Draft Grade Index:

90+ All-Pro Projection

85-89: Pro Bowl Projection

81-84: 1st Round – Year 1 starter

77-80: 2nd/3rd Round – Year 1 contributor, year 2-3 starter

74-76: Early Day 3: Cores special teamer and rotational player

71-74: Mid Day 3: Core special teamer and backup

68-70: Late Day 3: Developmental and special teamer


1) Brock Bowers – Georgia – 6’3 / 243

Grade: 88

Junior entry, three-year starter. Mackey Award winner in 2023 and 2022. Earned All-American honors (first team in 2023) and first team All-SEC honors twice. Grew up in a family of athletes. Father was a center for the Utah State football team and mother was a Hall of Fame softball player there. Burst on to the scene as a true freshman in 2021, leading the team in receiving. Led the country’s tight ends in yards after the catch each of the past three seasons and averaged just under ten yards per carry. Bowers has a special and rare skill set that can create production all over the offense short, intermediate, and down the field. The risk will be the engineer of the playbook and how much he can tailor it to fit Bowers’ uniqueness. He can be a weapon that changes a team right away, but he should not be inserted into a traditional role.

*That final line is going to be vital to Bowers’ career. “Should not be inserted into a traditional role:”. I hesitate to put this kind of grade on him but that is where I try to remain objective. The grade is the grade. It is not based on how I feel that day or this day. It is a culmination of traits, production, projection, talent, and skills. But I can say this right now; the right team needs to draft him to be anything more than a Dallas Clark type (good player, but not special). For reference, Kyle Pitts was the highest TE grade I ever gave out (90). He’s been paired with an awful offensive scheme and situation so far. That is going to dictate so much for Bowers because of his style. If Darren Waller retires, should Bowers be considered? The grade will be good enough to be in the discussion, but my answer is a hard no. The receivers (spoiler alert) are higher and I even value the OT need over Bowers. While I do think Daboll and Kafka could make something work with him, I’m not completely sold it would be the right fit anyway. He will be a fun guy to track but it won’t be here.

NFL Comparison: George Kittle / SF

2) Ben Sinnott – Kansas State – 6’4 / 250

Grade: 79

Two-year starter. Earned first team All-Big 12 honors in both 2023 and 2022. Recipient of the 2023 Lowman Award, the top fullback in the country. Coming from a small high school with zero FBS offers and a potential hockey future, Sinnott opted to walk-on for Kansas State as a 205-pound roster hopeful. The gap from where he started to where he is right now says a lot about him. He is winner, plain and simple. Sinnott does so many of the little things that the common eye may not always pick up initially. The on-field IQ, in addition to the grit and talent, gives him a sense of completeness that can be hard to find. He can line up in several positions and roles and provide impact in the passing game with sure hands and after-catch grit.

*Sinnott went from day three to round two with his combination of quality play and top-shelf combine. Not only were his workout numbers fantastic, but his ball skills and positional drills were graded higher than every tight end that worked out there. Add in the intangibles and versatility, Sinnott simply has a “useful” label to him. He will line up everywhere, he will make plays that surprise you, and he can block. He is an ideal tight end in today’s game. I see some Sam LaPorta in him.

NFL Comparison: Sam LaPorta / DET

3) Ja’Tavion Sanders – Texas – 6’4 / 245

Grade: 78

Junior entry, two-year starter. Earned first team All-Big 12 in both 2023 and 2022. Sanders came out of high school ranked as a top-shelf, five-star “athlete”. Ask different programs and you would have gotten different answers on where they envisioned him. The high school wide receiver/defensive end and accomplished basketball player was put at tight end right away upon arriving to Austin. He left atop the school’s all-time record book in receptions and second in yards. It took time, as 2021 was a complete wash. But he ascended to a key point of their passing game abruptly as a sophomore and took off. While his tools may leave him just a bit short as a pure slot tight end prospect and the lack of size will limit him as a traditional in-line guy, the tape shows a player that can help an offense produce in multiple ways. This constantly ascending player is a fit into any scheme and will be extra-attractive to offenses that want to mover their tight ends around often.

*Man, I liked Sanders big-time before the start of 2023. I was putting him near the Brock Bowers level, and I envisioned him as a first rounder. He failed to meet those expectations and his pre-draft process has been rather poor. He isn’t big. He isn’t explosive. He isn’t fast. He isn’t strong. So how does he still end up with a day two (round three) grade? I love his film. I love the way he plays. And I tie him to Isaiah Likely. Likely was a guy I liked on film in 2022 but the poor pre-draft process caused me to knock him down way too far. I don’t want to make the same mistake twice. Likely had little more explosion, but Sanders has more toughness, grit, and football sense. NYG could be a nice landing spot if Waller leaves.

NFL Comparison: Isaiah Likely / BAL

4) Theo Johnson – Penn State – 6’6 / 259

Grade: 78

Three-year starter. All-Big Ten in 2023. Johnson has the prototype body merged with soft hands and quick feet to pose as a potential starting tight end in the league. He has shown flashes of being a matchup nightmare for both linebackers and defensive backs. The catch radius and sheer weight he can play should help with some of the short area movement issues he shows as a route runner and ball carrier to have at least a quality backup outlook. The athletic upside he possesses leaves the door open to a bigger role. He brings a rare blend of size and speed to the table that coaches will want a crack at developing. Johnson needs to clean up some of the fine points of the position to reach his ceiling, but the floor with him is high to feel safe about hm providing solid rotational play, at least.

*I’ll say this right now. Johnson has the ceiling to be the top tight end in this class (including Bowers). That fact alone leads me to believe he should be graded a bit higher. But the number is the number. He has several flashes on tape combined with a historic blend of size, explosion, and speed. At this time, however, he is a better athlete than he is a football player. I felt that way after watching tape and when I saw him in person at the Senior Bowl. It looks like he is still learning his body and simply lacks some important coordination and football reaction speed. Worth the gamble because he could change an offense. Maybe a similar trajectory we have seen with Cole Kmet with the Bears.

NFL Comparison: Cole Kmet / CHI

5) Johnny Wilson – Florida State – 6’6 / 231

Grade: 77

Two-year starter. All-ACC in 2022. Wilson began his career at Arizona State where he was rarely used over two seasons. After receiving very little attention in the transfer portal, he settled in at Florida State and became an immediate weapon for their passing game, finishing as the team’s number one receiver in 2022. The downfield threat led the ACC and finished third in the country with 22 receptions of 20+ yards. The long-stride speed coming from a player with a rare combination of height, weight, and length will intrigue creative offensive minds. There are options he presents that most others simply cannot. Wilson will make the “wow” plays and he has shown signs of development from a skill set perspective. The lack of consistency from his hands on simple throws is maddening and his short area movement skills will create issues in certain situations. Whether he stays at receiver or moves to a non-traditional tight end role (a growing trend) will dictate his place on boards. There is no debating his potential to be a dangerous weapon, however.

*For the record, very few have Wilson in the tight end group. Most have him with the receivers. I see Darren Waller part II here – a former wide receiver. Wherever he is listed, he will be a guy that can be a Jimmy Graham-type red zone threat. Another guy that will need the right situation to succeed. Without the right situation, he will be a non-factor. Wilson’s size (radius) is bonkers. His long stride speed can actually get behind a secondary. He’s simply a special prospect in that we may not see another one like him for a decade-plus. If he was cleaner as a route runner with better hands, he would be a sure-thing first rounder. A team may think they can fix his shortcomings there. He could be sneaky top 45 pick for someone.

NFL Comparison: Darren Waller / NYG

6) Jared Wiley – TCU – 6’6 / 249

Grade: 75

Three-year starter. All-Big 12 in 2023 and 2022, first team in 2023. Spent three years at Texas where he started a total of 12 games prior to transferring to TCU in 2022. He almost walked away from the game and then he needed a back surgery. Wiley came back from adversity reinvigorated and turned his career around. The battle tested, former quarterback played a versatile role, lining up in a variety of spots. The move-tight end has standout-hands, dropping just one pass over his entire career (and catching 91 of them). He is a comfortable athlete with enough speed to threaten up the seam and is quick to turn up field after the catch. While he may not handle blocking duties in-line to warrant an every down role, his size profile and ability to run routes and catch the ball will be a threat at the next level. Wiley is a receiving threat that can line up in multiple spots and provide a unique weapon for the passing game, but his strength limitations could put a hard cap on his overall effectiveness.

*Wiley has been on my radar for a couple years. I was scouting him in 2022 as if he were coming out. The return to school did not necessarily help or hurt his grade, but this tight end group as a whole is not as good as what we were working with 12 months ago. Wiley has the goods physically if you are looking for a mismatch in the passing game. Again, if NYG is going to wave goodbye to Waller, Wiley is a guy I would love to see as a replacement. He won’t block well, but if used in a role similar to Waller I see a guy that can be a difference maker. He will be there day three, too.

7) Tanner McLachlan – Arizona – 6’5 / 244

Grade: 73

Sixth-year senior. Spent four seasons at Southern Utah where he played a hybrid wide receiver/tight end role. He started for one year (spring 2021 season) and then missed the following fall while rehabbing a torn ACL. He transferred to Arizona as a walk-on and quickly earned a scholarship soon after. McLachlan is a high-effort pass catcher and run-after-catch guy that will make things happen on his own. The lack of short area agility and reaction will make things difficult for him beating man coverage and he is not strong enough to factor as a blocker. The straight line speed and improving ball skills will give him checks in boxes as a receiver, which does carry weight.

*The initial look at his game had me thinking potential day-two guy. He is a comfortable athlete with soft hands. He did not measure or test very well but there are subtle components to his game that will help get the most out of himself. The fit with NYG is similar to Wiley above – somewhat dependent on Waller retiring or sticking around. With the number of options NYG will have to build the depth of this roster day three and limited resources (picks) in their arsenal, McLachlan does not seem to have anything stand out that is worth putting into this tight end room.

8) Cade Stover – Ohio State – 6’4 / 247

Grade: 73

Two-year starter. All-Big Ten in 2023. Stover took a long and indirect route to where he is now. A former all-state basketball player that set his high school’s all-time record in both points and rebounds. He was a two-way star that began his career for the Buckeyes on the defensive side, splitting time between linebacker and defensive end. He then made the full-time move to tight end prior to 2022. Stover has been a full-time at tight end for just two seasons. His performance and skill set have steadily improved and there is more to chew off, albeit with a low ceiling to his upside stemming from average athletic traits. He projects to a solid number two tight end that can be moved around the offense and depended on weekly.

*Stover is a gritty dude. I bet he sticks around for a while, as the years he spent on defense will likely land him on special teams units where he can be a key contributor. Will he get over the hump and consistently impact the game as a receiver? There are flashes on tape, but I do not see his ball skills or physical profile standing out. Definitely a “chew glass” type that is nice to have in the room but not the feature guy.

NFL Comparison: Pat Freiermuth / PIT

9) Erick All – Iowa – 6’4 / 252

Grade: 73

Three-year starter. Spent four seasons at Michigan before transferring with former Wolverines quarterback Cade McNamara to Iowa to add some firepower to a lackluster offense. All played in seven games before tearing his ACL on a violent hit post-catch against Wisconsin. It put him on the shelf for the rest of the season and will keep him out of the physical portions of the pre-draft process. All missed most of 2022 as well with a back injury that also required a surgery, albeit minimally invasive. The medicals will be a key variable to his grade. On the field, All has the potential to be a primary weapon in a pro passing game. He has playmaking skills and an easy-moving lower half. He won’t make much money as a blocker, but he can get things done on the move. If he can get a medical check from the physicals, which is questionable at this point, there is a high level of intrigue.

*All has had so much promise surrounding his future for years. If you remember back to 2022, Michigan tight end Luke Schoonmaker was a part of their dual tight end attack and eventually turned himself into a second-round pick (by DAL). All was the guy I was more intrigued by at the start of the season. The back injury and transfer to Iowa took him off the radar. During the front half of the 2023 season, All then re-appears on the radar and looks like the next dude from that program at tight end (slowly turning into “Tight End U”). Now we are watching another injury rehab. I did knock him down from a 76+ because of that. Talent wise, he can be a weapon. But the risk is there, and he is a one-dimension guy that is reliant on movement traits. High-ceiling guy for day three to look at.

NFL Comparison: Noah Fant / SEA

10) Brevyn Spann-Ford – Minnesota – 6’7 / 260

Grade: 70

Sixth year senior. Three-year starter. Spann-Ford has played a ton of football (2,200+ snaps) and brings rare size with better-than-functional athletic ability to project to a backup role at least. There is some power forward-type movement traits when attacking the ball in the air and after the catch that create intrigue. He should be a better performing blocker than he is with this kind of mass and reach, but he can hold his own. The intrigue comes from the matchup problems he can create but he never quite reached a consistent level as a pass catcher. He will turn 25 as a rookie, so his leash should not be long but this is too unique of a combination to look past.

*Athletically, Spann-Ford is below average. As a blocker, I don’t see him move guys the way he should with his frame. As a receiver, however, I still see the upside that put him on my radar in 2021. That’s when the outlook on him was a potential day two guy but we never saw him take the step up. That size and his willingness to play hard is enough to warrant a late pick. He won’t get many opportunities, but he needs to get a look somewhere. If a team can get more out of him as a blocker, he will stick.

11) AJ Barner – Michigan – 6’6 / 256

Grade: 70

Two-year starter. All-Big Ten in 2023. Spent three seasons at Indiana prior to transferring to Michigan in 2023. Barner is a well-sized, physical player that can wear all the hats of today’s tight end. He is capable of putting his hand in the dirt and holding the point of attack as a blocker but can also line up in the slot and factor in the passing game. He made a name for himself early in his career as a special teams standout. After opening some eyes in 2022, he transferred to Michigan as the eventual national champions were looking to replace their top two tight ends. Barner was second in line to an up-and-coming star (who will be a top prospect in 2025) but he found his niche within the offense and was a key part to their success. His athleticism and impact on the passing game will not move the needle much, however. The physical package beyond his size is average at best. Barner will struggle to get open against quality man coverage but as a number four or five option and near the end zone, there are tools to work with. He best projects to a backup role that can make a difference on special teams.

*For the second straight year, a Michigan tight end that looked very average on tape ended up opening eyes through the combine and Pro Day. Barner is a big and long athlete that can play quick and sudden. The balanced athleticism and overall polish to his game does not come close to Schoonmaker from 2023, but he is a player in a similar mold. Barner may actually make an impact as a special teamer. He did it early in college and that could help justify choosing him over some guys down here.

12) Jaheim Bell – Florida State – 6’2 / 241

Grade: 70

Two-year starter. Spent three seasons at South Carolina after tearing his ACL as a senior in high school. Transferred to Florida State in 2023. All-ACC in 2023 and won the team’s Newcomer of the Year Award. Bell had a couple of knee issues early in his career, dating back to a torn ACL his senior year of high school. After he got that settled, Bell was a hybrid offensive player for South Carolina. He was actually short yardage running back in 2022, carrying the ball 74 times. He moved to a more traditional tight role after transferring to Florida State, more than doubling his career snaps with his hand in the dirt. Bell is undersized and will struggle to find a fit in some systems, but for teams that use a fullback and/or H-Back will be drawn to his athleticism, yard-after-catch production, and physical toughness. Bell can be a player, one that can wear a lot of hats and add both personality and big plays to an offense.

*Whether or not NYG can truly use a guy like this is the question. We have seen Bellinger line up as a fullback a few times and if I had to choose between that and a guy like Bell, I am going with the latter. He offers different options when it comes to usage and his presence as a blocker is just as good. Bell works best with an offensive system that can use smoke and mirrors. We saw some of that in 2022, not so much in 2023. Perhaps a personnel change like this would help.

NFL Comparison: Chigoziem Okonkwo / TEN

13) Tip Reiman – Illinois – 6’5 / 271

Grade: 70

Two-year starter. Reiman is an oversized but surprisingly athletic Y tight end that can make a career on his ability to block alone. He has been elite in that realm since 2021. As his career went on, he got more and more involved in the passing game and showed he can be at least something as a receiver. Reiman is a hard nosed runner with the ball that runs hungry for more. His athletic testing, again at 270+ pounds, was special. Top 11 all-time special at the position. Reiman is not a fluid player and it shows up specifically as a pass catcher and route runner. His outlook will very much depend on how confident a pro tight end coach believes in the likelihood of getting his football skillset to match his tool set. If the two do align, watch out.

*Is Reiman worth a gamble higher than where I have him? In this tight end group, which is an odd one holistically, this could be a sneaky day two pick somewhere. A team like San Francisco, who really values blocking tight ends, could swoop in and use a third rounder on him and I wouldn’t be surprised at all. The reason? His absolute floor is still a quality presence in your run game. If you do tap into even 80% of his tools as a receiving threat, he can be a quality starter in the league early on. Personally, I am much more confident he will be the former because there is too much rigid movement in his game.

NFL Comparison: Ross Dwelley / FA

14) Dallin Holker – Colorado State – 6’3 / 241

Grade: 70

Sixth-year senior, two-year starter. Spent four seasons at BYU (including mission years) before transferring to Colorado State in 2023. First team All-Mountain West and an All-American in 2023. Holder was a Mackey Award finalist after leading the FBS tight ends in both yards and catches through the regular season. He came out of nowhere, creating production from multiple angles. What he put on paper in 2023 was more than double than his entire career combined to that point. He is crafty and quick, which helps him get open and make plays on the ball. He did not line up in-line often and his lack of power will make things tough for him as a blocker, but he is feisty enough to compete. He is a fun player but the limitations will keep him in a backup role with some gadget-type usage.

*Holker appeared early on in 2023. I remember his game against Colorado in week three was one of those “who is THAT guy” moments. His toughness in traffic stood out and he went on to produce at a high level the rest of the way. Holker actually measured in bigger than I thought he would which is encouraging for his odds to not only make a roster but create a niche for him in an offense that likes to use multiple tight ends.

15) Jack Westover – Washington – 6’3 / 243

Grade: 68

Sixth-year senior. Two-year starter. All-Pac 12 in 2023. Westover is a versatile chess piece for the offense that can be moved all over the offense. The F tight end can line up in the backfield, in-line, and as a slot receiver. He was the fourth most targeted receiver in both 2023 and 2022 in the high-octane Huskers passing game. His sudden burst and agility can get him open, and he shows quickness to the ball when it comes his way. While the lack of pure physical ability can hinder him in every down roles, he will be able to provide options in specific packages. There will also be an opportunity for him to shine on special teams, as he won the program’s scout team award there in 2018 and contributed there every season since 2019.

*”The more you can do” is the route Westover will need to take. He simply isn’t big or fast enough to catch your attention and he was not a big playmaker after the catch. He is simply solid across the board and will impact special teams units. He lined up everywhere and he blocks well. Limited ceiling type, but certainly the kind of guy everyone wants on the back end of the tight end group.


16) Brenden Bates – Kentucky – 6’4 / 246: 68
17) Owen Glascoe – Long Island – 6’4 / 245: 68
18) Devin Culp – Washington – 6’3 / 231: 68
19) Trey Knox – South Carolina – 6’3 / 240: 68
20) Baylor Cupp – Texas Tech – 6’5 / 253: 68
21) McCallan Castles – Tennessee – 6’4 / 249: 68


As I mentioned a few times in the player write ups, this very much depends on what Waller ends up doing. The prized acquisition of the 2023 offseason did not carry the weight we thought he would. What first appeared as a bargain for a third-round pick now looks like another lost opportunity to use a day two pick to build the future core of this roster. Whether it truly is Waller’s hamstring / nerve issue or just simply old age, he did not change the offense many believed he would. Daniel Bellinger is still in the picture and while we have seen enough to believe he can be a usable piece, I have seen enough to label him one of those “don’t make plans around him” types. That means, if you see a good value in the draft at this position, you still go for it. You cannot let Bellinger dictate whether or not you opt to bring in an intriguing player. A true threat at tight end is one of the fastest ways to turn this offense around. A true threat at tight end is also extremely difficult to find whether you are using a first rounder on one or waiting until undrafted free agency.

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