2024 NFL Draft: 10 draft-eligible tight ends to know

Columbia, Missouri, USA; Georgia Bulldogs tight end Brock Bowers (19) runs the ball against the Missouri Tigers during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

• Georgia’s Brock Bowers: The junior could go down as one of the best tight end prospects in the PFF College era.

• Texas’ Ja’Tavion Sanders: The former five-star recruit has the tools to join Bowers in the first round.

• Syracuse’s Oronde Gadsden II: The junior blurs the line between tight end and wide receiver, but his best role is as a bigger slot at the next level.

Estimated Reading Time: 5 mins

The 2023 NFL Draft featured only one first-round tight end, Dalton Kincaid. It was the fourth straight class in which there weren’t multiple tight ends drafted on Day 1. 

Early indications suggest that could change for 2024, as two tight ends went in the top 20 of my way-too-early mock draft.

Here are 10 tight end prospects to know as we head into summer scouting, kicking things off with one who could challenge Kyle Pitts as the position's best prospect of the PFF College era.

Other position groups:

QB | RB | WR | OT | IOL

Brock Bowers, Georgia

Despite being on the smaller side at 230 pounds, Bowers has been a superstar since stepping onto Georgia’s campus. As a true freshman in 2021, he was the highest-graded Power Five tight end and the most valuable player at the position in college football, according to PFF’s wins above average metric. He was once again the most valuable tight end in the nation this past season and led the position in receiving yards (942), yards after the catch (479) and receiving yards after contact (274). Bowers’ 73.8 run-blocking grade in 2022 also ranked seventh among Power Five tight ends. He’s on track to go down as one of the best tight end prospects in history.

Ja'Tavion Sanders, Texas

Sanders joined Texas with a ton of hype as a top-15 recruit in the 2021 class.

He began to live up to that billing in his sophomore season, accounting for 32 combined first downs and touchdowns in 2022, which trailed only Dalton Kincaid, Michael Mayer and Brock Bowers among FBS tight ends. His 613 receiving yards also trailed only Bowers among returning Power Five tight ends. He’s a freak athlete at 6-foot-4 and 242 pounds, and he is the early favorite to be TE2 in the 2024 NFL Draft, behind Bowers.

Oronde Gadsden II, Syracuse

Gadsden is more a wide receiver than a tight end at 6-foot-5 and 216 pounds. In fact, he lined up out wide on significantly more snaps (181) than he did in line in 2022. He’ll likely be a bigger slot receiver at the next level, having thrived in that role for Syracuse. He tied for eighth among Power Five pass catchers with 28 catches of 15-plus yards last season.

Brevyn Spann-Ford, Minnesota

Spann-Ford is arguably the most well-rounded tight end returning to college football.

The redshirt senior’s 82.5 run-blocking grade in 2022 ranked second among FBS tight ends, while his 82.1 receiving grade placed eighth. His 2.22 yards per route run also stood fourth among all tight ends. He’s essentially an extra offensive lineman at 6-foot-7 and 270 pounds but must be respected as a receiver, as well.

Jaheim Bell, Florida State

Bell was criminally underutilized by South Carolina in 2022. The junior saw only 28 targets this past season, ranking 91st at the position. He even played some running back for the Gamecocks, as his 257 rushing yards led all tight ends in the country.

He runs like a running back, too. In 2021, his 354 yards after the catch trailed only Brock Bowers among Power Five tight ends. He also led the position with 3.67 yards per route run. Even that year, his 41 targets still ranked 42nd at the position. 

Bryson Nesbit, North Carolina

Nesbit is more of a downfield threat than most tight ends. His 11.8-yard average depth of target ranked sixth highest among Power Five tight ends, and that helped him average the fifth-most yards per route run in the country (2.21). He was the only tight end in the top 15 in yards per route run with a double-digit average depth of target. With Josh Downs and Antoine Green in the NFL, Nesbit could put up even bigger numbers as Drake Maye’s top target in 2023.

Benjamin Yurosek, Stanford

Like Jaheim Bell, Yurosek had a relatively disappointing 2022 season after breaking out in 2021. 

The junior’s 65.3 receiving grade this past season was nearly 15 points lower than his prior mark. Still, his 1,099 receiving yards and 596 yards after the catch over the past two seasons trail only Brock Bowers among returning Power Five tight ends. He adds little as a run blocker, but Yurosek is worth keeping an eye on for his receiving ability.

Cade Stover, Ohio State

Unlike Yurosek, Stover has no such issues as a run blocker. He made five big-time blocks this past season (PFF’s highest-graded blocks), which tied for fourth among Power Five tight ends.

Working against Stover as a receiver is the fact that he plays with Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka, the two best returning wide receivers in college football. He still impressed as a pass catcher, though, as his 110 receiving yards after contact ranked 11th among Power Five tight ends.

Jalin Conyers, Arizona State

Conyers was a monster after the catch this past season, forcing 21 missed tackles — which led all tight ends in the country — and ranking fourth among FBS tight ends in receiving yards after contact (170).

Brant Kuithe, Utah

Kuithe played just four games in 2022 before suffering a season-ending knee injury, but he’s been one of the nation’s most productive tight ends over the past few seasons.

In 2019, he was a PFF third-team All-American. His 832 yards after the catch since then are the fifth most among all tight ends in college football. Perhaps even more impressive, it was Kuithe, not 2023 first-rounder Dalton Kincaid, who finished as Utah’s top tight end in both 2021 and 2020. If he can stay healthy, Kuithe should reestablish himself as a top tight end both in college football and in the NFL draft.

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