Browns, NFL Draft

2019 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings: Tight Ends

Liz Martin/The Gazette

The Cleveland Browns had a really promising 2018 NFL season. And it is now carrying over to the offseason with the incredible activity already done by Browns General Manager John Dorsey through free agency and trades. Even though the Browns do not have a first round pick anymore, the Browns will use the 2019 NFL Draft to continue the development of the team and hopefully catapult the franchise to even higher heights. They still hold eight picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, so there will still be a big opportunity to keep improving the roster.

Here at WFNY, we are going to get you ready for the upcoming draft. In particular, Joe Gilbert and John Colosimo have been examining each of the positions in the draft, giving their top five prospects in each position group, while also giving their thoughts on the overall class at each position.

The duo is back at on offensive side of the ball. After finishing up the offensive line, the two now move to the tight end position. So, here is what Joe and John had to say about the top tight ends and the overall class of tight ends in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Gilbert and Colosimo’s 2019 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings Series: SafetiesCornerbacksLinebackersEdge RushersInterior Defensive LinemenInterior Offensive Linemen and Offensive Tackles

Joe Gilbert’s Top 5 Tight Ends John Colosimo’s Top 5 Tight Ends
1. Noah Fant, Iowa 1. Noah Fant, Iowa
2. T.J. Hockenson, Iowa 2. T.J Hockenson, Iowa
3. Irv Smith Jr., Alabama 3. Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M
4. Dawson Knox, Ole Miss 4. Irv Smith Jr., Alabama
5. Kaden Smith, Stanford 5. Josh Oliver, San Jose St.

Best of the Rest: Dax Raymond (Utah State) and Isaac Nauta (Georgia)

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

Joe: I really like Dawson Knox of Ole Miss. I think he has untapped potential. With all the great offensive weapons on Ole Miss over the past couple years, Knox did not get a lot of chances in the passing game as a receiver. But, he is a really good athlete, which should make him a mismatch as the receiver. He is an experienced blocker, who shows good pad level and willingness to be a complete tight end in the NFL.

John: I’m a big fan of Josh Oliver of San Jose St. I think he has some impressive traits as a pass catcher in having good body control and strength at the catch point to go along with decent enough pass and run blocking by college standards. He also comes with excellent production and athletic profiles.

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

Joe: Noah Fant of Iowa is my No. 1 tight end in the class. Fant is the best athlete in the class with the ability to be a mismatch as a receiver in the passing game. He was highly productive in college. After the catch, he uses his athleticism to run and make big plays. His freakish athleticism also allows him to be a deep threat in the passing game. Fant is an OK blocker, with the willingness to be a blocking tight end besides just being a receiver.

John: Noah Fant is my number one as well. While he isn’t as well rounded as his teammate TJ, as Joe pointed out already, he is a freak of an athlete who produced in college. He will instantly be one of if not the most athletic tight end in the NFL once drafted, and that holds a metric ton of value for an NFL passing game.

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

Joe: I think this class is deep with a lot of potential productive NFL tight ends littered throughout the class. The class is deep with athletic tight ends who have the potential to be receiving threats in the NFL. I think this year’s class is pretty similar to last year’s class of tight ends in terms of the overall talent level.

John: This class is fantastic, almost as good as 2017. We have a top end in TJ and Fant, a huge amount of meat in the middle with guys like Smith and Sternberger, and even interesting prospects in day three with Foster Moreau. It’s easily one of the best and deepest positions in this draft.

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

Joe: Noah Fant’s athleticism is the best skill set in the class. He is one of the more freakish tight ends to come in a long time. His athleticism allows him to be a deep threat as a tight end and to be a dangerous runner after the catch. He is a mismatch in the passing game because of this athleticism.

John: I’d love to have a different answer, but Joe’s correct, no single skillset has as much potential for creating an advantage on Sunday’s as Fant’s athleticism. He’s not just athletic for a Tight End, he’s one of the best athletes in this draft regardless of position or size.

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

Joe: I think Dawson Knox of Ole Miss is a sleeper to keep an eye on in this class. Because of the low production he had in college, people may overlook him as a prospect. But, he was in an offense with some great receiving talent, so he was not used as much in the passing game as other tight ends in the class. Knox is really athletic and can be a potential playmaker as a receiver. He also adds solid blocking ability, which makes him a complete tight end for an NFL team.

John: Foster Moreau of LSU is my pick for a sleeper. In terms of athleticism, he’s #2 behind Fant. At 6’6″, he wasn’t that far behind Fant as an athlete, and while you won’t find perfect prospects on paper deep on day 3, he has the kind of traits that are well worth a lottery ticket to try and develop, particularly at tight end, which is likely the least developed position in terms of readiness to transition to the NFL game. TE’s notoriously take several years to reach their potential, vs RB’s on the other end of the spectrum. If a team can develop Moreau, he will reward them with his rare athletic profile.

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

Joe: I think the Browns could definitely look at a mid-round tight end, especially one who can be a receiving threat behind David Njoku. With the class filled with a lot of athletic tight ends, Cleveland can look to nab one of them to develop into a backup tight end.

John: I think the Browns will absolutely be in the market for a TE in this class, where it will be is anyone’s guess. The good news is that whether they get one in the 2nd round or the 6th, they likely will be walking away with good value relative to the draft position.