground through leverage. His sure hands make him an asset in short and intermediate passing plays. There are questions about his durability, though, after missing the Fiesta Bowl due to a shoulder injury.

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