Browns, NFL Draft

An early glance at the tight end class in the 2018 NFL Draft

With the Browns 2017 season continuing its downward spiral to another lost season, WFNY has taken the opportunity to get an early start on the 2018 NFL Draft. Jake Burns and Joe Gilbert are taking an early glance at each position’s potential 2018 class of prospects.

This week the duo is taking a look at the tight end class. The tight end in the NFL has become a position with a variety of tasks and skill sets based on the system and role the teams are running. It is a position with a wide assortment of opinions based on the system and scheme for the team drafting. Despite the Browns having three relatively young players at the position, it is one that can still be of interest to the team as they look to expand on the offensive playmaking options. It’s also a really interesting position to study.

So, with that let’s get to the rankings!

2018 NFL Draft Early Glance Series: Running backWide Receiver


Joe Gilbert’s Top 5 TEsJake Burns’ Top 5 TEs
1. Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State1. Hayden Hurst, South Carolina
2. Hayden Hurst, South Carolina2. Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State
3. Mark Andrews, Oklahoma3. Troy Fumagalli, Wisconsin
4. Christopher Herndon, Miami (FL)4. Christopher Herndon, Miami (FL)
5. Dalton Schultz, Stanford5. Caleb Wilson, UCLA


Best of the Rest: Mike Gesicki (Penn State), Ian Thomas (Indiana), Tyler Conklin (Central Michigan), Durham Smythe (Notre Dame), Cam Serigne (Wake Forest), Ryan Izzo (Florida State) and Adam Breneman (UMass)

Which tight end do you feel stronger about than most people?

Joe: I think I feel stronger than most people about Dallas Goedert of South Dakota State. Many people believe he is one of the top tight ends in the class, but not many people have him as their No. 1 tight end. I think Goedert has everything a team wants in a tight end. He has the size at 6-foot-4, 260 pounds, the hands, the ball skills, the athleticism and the strength and will to block. He is a true mismatch for any defense to have to defend against.

Jake: I really enjoy Christopher Herndon’s game for Miami. He can do all three vital tight end positions in the modern day (wing, slot, inline) and can really get after it. He is a really good overall athlete, blocks in both phases of the game really well, and can get open and win some tough throws from defenders. He will be a really good NFL tight end for years to come.

Who is your No. 1 tight end in the class and why do you believe he is the best tight end?

Joe: As I stated earlier, Dallas Goedert of South Dakota State is my No. 1 tight end. He has the best hands in the class with the athleticism and size to be a mismatch in the passing game. He uses his body well to box out defenders to the ball, contributing to his strong ball skills. As a blocker, he has the will and the strength to block on run and pass downs. He is versatile to play inline and in the slot out wide and play all three downs as a receiver and a blocker.

Jake: I have South Carolina’s Hayden Hurst as my No. 1 tight end. He is able to play from the wing, slot, inline better than anyone else in this class. His numbers and highlights don’t always pop due to South Carolina’s anemic quarterback play, but watch the games, he’s their best asset. He is a comfortable receiver at any spot on the field, really gets after it in the blocking game, especially in NFL popular screen game, and can even pull inside to block in the run game. He has the total package skill set for a modern day tight end.

What are your thoughts on the overall tight end class? How would you rate the class?

Joe: The tight end class does not have a lot of elite talent right now, but the class has so much potential and depth. Compared to last season, this class does not have as many top tier prospects like the three great talents of OJ Howard, David Njoku and Evan Engram last season, but the depth of this year’s class is better than last year. The depth is filled with potential. The class has a variety of skill sets and talents that give teams a good crop to pick from based on what the team needs in their tight end.

Jake: Very deep. There are tight ends all over the field that can help in any facet of the game you’re looking for. The top names aren’t the most known commodities so it will appear weak on the surface, but dig deeper and you’ll find a loaded class. Want a wide receiver type, there’s Tyler Conklin from Central Michigan or Dallas Goedert. Want a traditional blocking tight end, there’s Wisconsin’s Troy Fumagalli or UCLA’s Caleb Wilson. Whatever type you need, there is one for your franchise in this draft.

Who has the best single skill set and what is that skill set?

Joe: I believe Dallas Geodert’s ball skills is the best overall skill set in the class. Goedert makes some of the most difficult and contested catches look easy. On numerous occasions he has had no use for two hands, catching passes with just one hand. He uses his body well to shield the defender away from the ball to make the catch. He also uses good arm extension to pluck the ball out of the air, rather than letting the ball get into his body. His size and athleticism also helps him win in 50/50 balls against defenders.

Jake: Troy Fumagalli’s blocking skill set is the best in this class and I don’t think it’s very close. We can always expect Wisconsin front players to carry this trait, and with Fumagalli, it’s no different. He is great for Wisconsin in the down block scheme, wing pull scheme, stretch scheme on outside zone, all of it. HE plays with great effort, burst and leverage. Turn on his film and watch his arm leverage and extension when he gets locked in. He constantly controls defenders at the line of scrimmage.

Who is a sleeper tight end who you are keeping an eye on?

Joe: I think a real sleeper in this class is Dalton Schultz of Stanford. I think he has one of the highest upsides of any tight end in the class. Schultz is one of the best blockers in the tight end class, both in run and pass situations. He can come in and right away be an extra blocker for a team in the NFL. In the Stanford offense, he is not given many opportunities to catch the ball, but he has the size and athleticism that should make him a potential mismatch in the passing game.

Jake: UCLA’s Caleb Wilson is a hidden gem. To me, he’s Jordan Reed 2.0 who plays with an edge. He is a traditional “Y” who controls the middle of the field for UCLA, and Josh Rosen loved him. Wilson was lost for the season after five games due to a foot injury that required surgery, but his impact was obvious as he went for 15 catches and 208 yards in the Bruins season opener against Texas A&M. He is only a redshirt sophomore, so it will be interesting to see if he declares, but if he does, watch his name climb in the position group.

What is the impact of this tight end class to the Browns?

Joe: The Browns are pretty set at the tight end position with Seth DeValve and David Njoku as the future of the position. Randall Telfer is a solid blocker, but I could see the Browns look into replacing Telfer with a better blocker who can provide more of a threat in the passing game. A tight end is not on the top of list of needs, but the Browns could look to nab one later in the draft and take advantage of the class’ depth.

Jake: I think the Browns should entertain the idea of a day three type tight end in this year’s draft. If they can pair Njoku with a player who is more comfortable being dynamic in the inline three point tight end spot, they can make a dangerous pair. I look for them to target either Fumagalli or Herndon if they take the route of tight end at the draft. Late names that fit might be Indiana’s Ian Thomas or Florida State’s Ryan Izzo.

Dallas Goedert Highlights

Hayden Hurst Highlights

Troy Fumagalli Highlights

Mark Andrews Highlights

Christopher Herndon Highlights

Caleb Wilson Highlights

Mike Gesicki Highlights

Dalton Schultz Highlights

Ian Thomas Highlights

Tyler Conklin Highlights

Ryan Izzo Highlights