This is a list of the best Tight Ends ever. While it’s easy to just look at receiving stats at face value, I will also be considering their impact as a blocker as well as their accomplishments. The Tight End position has evolved into a much more receiver-like position in recent time, but there were pioneers who were way ahead of their time who deserve recognition.
#10 – Travis Kelce
In 2020, we are seeing peak Travis Kelce at 31 years old. As of writing this he is the leader in receiving yards which is unheard of for a Tight End. He has stats that most NFL Wide Receivers would dream of and looks to continue to pile on his record breaking numbers.
A lot of credit can be handed to both offensive guru Andy Reid and superstar Quarterback Patrick Mahomes. That being said, Travis Kelce is far from a product of his system. Saying he passes the eye test is an understatement. He is a tremendous route runner, tremendous after the catch and underrated as a blocker. Kelce an elite talent on an elite offense and as a result is posting up record breaking numbers. This is his 5th straight season with over 1000 receiving yards and he’s not slowing down.
For him to rise on this list I need to see him continue this dominance into his thirties. He is not dominant enough as a blocker to have him in the top 5 paired with his career stats, so I need to see him finish out his career strong.
#9 – Ozzie Newsome
As an executive, Ozzie Newsome has helped earn the Ravens two Super Bowl victories, but many have forgotten how dominant he was as a player. He was undersized as a Tight End and far from the best blocker, but as a pass catcher he was way ahead of his time.
Not only did Newsome retired holding nearly every receiving record for Tight Ends, he also retired 4th all-time in receiving yards for ANY position. He had no right putting up the numbers he did in the 1980s, but he was that good. He was an ironman who never missed a single game due to injury over his 13 year career and as a result has the stats to show for it.
#8 – Mike Ditka
Mike Ditka is one of the most iconic figures in NFL history. Not only can you make an argument that he is a top 5 Tight End in NFL history, you could also argue his position as a top 10 Head Coach ever. This guy lived for the game of football.
He was one of the first dynamic Tight Ends who not only mauled defenders with his run blocking, but was also lethal as a receiver. Once again, he was known for his blocking, but his 13.6 yards per reception is outstanding. To put that in today’s perspective, Travis Kelce has a career average of only 12.9 yards per reception.
It’s also worth mentioning he had one of the best Tight End seasons ever with 1,076 yards and 12 touchdowns in only 14 games in an era when Tight Ends were given no love.