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2019 NFL Draft Preview: Tight Ends

NCAA Football: Iowa at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins came into the 2018 NFL Draft with a clear need at Tight End. They obviously made that a priority by drafting not one, but two tight ends; Mike Gesicki and Durham Smythe. I personally liked both picks; I believe both have a great chance at being really good pros. The Dolphins also have the likes of Maquise Gray, AJ Derby and Gavin Escobar to complete their TE corp. I am excited to see the 2 rookies play this season, and given the depth at this group I’d say TE isn’t going to be a big priority for the Dolphins in this year’s draft. However, for the sake of my college preview, let’s take a quick look at this year’s potential draft class.

Noah Fant, Iowa (Jr)

Fant is a fun player to watch. He’s a big guy who plays with a competitive spirit and it shows. He’s got the best hands out of all the TE’s in this class in my opinion. He makes quick cuts and knows how to go up and get the ball. He’s a skilled receiver, no doubt about that. His blocking is average; he’s got the tools to be a respectable blocker, he just needs to improve. I think he can improve on dealing with press coverage better as well, but right now he’s my favorite TE in this class.

Nebraska v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Kaden Smith, Stanford (Jr)

Kaden Smith might as well be in the WR class because that’s all I saw him do. He’s definitely not overly fast but he’s got quicks and runs smooth routes. His best trait though is winning the jump ball. He’s tough when fighting the grab the pass and he rarely loses. He, like Fant, also has very sure hands. Like I said, I don’t have a good hold (no pun intended) on his blocking skills and he’s not the best athlete, but Smith is certainly one of the top TE’s in this class.

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Championship-Southern California vs Stanford Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Caleb Wilson, UCLA (Jr)

Wilson was limited last season due to a foot injury, but looked very good prior to that. He’s got all the tools you would look for in a TE and this year has a chance to prove that he belongs at the top of this group.

NCAA Football: UCLA at Stanford Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Tommy Sweeney, Boston College (Sr)

Sweeney is completely different than the previous TE’s I have covered on this list. He’s the best blocking TE I have scouted so far in the early stages of this draft class. He’s stout, great hand use, and can move opponents. Unfortunately, he leaves much to be desired in terms of athleticism and receiving threat. I am not trying to be mean, he’s just not a big threat in the passing game. He can catch the ball, he’s just slow and doesn’t have the route running and quickness you need to be a big time TE. He’s a great blocker though, that could be a red zone/short yardage type guy and that will intrigue teams.

NCAA Football: Pinstripe Bowl-Boston College vs Iowa Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Other Notable TE Prospects:

Tyler Petite, USC (Sr)
C.J. Conrad, Kentucky (Jr)
Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri (RS Soph) - Caught 11 TDs last year
Irv Smith Jr., Alabama (Jr)
Alize Mack, Notre Dame (Sr)
Matt Sokol, Michigan St. (Sr)