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Ranking the NFL’s best tight ends in the red zone from the 2021 season

Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots tight end Hunter Henry (85) reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

There are multiple factors at play when considering how good an NFL tight end is in the red zone — including how well they run routes and the coverage matchup.

Here were the top 25 tight ends in the red zone last season, per PFF grading.

1. Hunter Henry, New England Patriots

Receiving Grade in Red Zone: 90.2

The only 90.0-plus graded tight end of the 25 who qualified with 50 receiving snaps in the red zone, Henry caught nine of his 18 targets. While his 50.0% completion rate was tied for second-worst, every catch he made resulted in a touchdown.

2. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

Receiving Grade in Red Zone: 88.6

Andrews saw the most red-zone targets (22) of any qualifying tight end and caught 14 passes, which tied for the most with two others. His 102 yards ranked second, and his nine receiving touchdowns were the most of any qualifying player. Overall, the 6-foot-5, 256-pound monster dominated in the red zone and averaged 7.3 yards per reception.

3. Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers

Receiving Grade in Red Zone: 82.7

In his first NFL season, Freiermuth caught 72.2% of his 18 red-zone targets for 92 yards and seven touchdowns. The Penn State product caught 13 of his 15 catchable targets and brought in three of his six contested targets.

4. Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns (now Tennessee Titans)

Receiving Grade in Red Zone: 80.9

Hooper was targeted 12 times in the red zone and caught nine passes for 63 yards in 2021. His three touchdowns meant that he was averaging a Cleveland score 33.0% of the time that he caught the ball in the red zone.

5. Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles

Receiving Grade in Red Zone: 79.7

Once Philadelphia’s TE1, Zach Ertz, left for Arizona last season, Goedert stepped up to fill the void. Targeted only seven times, he caught five for 52 yards and two touchdowns. Still, his 10.4 average yards per reception ranked second among the qualifying tight ends. Goedert also caught all three of his contested targets.

6. T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions


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