Scout's Eye: NFC East Is Loaded With Top-Notch Playmakers At Tight End

jordan-reed.jpg

(Plays vs. Dallas on Oct. 29 & at Dallas on Nov. 30)

  • Big body player that is a combination of speed and quickness with receiver-like hands. As a route runner he is able to separate at all levels down the field. Knows how to get open. Finds space right off the snap. There is some separation to his game but when covered he can make the contested catch. 
  • Not afraid to take his route across the field or play in traffic. Will extend his hands to catch the ball. Will make the defender have to go through him to try and defend him.
  • It might not be his favorite thing, but he will be used as an "H" back and is asked to block inside. Better when he can work along the line trying to tie his man up. Athletic enough to stay on his feet and take the defender whichever direction he'd like to go. Not going to get a ton of movement at the point of attack – more pass receiver than run blocker.
  • If not managed correctly he has the ability to make those plays that keep the chains moving.  A versatile alignment player that coaches can use as a match-up advantage. Have to game plan for him each week due to his ability to line up at so many different spots.
  • Is capable of multiple touchdown receptions in a game – has done it throughout his career.

#1. Travis Kelce 

Kansas City Chiefs (6-5, 255)  4th Year

travis-kelce.jpg

(Plays at Dallas on Nov. 5)

  • Used as a flex player in formations. You will see him line up in the slot and out wide. One of the most athletic players in the league regardless of position. Can see it in the way that he moves in his routes and as a blocker. This is a mismatch player.
  • You have to try and defend him with size but that doesn't always work due to that athletic ability. Teams have tried to defend him with corners and that doesn't work, either. Smooth player. Outstanding playing and foot speed. Shows initial quickness off the snap and up the field. Plays with acceleration and a burst. Can separate in a hurry. Is a vertical player. Can get up the field in a hurry.
  • Plays with some lower body flex, not a stiff moving player at all. Uses athletic ability as a blocker. He gets in the way more than he drives defenders off the ball. Likes to position and steer. Will work to move his feet to finish. Good body control and balance.
  • Quick with his hands. Gets them in position to make the catch. Natural, soft hands. Can make the contested play when covered. Good concentration. Has the ability to score from any position on the field. Tremendous red zone player. Finisher.

More Positions:


FRISCO, Texas –  It's funny to think that the younger generation of tight ends in the NFL don't just respect Jason Witten as a peer – they grew up watching him hone his craft.

Witten is entering his 15th season in the NFL, while some of the tight ends on this ranking are just starting their careers. Others have had time to improve their skills during decorated careers. But it all amounts to the same thing – the Cowboys will be facing a slew of elite tight end prospects on their 2017 schedule.

Interestingly enough, three of the five tight ends on this ranking play in the NFC East. So when you add Witten to the mix, you've got quite a collection of talent in this division. Here's the full ranking, starting with a new name you should get familiar with:

#5. Evan Engram  

New York Giants  (6-3, 233)  Rookie

evan-engram.jpg

(Plays at Dallas on Sept. 10 & vs. Dallas on Dec. 10)

  • I haven't listed many rookies in these breakdowns, but Evan Engram is worth a mention especially when it comes to tight ends.
  • Was not known in college as a strong blocker but his effort was good. Really lacks true sustain. He's a catch and steer blocker, doesn't get much movement – but he can block on the move. Doesn't fire off the ball. Tries to get his hands inside and hold his man in place. Did not do much inline blocking at all, was mainly used on the edge off the wing. 
  • Was an outstanding route runner at Ole Miss. Played in a flexed position. Used mainly as a big receiver. Does a really nice job of catching the ball in his hands. Can adjust to the ball. High or low. Knows how to find space. Can fake to get open. Elusive in the way that he plays. Will work the middle of the field and not worry about taking the hit.
  • Will make the contested catch. Sideline aware. Good concentration. Will track the ball. Will go get the ball. Good on the screen. Keeps balance. Able to adjust in space. Good ball reactions. Had a deal with a quarterback that threw it all over the place. Showed quick hands. Play maker with the ball in his hands. Can make things happen.  

#4. Jimmy Graham

Seattle Seahawks  (6-6, 259)  7th Year

jimmy-graham.jpg

(Plays at Dallas on Dec. 24)

  • Outstanding physical traits for the position. Is used mainly in a flex position or outside wide but there will be a snap or two where he lines up inline.
  • Has developed as a blocker while in Seattle. Does a much better job of sticking his nose in the action and trying to finish the block. Plays with better sustain. You will see the coaching staff use him at times as an extra pass protector in certain packages and he is able to hold his own. Plays with initial quickness off the snap. 
  • Big target over the middle of the field. Does a nice job of getting his numbers square to Russell Wilson. Has a burst up the field. Can track the ball when it's over his head. Soft hands. Catches easily in them. Best catching the ball when he's on the move. Knows how to find space to get open. Can be deadly when he delays off the ball then gets into the route.
  • Big-time run after catch. Can make tacklers miss in the open field. Red zone weapon. Can pull off the one-handed catch. Concentration is outstanding. Will make contested plays.
  • Amazing athlete ability for a player so tall. Big man that knows how to work in very tight spaces. Size presents problems in coverage. 

#3. Zach Ertz  

Philadelphia Eagles  (6-5, 249)  4th Year

zach-ertz.jpg

(Plays at Dallas on Nov. 19 & vs. Dallas on Dec. 31)

  • A sure-handed catcher who runs fluid routes. Plays like a big receiver. Can make the tough catches in traffic. Will make his share of contested catches. Comes up with balls that you thought he had no chances of.
  • Does a really nice job of tracking the ball. Can pluck the ball at the high point and make the catch. Hard guy to defend with his athletic ability. Can win those matchups where he has to go one-on-one. Has deceptive speed and can fool the defender with it.
  • Plays with initial quickness off the line. He is a hard guy to knock off his route. Does a nice job of fighting off the line. Plays with vertical separation. Shows body control and balance. Good in the hips. Can bend. Not a stiff route runner. Plays with lateral agility and ability. Some of his best routes are when he can work across the field. He will go all over the field to catch the ball. Has the courage to work inside and take the hit.
  • Highly intelligent player. Knows how to work himself open and find space for his quarterback. Wore the Cowboys out in the final game of the season running routes against zone coverage.
  • He is a get in the way blocker. Not going to drive his man off the line but works hard to try and sustain. Has had some really nice matchups the last two seasons against Byron Jones.

#2. Jordan Reed  

Washington Redskins  (6-2, 236) 4th Year

jordan-reed.jpg

(Plays vs. Dallas on Oct. 29 & at Dallas on Nov. 30)

  • Big body player that is a combination of speed and quickness with receiver-like hands. As a route runner he is able to separate at all levels down the field. Knows how to get open. Finds space right off the snap. There is some separation to his game but when covered he can make the contested catch. 
  • Not afraid to take his route across the field or play in traffic. Will extend his hands to catch the ball. Will make the defender have to go through him to try and defend him.
  • It might not be his favorite thing, but he will be used as an "H" back and is asked to block inside. Better when he can work along the line trying to tie his man up. Athletic enough to stay on his feet and take the defender whichever direction he'd like to go. Not going to get a ton of movement at the point of attack – more pass receiver than run blocker.
  • If not managed correctly he has the ability to make those plays that keep the chains moving.  A versatile alignment player that coaches can use as a match-up advantage. Have to game plan for him each week due to his ability to line up at so many different spots.
  • Is capable of multiple touchdown receptions in a game – has done it throughout his career.

#1. Travis Kelce 

Kansas City Chiefs (6-5, 255)  4th Year

travis-kelce.jpg

(Plays at Dallas on Nov. 5)

  • Used as a flex player in formations. You will see him line up in the slot and out wide. One of the most athletic players in the league regardless of position. Can see it in the way that he moves in his routes and as a blocker. This is a mismatch player.
  • You have to try and defend him with size but that doesn't always work due to that athletic ability. Teams have tried to defend him with corners and that doesn't work, either. Smooth player. Outstanding playing and foot speed. Shows initial quickness off the snap and up the field. Plays with acceleration and a burst. Can separate in a hurry. Is a vertical player. Can get up the field in a hurry.
  • Plays with some lower body flex, not a stiff moving player at all. Uses athletic ability as a blocker. He gets in the way more than he drives defenders off the ball. Likes to position and steer. Will work to move his feet to finish. Good body control and balance.
  • Quick with his hands. Gets them in position to make the catch. Natural, soft hands. Can make the contested play when covered. Good concentration. Has the ability to score from any position on the field. Tremendous red zone player. Finisher.

More Positions:


This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Advertising