As the weather cools down here in the Midwest, Thanksgiving approaches fast and that means Draft Season is nearly upon us! As I continue to look at the different position groups, I wanted to give you my favorite tight ends. This is my top 10, mostly in order but I’ll also have honorable mentions that were close.
Top 10 Tight Ends for the 2023 NFL Draft
Michael Mayer – Notre Dame
It seems like almost every season we have a Fighting Irish tight end to talk about. This year is probably one of my favorites yet. He’s definitely a focal point of their offense, and for good reason. He’s been involved all three seasons and averaged over 10 yards per catch. He should be a day-one starter at the next level and be a team’s pass-catching tight end.
Dalton Kincaid – Utah
Kincaid appears to be the epitome of a pass-catching tight end. He’s got great hands, you’d almost think he was meant to be a wide receiver. It’ll be interesting to see if teams try to keep him in line to block or are they going to just use him as a receiving threat.
Darnell Washington – Georgia
He may be the best athlete on my list. I think he can be a game-changer at the tight end position. At 6’7” teams will love the catch radius, even though he hasn’t seen a ton of targets at Georgia. Though, when you have the tight ends they have, it’s hard to feature one over the other.
Tucker Kraft – South Dakota State
2021 saw Kraft explode at SD State, being their 2nd leading receiver behind Jaxon Janke. Kraft’s a willing blocker, and sometimes does a good job of keeping the block. Unfortunately, there will be times when he swings and misses, watch Colorado State from 2021 to see the good and bad blocking. Most of the TE’s on my list are better receivers, and I leaned that way because the NFL Needs TEs. Look at all the injuries this year, and the lack of good depth to prove that point.
Jaheim Bell – South Carolina
I think Bell could be the one on my list that could get miscast in the NFL. He’s 6’3” and under 240-pounds. He has been used as a rusher about as much as a target in the passing game. Bells is a dynamic athlete, that gives a team enough of a mismatch, that I could see someone using him as a gadget player in the NFL.
Sam LaPorta – Iowa
It’s not a top tight ends list without an Iowa player, right? They do such a good job of finding and developing tight ends that I know a team will draft LaPorta. The bigger question is who and when, as LaPorta can do it all. Is a willing blocker, and a plus receiver but he does have some drops from time to time.
Hunter Luepke – North Dakota State
Luepke is probably more of an H-back or fullback at 6’1”. I do like his skillset though, they use him as running back and he has enough in the passing game to be a threat as a receiver but is he your next Kyle Juszczyk? Maybe, he’ll be a fun name to watch throughout the draft process.
Benjamin Yurosek – Stanford
Stanford has produced some NFL tight ends over the last decade plus, maybe not to the level of Iowa or Miami but still solid players. Yurosek goes after the ball in the air, another one of these receiving threat tight ends. I know he’s only around 230 lbs. but he has the frame to add weight and still be just as dynamic.
Durham Payne – Purdue
Maybe my under-the-radar favorite of this group. Purdue’s done a good job of developing players recently. Payne has plenty of room to improve but the athletic profile should be enough to have a team draft him. Solid blocker, maybe one of the better ones on my list, a solid receiver, and an overall solid prospect.
Will Mallory – Miami
Mallory, like the others, checks the boxes athletically. I see him catch the ball with his body more than most, which can be rectified if a team feels the need. I see him more of a TE2 that teams can use to get the first down, maybe not necessarily the big play threat some of these others are.
I have a couple of guys on here that I think will declare, because they don’t have anything more to prove. So let me know what you think! Hit me up on Twitter Feel free to @ me or DM me and we can talk more about them and the rest of the 2023 NFL Draft, and don’t forget to check out our Mock Draft’s here on Draft Countdown!