Best Tight Ends in the NFL 2021-22 Hierarchy Prediction
This is my prediction for the best Tight Ends in the NFL going into the 2021-22 season. It’s a prediction based on the talent of each player as well as their projected production for next season. Keep in mind while reading that this is a prediction which is why a couple of names will be different compared to their 2020 production.
Darren Waller – The least belonging member of the tier 1 category. While I was extremely impressed by his production in 2020, he is the lesser of the next two members on this list. By far the best weapon on the Raiders offense next season, expect another big year from Waller.
Travis Kelce – Someone this big should not be able to run routes like Kelce. At this point he is by far the best receiving threat at the Tight End position and has made massive strides as a blocker.
George Kittle – I mentioned Travis Kelce made massive strides as a blocker, but Kittle holds the title as the best dual threat Tight End. He is a wrecking ball blocker who continues to put in work after the catch. When healthy it’s a 1a-1b situation between Kelce & Kittle.
T.J. Hockenson – The Lions look horrible last season with the departure of Stafford and any viable Wide Receiver. Hockenson is now the best receiving threat on this team and a highly touted blocker.
Mark Andrews – Lamar Jackson loves Mark Andrews and rightfully so. He makes circus catches and is a perfect fit for this offense that loves attacking the seams.
Kyle Pitts – “But he hasn’t played a single snap!” While Pitts is a rookie, the stars aligned for him. No more Julio Jones and this offense led the entire league in pass attempts last season.
Mike Gesicki – The fourth season is usually the breakout year for Tight Ends. Mike Gesicki is a freak athlete entering his contract year with something to play for. That being said they added Waddle + Fuller and who knows what Tua we will see.
Jonnu Smith – Who knows what Patriots Tight End will outproduce the other next season. Jonnu Smith knows how to get open in the redzone.
Hunter Henry – Like I mentioned above, it could be either Henry or Smith as the leading receiver for this team. Hunter Henry is the better blocker and will prosper in two Tight End sets.
Dallas Goedert – I now believe that Dallas Goedert is the best Tight End for Philly. He has developed as a receiver and is the far better blocker between Ertz. I am worried about reports of failing a conditioning test.
Rob Gronkowski – Prime Gronk was something else. This isn’t prime Gronk, but he is still really, really good. As a receiver he has fallen off, but not as a blocker.
Noah Fant – He has improved every season. Fant has freakish speed and knows how to make defenders miss after the catch. As a blocker he leaves a lot to be desired, but that comes with time for Tight Ends.
Evan Engram – I don’t think Engram deserves the hate he gets, but he did not deserve to be a pro-bowler last season. He needs to be more consistent catching the football and adding Kyle Rudolph will eat into his snap share.
Tyler Higbee – Matthew Stafford can sling it and with the departure of Gerald Everett, Higbee is the clear main guy on this team. Rams will ride the run game and Higbee also holds his own as a blocker.
Zach Ertz – The casual fan doesn’t admit it, but Ertz has fallen off. I don’t think he’s a bad Tight End, but he is not the dominant pass catcher he once was. If he stays on the Eagles, he will be nothing more than a 1a or 1b TE on his own team.
Logan Thomas – He broke out in 2020, and could break out even more in 2021. This is a very athletic Tight End who now has gunslinger Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm.
Robert Tonyan – This may be a hot take to most, but Tonyan isn’t that good. He was fantastic last season, but is a product of Aaron Rodgers. Tonyan did not force a single missed tackle after the catch last season and relies on Rodgers decision making.
Irv Smith – Kyle Rudolph is no longer holding Irv Smith back. We have seen some highlight plays from him and we will now have a full season to see just how good Irv Smith can be.
Kyle Rudolph – He has been one of the most reliable Tight Ends of the decade, but is on the back end of his career. More reliable hands than Engram, but can’t get open as much. He will be used often as a blocker.
Eric Ebron – It will be a case of touchdown dependency for production. Eric Ebron topped 60 receiving yards only once last season, but finished with a respectable season.
Gerald Everett – The Seattle Seahawks have a crowded Tight End room, but this will be the main guy. He can stretch the field and should support the Let Russ Cook movement.
Adam Trautman – He is on my radar for a breakout candidate this season. The Saints will be without Michael Thomas next season opening up many targets elsewhere. Whether it’s Jameis or Taysom, they will often look to their Tight End.
Austin Hooper – No longer in the Falcons prosperous system for Tight Ends, Austin Hooper’s production took a hit. Now massively overpaid, he is just an average Tight End in a run first system.
Jared Cook – Hunter Henry left, and Jared Cook joined. The Chargers are looking very dangerous next season and the young Justin Herbert will find ways to get the veteran involved.
Cole Kmet – It’s hard for a rookie Tight End to produce early. Cole Kmet started slow, but was much more comfortable late in the season. Look for him to ride that going into next season.
Jack Doyle – The Colts have become a three headed monster Tight End attack. No more Trey Burton, but drafted Kyle Granson in the 4th round.
Jimmy Graham – He makes circus catches and finds ways to drop the easy ones. A legend at the position, but he is a depreciating asset.
Chris Herndon – I’ve been burned by Chris Herndon before. He’s just not that good. I wouldn’t be surprised of Tyler Kroft emerges as the better Tight End between the two.
Dawson Knox – The Bills have one of the best Wide Receiver groups in the NFL leaving Knox as an afterthought. He is still young, but barring injury will just be another guy going into next season.
Mo Alie Cox – As mentioned in the Doyle write up, who knows who emerges between the two. It will likely be a committee approach.
Anthony Firkser – Jonnu Smith left the Titans leaving Firkser as the guy for the Tight End position. That being said, the Titans live by the running attack and Julio Jones will get his in the passing game.
Hayden Hurst – He was hyped up last season when Hooper left, but failed to produce consistently. Now with Kyle Pitts on the roster, he will fade into obscurity.
Jordan Akins – The Houston Texans are going to be a dumpster fire without Deshaun Watson at the helm. With Tyrod Taylor throwing the football, Jordan Akins will struggle to find a rhythm in the passing game.
Blake Jarwin – Dalton Schultz played solid due to the injury to Jarwin, but that should flip flop. Jarwin should become the main guy, but neither will produce at a high level due to the elite Wide Receivers for the Cowboys.
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