Football

Top 10 in 2021: Best Available Tight Ends

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The tight end position is one of the most versatile offensive positions. Players are tasked with being major pieces in both the run game and passing attack as both blockers and receivers. With as many roles as these players take on, they are incredibly important to a strong offense. Here are the top 10 available tight ends in 2021.

Notable Snubs

  • Mo Alie-Cox, Indianapolis Colts
  • Tyler Eifert, Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Jordan Reed, San Francisco 49ers

These available tight ends don’t make the cut for individual reasons. Mo Alie-Cox is still in his prime years but wasn’t much of an impact player with the Indianapolis Colts last season. The Colts have a new starting quarterback and will likely look to upgrade some of his weapons this summer. Both Tyler Eifert and Jordan Reed have dealt with injuries their entire careers, and their skill sets have diminished because of them.

Top 10 Available Tight Ends in 2021

10| Brevin Jordan| Miami (FL)

The 2021 NFL Draft isn’t exceptionally deep at the tight end position. There are three draft available tight ends that stand out from the rest of the pack. My lowest grade goes to Brevin Jordan, out of Miami.

While he isn’t a liability as a blocker, Jordan is best utilized as a target, and the name of his game is yards after the catch. He is extremely athletic for his size and has a toolbox many wide receivers would be jealous of. Jordan will excel if he grows into a more consistent pass catcher as he already has the ability to make a difference with the ball in his hands.

9| Pat Freiermuth| Penn State

The second of the draft available tight ends is Penn State standout, Pat Freiermuth. Freiermuth missed a large portion of the 2020 season with an injury that required surgery. However, he looks to be ready to leap to the NFL.

The most notable trait that Freiermuth brings to the table is his grit. He’s a mauling blocker with the size and strength to hold up against powerful edge rushers. Even though Freiermuth may be the bully of this year’s class, he’s no slouch with the ball going his way. He’s an intelligent route runner and an efficient target in short to medium-distance throws.

8| Kyle Pitts| Florida

Kyle Pitts is undoubtedly my favorite of the available tight ends in the draft this spring. He is a dominant presence due to both his sheer size and incredible athletic ability. He can line up just about anywhere on the offense and be a huge problem for opposing defenses.

For Pitts, the numbers do his performance justice. He had 43 receptions for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns in just eight games. Pitts is projected to go top 10 in the draft for a reason.

7| Gerald Everett| Los Angeles Rams

The first free agent among the available tight ends is Gerald Everett. Everett is coming off of his rookie contract with the Los Angeles Rams and had his most productive season to date.

Everett, known for his two-way play and athletic ability, split time with Tyler Higbee, but still was impactful for the Rams. Everett caught 66% of the balls thrown his way for a total of 417 yards. He wasn’t used much as a red-zone target though, only catching one touchdown in 16 games.

6| Dan Arnold| Arizona Cardinals

After entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2017, Dan Arnold‘s 2020 season should put him among the more sought-after available tight ends. As a player entering his prime years, his jump in production is hopefully a sign of things to come.

Arnold had his most productive year to date in 2020. While his ball security was a sore spot, losing two fumbles, Arnold proved to be a solid option for Kyler Murray. He caught nearly 70% of balls thrown towards him and had four receiving touchdowns on the year.

5| Jared Cook| New Orleans Saints

Jared Cook is the most senior of these available tight ends, but he still looks like he has a ton in the tank. The 12-year NFL veteran may be on the move after two years in New Orleans Saints due to the lowered salary cap.

Available Tight Ends
ATLANTA, GEORGIA – DECEMBER 06: Jared Cook #87 of the New Orleans Saints reacts after the second-quarter touchdown reception against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 06, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

At this point, Cook is a known variable. Teams can count on him to be a solid receiving option on deep and intermediate routes. In 2020, Cook caught seven touchdowns and over 500 yards for a fourth straight season.

4| Jonnu Smith| Tennessee Titans

Jonnu Smith is one of my favorite available tight ends this offseason. He’s just now reaching his prime, he’s incredibly athletic, and, he’s particularly versatile as both a blocker and receiver. With the recent signing to the New England Patriots, Smith’s potential for success skyrockets.

Last year was Smith’s best, getting him set up nicely for a large contract. With the Tennessee Titans, Smith was a huge part of their strong offense. He set up long runs for Derrick Henry, one of the best running backs in the game, and was a prime red-zone target for Ryan Tannehill, hauling in eight touchdowns.

3| Rob Gronkowski| Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tom Brady‘s best bud isn’t really one of the available tight ends, since all signs point to Rob Gronkowski re-joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for another trophy run. That said, he is still an unrestricted free agent, so here he is on the list.

After a slow start to the season, Gronk picked up his game massively. He was a key contributor to the Buccaneers’ Superbowl run and doesn’t look like he’s slowing down anytime soon.

2| Robert Tonyan| Green Bay Packers

The man nicknamed Big Bob Tonyan, Robert Tonyan is much like Gronkowski in that he likely isn’t going anywhere. He’s one of the better available tight ends in the class, as he fits into Matt LaFleur’s system to a T. He’s a restricted free agent this offseason.

Last season was a huge year for Tonyan. He and quarterback Aaron Rodgers had quite the connection. Tonyan caught for nearly 600 yards and had 11 scores. Expect him to be on the Green Bay Packers next season.

1| Hunter Henry| Los Angeles Chargers

Hunter Henry is the most valuable of the available tight ends this summer. The former second-round draft selection had another strong season with the Los Angeles Chargers on his franchise tag.

Henry caught nearly 65% of the balls thrown his way and compiled 600+ yards for a second straight season. Additionally, he improved on his ball security and became a solid safety blanket for rookie quarterback Justin Herbert. Henry should be in line for a hefty payday.

Thanks for reading my top 10 available tight ends in the 2021 NFL offseason! Follow me on Twitter @kinggeorge94 for more NFL news and notes and follow @OT_Heroics for all things sports!

Main Image Credit

Available Tight Ends
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – JANUARY 11: Jonnu Smith #81 of the Tennessee Titans catches a touchdown over Brandon Carr #39 of the Baltimore Ravens in the first quarter of the AFC Divisional Playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 11, 2020, in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)

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