In the 2023 NFL Draft, we saw six tight ends drafted in the first two rounds which is the highest number we have seen since 2013. The 2024 class is nowhere near as deep as the 2023 class, but it will see a player at this position drafted higher than when Dalton Kincaid went with the 25th pick last year. That player will be Georgia’s Brock Bowers who is widely projected to go in the top ten.
In addition to Brock Bowers the class also has a few intriguing day three picks led by Ohio State’s Cade Stover who is one of the more well-rounded tight ends in the 2024 NFL Draft. The class also features a couple of outstanding pass catchers in Terrance Ferguson and Jaheim Bell. If a team is looking for more of a blocking tight end Illinois’s Tip Reiman could be an ideal fit. Overall 12 tight ends carry a draftable grade and in this article, we break down each one of these prospects.
2024 NFL Draft tight end class ranking No. 1-4
1. Brock Bowers, Georgia: There is no doubt that Brock Bowers is the top tight end in the 2024 NFL Draft. He has all the traits needed to develop into an All-Pro tight end starting with his impressive hands. He shows great grip strength and can either make the catch downfield or in tight coverage. He also is a threat with the ball in his hands having picked up 438 yards after the catch this year. One more positive with him is that despite being on the lighter side he is an aggressive blocker and can block on the line of scrimmage or out in space. My biggest concern with him is that he battled injuries this season, including an ankle injury that limited him to ten games. Another issue is that he is not the athlete or as explosive as a player like Kyle Pitts is, but he is a much more complete tight end. Draft Grade: First Round.
2. Ja'Tavion Sanders, Texas: There is a big gap between tight end one and tight end two in the NFL Draft, but with that being said Ja'Tavion Sanders is still worth a second-round pick. Like Bowers, Sanders is a threat after the catch but unlike Bowers, his is more to speed than strength. Sanders will likely test as one of if not the fastest tight ends at the NFL Combine and he uses this speed to his advantage consistently getting separation in his routes and pulling away from defenders once the ball is in his hands.
In addition to his speed, Sanders is also an impressive athlete who took over 30 percent of his snaps this year aligned out wide. The team that drafts Sanders though is going to have to realize he is not going to offer much in the run game though. The main reason for this is a lack of strength, but he also lunges when blocking at times which hurts his effectiveness. Draft Grade: Second Round.
3. Jared Wiley, TCU
One of the biggest sleepers in the 2024 NFL Draft is TCU’s Jared Wiley who also happens to be one of the most complete tight ends in this year’s tight end class. As a receiver, he shows impressive quickness for a 6-foot-7 260-pound tight end and can be a vertical threat evidenced by his 81-yard touchdown reception against Baylor this year. In addition to his size, he also is a powerful tight end who is tough to take down after the catch. When it comes to blocking Wiley is an aggressive blocker who is always looking for someone to hit. He shows impressive strength in this area to and if he learns to play with a better pad level he could be one of the better blocking tight ends in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Overall, I give Wiley a second-round grade and could see him overtaking Ja'Tavion Sanders for the number two spot, which is way higher than some people have him rated as he currently carries a seventh-round draft grade according to NFL Mock Draft Database. Draft Grade: Second Round.
4. Cade Stover, Ohio State: A team looking for a classic in-line tight end is going to like what they find in Ohio State’s Cade Stover. Stover’s top trait may be the toughness he bring to the position. As a blocker he is able to hold up against defensive ends and shows the strength to push linebackers off the ball. When used as a receiver he is physical after the catch displaying a strong stiff arm, and the power to run through arm tackles.
While Stover should be able to make it as a backup tight end and key special team’s player there are some reasons why his game might be limited to that role. One of the reasons for this is his lack of speed which prevents him from stretching a defense. He also is a limited athlete who won’t create the matchup problems some of the more athletic tight ends in the 2024 NFL Draft will. Draft Grade: Fourth Round