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Tight end rankings for top 32 NFL TEs heading into 2022 led by Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews

PFN’s checklist of the top tight ends within the NFL heading into the 2022 marketing campaign is primarily highlighted by veterans. Given that TE is such a difficult place to adapt to within the NFL — and the truth that a number of future Hall of Famers are nonetheless taking part in within the league — youthful tight ends have been hard-pressed to discover a place in our rankings. Let’s see how the total checklist of the top 32 tight ends within the NFL shakes out.

Top NFL tight ends in 2022

1) Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

The epitome of consistency, Travis Kelce has been a primary or second-team All-Pro in every of the previous six seasons. He topped 1,000 yards in all these campaigns, and even a barely down yr in 2021 resulted in a 92-1,125-9 line.

With Tyreek Hill gone, Kelce will turn out to be an much more essential asset for the Chiefs. Kansas City introduced in receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Skyy Moore, however Kelce ought to comfortably lead the staff in targets subsequent yr. His alignment versatility (62% of his snaps have been within the slot or out extensive) and potential to search out open house ought to result in loads of alternatives.

The actual query is how lengthy Kelce can preserve this up. Elite tight ends can usually keep top-end manufacturing into their mid-to-late 30s. Tony Gonzalez managed 83 catches and eight touchdowns in his age-37 season with the Falcons. Kelce turns 33 in October, so he ought to have a number of glorious years left.

2) Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

Kelce will get the deference at No. 1 primarily based on his lengthy monitor report, however Mark Andrews was the best tight end within the NFL final season. As the first goal in Baltimore’s offense, Andrews’ 26% goal share was simply the perfect amongst tight ends and ranked sixth amongst all move catchers.

The former third-round choose appeared in all 17 video games as one of many few Ravens gamers who managed to remain absolutely wholesome final yr, and he was environment friendly even when Lamar Jackson was unavailable. In the 5 video games wherein backup Tyler Huntley was the first quarterback, Andrews nonetheless averaged 8.6 receptions, 99.2 yards, and scored three complete touchdowns.

The Ravens traded Marquise Brown to the Cardinals through the draft, and they haven’t added any further receivers. Andrews already blew up final yr, and his 153 targets have been the third-most by a good end since 2000. It appears loopy to assume he may surpass his 2021 stats, however given the state of Baltimore’s WR depth chart, Andrews may obtain much more targets subsequent season.

3) George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers

Kelce and Andrews are a little bit underrated as blockers, however neither is on George Kittle’s degree. The 49ers tight end is likely one of the greatest run-blocking tight ends within the NFL. That’s an particularly very important ability in a San Francisco offense that ran the ball on the fourth-highest clip within the league in 2021.

Kittle’s lack of dimension and manufacturing at Iowa compelled him to fall to the fifth spherical of the 2017 NFL Draft, however he’s capitalized on his elite athletic testing on the professional degree. He’s most likely probably the most full tight end within the NFL, and his highs are extraordinarily excessive, as evidenced by his 88-1,377-5 effort in 2018.

Injury considerations are Kittle’s primary subject, and he’s missed 13 video games over the previous three seasons. If he can keep wholesome, Kittle will probably be a dependable goal for presumptive 49ers quarterback Trey Lance in his first yr as a full-time starter.

4) Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons

Kyle Pitts will doubtless top the checklist of the NFL’s greatest tight ends many instances over the subsequent decade-plus. Heck, it’s even attainable he’s at No. 1 by subsequent yr.

The Falcons chosen Pitts fourth total in final yr’s draft, making him the highest-drafted tight end of all time. The Florida alum rewarded Atlanta’s religion, posting the second-most yards receiving (1,026) and third-most receptions (68) of any rookie TE in NFL historical past.

Tight end is a notoriously troublesome place to select up within the execs, however Pitts made a seamless transition, recording the very best common depth of goal (11.2 yards) amongst TEs.

Pitts solely scored one landing final season, and given the Falcons’ present quarterback scenario, he could not discover the end zone a lot in 2022 both. However, as soon as Atlanta finds their long-term answer underneath middle, the sky would be the restrict for Pitts.

5) Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders

After managing back-to-back seasons with 90+ catches and 1,100+ yards, Darren Waller was hit by the harm bug in 2021. An ankle harm price him Week 7, whereas a strained IT band sidelined him for 5 video games close to the end of the season. Now absolutely wholesome, the 29-year-old is about up for a rebound marketing campaign in 2022.

New Raiders head coach and offensive play-caller Josh McDaniels actually is aware of how one can get the tight end concerned after spending years with Rob Gronkowski in New England. A season in the past, Las Vegas ranked nineteenth in offensive DVOA, however an improved unit may result in extra alternatives for Waller.

Of course, following the Raiders’ acquisition of Davante Adams, Waller is probably not the goal hog he as soon as was. But if Vegas’ offense performs at the next degree subsequent season, it could not matter that Waller receives a smaller slice of the general pie.

6) Rob Gronkowski, Free Agent

Gronk isn’t simply among the best tight ends within the NFL heading into the 2022 season — he’s one of many best TEs of all time. His profession manufacturing is up there with Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, Jason Witten, and different legends on the place.

Gronkowski remains to be on the free agent market, however there’s little to no probability he indicators with any staff aside from the Buccaneers. Tom Brady may actually use him. With Chris Godwin more likely to start the season on the bodily unable to carry out checklist, Gronk would be a part of Russell Gage and Cameron Brate as choices over the center with Mike Evans on the perimeter.

A traditionally nice blocker for the tight end place, Gronkowski was solely requested to dam on 36.6% of his snaps, one of many lowest TE charges within the league. That’s doubtless as a result of the Bucs have been attempting to cut back his put on and tear. If he returns, Gronk will probably be a specialised weapon for Brady with an opportunity to earn his fifth Super Bowl ring.

7) Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles

After the Eagles traded Zach Ertz to the Cardinals in mid-October, Dallas Goedert grew to become Philadelphia’s major tight end for the primary time in his profession. He responded by placing up 56 catches for a career-high 830 yards and 4 touchdowns on a 79% snap fee.

Goedert has by no means acquired greater than 87 targets in a single season. While he may attain a brand new mark now that Ertz is gone, Goedert must cope with the addition of A.J. Brown, who is certain to take in seems for Jalen Hurts. And if the Eagles proceed to run the ball on the highest fee within the NFL, Goedert might be relegated to a blocking function.

But when given an opportunity, Goedert is an impressive pass-catching weapon. In 2021, he ranked first amongst tight ends in yards per route run and yards after the catch per reception (min. 50 targets). Signed to a four-year extension final November, Goedert will probably be a part of Philadelphia’s offensive assault for seasons to return.

8) Zach Ertz, Arizona Cardinals

Ertz slots in proper behind his former Eagles cohort. After getting dealt to Arizona, the 32-year-old skilled an uptick in manufacturing, recording 56 receptions, 574 yards, and three touchdowns over 11 video games within the desert.

Ertz’s career-high goal mark is 156, and whereas he most likely gained’t even attain that determine once more, he might be in for 130-140 seems in 2022. DeAndre Hopkins is suspended for the primary six video games of the season, Christian Kirk departed in free company, and it’s unclear if the Cardinals have discovered how one can use Rondale Moore. Second-round rookie TE Trey McBride may see time in 12 personnel, however he’ll need to get previous Maxx Williams simply to turn out to be Arizona’s No. 2 tight end.

Trade acquisition Marquise Brown will take over a major function within the offense, however Ertz will probably be Kyler Murray’s major goal over the center of the sector. Ertz isn’t going to interrupt many tackles or provide a lot after the catch. He’s on the stage of his profession the place he principally hauls within the ball and goes down. But as lengthy he can preserve discovering holes in opposing defenses, he’ll be efficient.

9) Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys

Even after the Cowboys drafted Dalton Schultz within the fourth spherical of the 2018 draft, it didn’t appear like he was set as much as be Dallas’ tight end of the long run. Blake Jarwin was way more concerned within the staff’s offense from 2018-19, and the previous undrafted free agent signed a three-year extension with the Cowboys in March 2020.

Unfortunately, Jarwin tore his ACL within the 2020 season opener, opening the door for Schultz to take over the beginning function. Schultz has capitalized with 141 receptions, 1,423 yards, and 12 touchdowns over the previous two years. Jarwin sadly suffered a doubtlessly career-ending hip harm in 2021 and is not with the Cowboys, so Schultz gained’t have any competitors for targets subsequent season.

With Amari Cooper gone and Michael Gallup recovering from an ACL tear, Schultz is poised for a profession yr. Assigned the franchise tag in March, Schultz could also be clever to carry off on a long-term settlement till after what ought to be a promising 2022 marketing campaign.

10) Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins

Mike Gesicki just isn’t your father’s tight end. He lined up inline on simply 7% of his performs, the bottom fee of any tight end within the NFL. Spending most of his time within the slot or out extensive, Gesick was requested to dam on solely 29% of his snaps, fifth-fewest amongst TEs.

It’s truly a little bit stunning Gesicki didn’t contest his franchise tag designation as a good end, particularly on condition that the extensive receiver tender was value roughly $7.5 million greater than the TE tag. Jimmy Graham made the identical case when he was franchised in 2014 and was within the means of interesting an arbitrator’s choice in opposition to him when he agreed to an extension with the Saints.

First-year Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel has instructed Gesicki will probably be used extra as a blocker in 2022. If Miami goes to be as run-heavy as McDaniel’s 49ers have been final season, Gesicki must get higher as a blocker. But after posting a career-high 73 catches and 780 yards in 2021, there doesn’t appear to be a lot purpose to alter his function.

Top NFL TEs in 2022 | 11-32

11) Hunter Henry, New England Patriots
12) Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills
13) T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions
14) Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers
15) Noah Fant, Seattle Seahawks
16) Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams
17) C.J. Uzomah, New York Jets
18) David Njoku, Cleveland Browns
19) Logan Thomas, Washington Commanders
20) Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Chargers
21) Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars
22) Hayden Hurst, Cincinnati Bengals
23) Albert Okwuegbunam, Denver Broncos
24) Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears
25) Tyler Conklin, New York Jets
26) Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
27) Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers
28) Jared Cook, Free Agent
29) Austin Hooper, Tennessee Titans
30) Irv Smith Jr., Minnesota Vikings
31) Harrison Bryant, Cleveland Browns
32) Jonnu Smith, New England Patriots

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