By: Pernell Beals
There’s not too many NFL drafts where we see such great quality in the Tight End position. The Tight End position has become a serious need for teams looking to make a push in the post season. Teams like the New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos, and Carolina Panthers have utilized the position to the fullest. It’s also not surprising that these four teams have made it all the way to the Super Bowl with three of the four winning it.
Here are the Top 5 Tight Ends entering the 2017 NFL Draft.
- J. Howard, TE, Alabama
O.J. Howard gets the nod as the top tight end for the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft. Why, well you can’t argue with his ability to show up in big games. What he’s done against top competitors is pretty good, especially considering he hasn’t had the best of Quarterbacks this last season.
Howard takes full advantage of his opportunities when he gets them. He rarely drops passes and has stepped up as a blocker.
He is a very athletic Tight end and will be a huge addition for a team looking to build for the future. I expect him to come right in to the league and be a dynamic threat for defenses to handle.
Howard is one of two tight ends I have considered as 1st round pick-ups.
- David Njoku, TE, Miami
A complete freak of nature! David Njoku comes in as a close second in my top 5 tight ends. I believe he is a raw talent with a huge ceiling. He is another dominant Miami Hurricane tight end, it’s almost like they breed tight ends. The last two Miami tight ends to come into the NFL have been key contributors for their teams, and the NFC had two of Miami tight end alums as starters for the Pro-Bowl this past season.
I wouldn’t want to be the team to miss out on another great Hurricane tight end.
I think Njoku will be a receiving threat in the NFL. His size and speed makes him a defensive nightmare for any team. He will have to get better with his blocking, but that’s usually what most new tight ends coming into the NFL must work on.
I see David Njoku going in the 1st round of the 2017 NFL draft. He could go as high as 5 and as far as 32, it all depends on what a team is looking for.
- Gerald Everett, TE, South Alabama
This solid receiving tight end is a sleeper to most, but not to NFL executives. He is a dynamic tight end with true NFL qualities.
Everett has the speed to get away from defenders and the ability to catch in traffic. The way the NFL is going, having a solid receiving tight end that can take the pressure off a quarterback is very important.
I project Everett will be going in the 2nd round to an already established team looking for that one extra piece.
- Jordan Leggett, TE, Clemson
I would say if Leggett was on a different team that had less talent he might not even be on this list. Leggett comes in at #4 not because he was able to be a mismatch for teams, but because he was on a team with the top rated wide out in this year’s 2017 draft class. This pairing of these two top talents lead to Leggett facing some easy matchups at times.
Productive for the most part, Leggett is a lean tight end with speed to get past slower defenders.
In the NFL we will see if he is really a nightmare to stop for defenses. If Leggett goes to a team with talent already there he might make a splash, but if not his career might not be so fruitful.
I have Leggett going in the mid to late 3rd and maybe even early 4th round in the 2017 NFL Draft.
- Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech
Another receiving tight end and another mismatch, he is a very talented and raw tight end. Hodges has the skills to go up and grab out of range passes, make someone miss, and then score.
Bucky Hodges is a guy that a team will pick up in the 3rd or 4th round and realized they got a 1st round talent. He is that much of a sleeper.
I think he needs some polishing when it comes to the small details that make average tight ends good, and good tight ends great, but he’s a sleeper pick nonetheless.
Hodges is a first round talent that will slip into the 2nd to 4th round.
These rankings are based off what I’ve seen on the field. These rankings are just projections of who I believe will go first at the position in this year’s 2017 NFL Draft.