It may not seem like a glamourous position, as tight end is still viewed by many as a job that is as much about being an offensive lineman as it is a wide receiver. But that’s a notion that is quickly changing, becoming more and more outdated with each passing season.
Across the NFL, tight ends are a major part of aerial attacks. And their role isn’t just as a possession receiver trying to move the chains; throughout the league, they are turning into players who can help stretch the field.
It’s the evolution of the position, from Mike Ditka to Kellen Winslow to Shannon Sharpe to Tony Gonzalez to Jimmy Graham. Tight ends have gone from blockers to pass catchers to glorified wide receivers.
As a result, every team wants someone who can be dynamic in this position; they’re looking for a game changer. While they are hard to come by, they can be found; and the draft is a good place to start looking.
Who is on the board this year that can help a team? Here are the top 10 tight ends in the 2014 NFL Draft:
10. Arthur Lynch (Georgia)
Lynch is a bit of a throwback at the tight end position. He’s much more of a blocker than he is a pass catcher. While that may not be glamorous, or en vogue, it’s certainly something Lynch does well. He’s very effective at run blocking, something that will be attractive to certain NFL coaches and will fit nicely with some schemes. In the passing game, Lynch has shown flashes. He has good hands and a big body, making him a move-the-chains type.
9. Jacob Pedersen (Wisconsin)
Pedersen is another player who comes from a program that is more run-first than pass-happy, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t get his chance to catch the football; it just means he’s a very well-rounded tight end. Last season, Pedersen caught a career-high 39 passes for 551 yards; that’s a 14.13 yards per catch average that is well beyond a dink-and-dunk type of tight end. He can stretch the field a bit, which makes him a dual threat.