NFL Draft News & Analysis

2024 NFL Draft: Highest-graded tight ends in every category

2RYEHYW Georgia tight end Brock Bowers (19) scores the winning touchdown during the second half of an NCAA football game against Auburn on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)

Georgia’s Brock Bowers commands attention all over the field: The projected first-round selection profiles as a lethal do-it-all option with the versatility that coordinators covet, capturing the class’ highest In-line and slot/outside receiving grades at the position.

TexasJa’Tavion Sanders poses a matchup nightmare for defenses: The Longhorns tight end showcases premier athletic tools that allowed him to secure the class’ highest contested receiving grade among tight ends.

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The NFL draft season is well underway with the NFL combine and individual pro days in the rearview while the big day just a few weeks away. Every player brings a unique skill set to the table in hopes of having their name called on the big stage. We’re breaking down the draft class’ best players at each and every facet for every position to get a more informed view of the NFL hopefuls.

These are PFF’s highest-graded tight end prospects at each key grading facet in the 2024 NFL Draft:

In-Line Receiving Grade: Brock Bowers, Georgia: 92.8

The Georgia product is the ultimate offensive chess piece any offensive coordinator would kill for. Bowers demanded attention all over the field, but his dominant in-line receiving ability is undoubtedly a huge selling point in his game, as he's generated over 3.61 yards per route run and a class-leading 154.9 passer rating when targeted.  

Slot and Outside Receiving Grade: Brock Bowers, Georgia: 69.8

The Bulldogs deployed their talented tight end as a threat from the slot and outside often, where he was able to showcase his incredible after-the-catch ability. Bowers tallied over 191 yards after the catch while forcing seven missed tackles, both of which lead the tight end prospects in this year’s class.

Late-Down Receiving Grade: Erick All, Iowa: 85.9

Despite having his senior season cut short due to a knee injury, All flashed his receiving ability, especially on late downs when his offense needed it most. On third and fourth downs, the Hawkeyes tight end was efficient, totaling over 2.97 yards per route run – more than 1.2 yards above the next ranked tight end prospect.

Contested Receiving Grade: Ja’Tavion Sanders, Texas: 91.3

Sanders, a PFF top-50 ranked prospect in this year’s class, possesses the athletic profile and ball skills to be a phenomenal option for offenses looking to attack the field vertically in tight windows. The junior tight end displayed ample play strength as one of the most effective contested catch receivers in college football, hauling in 53.8% (seven receptions) of contested targets. Those seven grabs also each resulted in a gain of 15 or more yards, the most by any tight end prospect.

Redzone Receiving Grade: Ben Sinnott, Kansas State: 87.0

The jack-of-all-trades tight end prospect was fantastic for K-State when threatening inside the 20-yard line. Sinnot racked up nine red zone receptions, six of which went for scores – most in the class among tight ends – for an impressive 81.8% completion percentage when targeted.  

Play Action Receiving Grade: Brock Bowers, Georgia: 95.1

Bowers was an incredible weapon when paired with run action, where he made defenders miss and piled up chunk yardage in spades. On play-action looks, Bowers saw just 4.9 yards average depth per target, but he still managed to produce over 11 explosive plays. That’s due in no small part to his after-the-catch ability, which was displayed by his 11 missed tackles forced and 11.9 yards after catch per reception, both marks that pace this year’s class.

10. New York Jets: TE Brock Bowers, Georgia

Zone Run Blocking Grade: Ben Sinnott, Kansas State: 82.3

Sinnot may not flash the blocking strength as some other prospects in this class, but he undoubtedly approaches the zone-blocking game with speed and attitude. The Kansas State tight end excelled in both inside and outside zone concepts, where he produced a 19.8% impact block rate.

Gap Run Blocking Grade: AJ Barner, Michigan: 78.6

Michigan’s gap-heavy scheme was a great fit for Barner, as he produced the class’ only 70.0-plus run-blocking grade on these concepts (gap, power, counter, pull lead). The former Wolverine managed to generate an impact block on over 16.3% of gap concept runs this season.

Pass Blocking Grade: Jared Wiley, TCU: 75.0

The Massive Willey used all 6-foot-7 of his frame to nullify pass-rushers with his reach and halt blitzers in their tracks. The Horned Frogs tight end surrendered just one pressure all season back in Week 1, stemming from a stunt pass off from his tackle that he wasn’t entirely expecting. Otherwise, the senior posted a perfect 100.0 pass block efficiency rating in 11 of his 12 outings this season.  

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