2019 NFL Draft: 5 Rookie Tight Ends You Need To Know

These are the 5 rookie tight ends you need to know ahead of the 2019 NFL Draft brought to you by the Fantasy Football expert Mark Morales-Smith!

2019 Rookies You Need To Know
Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers | Tight Ends

Noah Fant, Iowa

  • Height: 6’4:
  • Weight: 249 lbs
  • 40 time: 4.5
  • Projected Round: 1st
  • Compares to: Eric Ebron
  • Potential Landing Spots: DET, GB, OAK
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 1.12

Analysis: You can make the case that Fant is the most dangerous pure receiving tight end in this draft. However, he’s not nearly as well-rounded as fellow Hawkeye T.J. Hockenson. While athletic and dangerous up the seam his lack of versatility will likely limit his snaps as a rookie. All the upside is there but we have seen players like this hold huge bust potential or at the very least take a few years to make their mark. Look for Fant to have value in dynasty drafts but maybe not so much in redrafts. Where he lands will have a bigger impact on him than he’ll have on the team in 2019.

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T.J. Hockenson, Iowa

  • Height: 6’5″
  • Weight: 251 lbs
  • 40 time: 4.7
  • Projected Round: 1st
  • Compares to: Travis Kelce
  • Potential Landing Spots: JAX, GB, OAK
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 2.2

Analysis: Hockenson is being viewed as one of the top tight end prospects in recent years and rightfully so. He is an explosive pass-catcher with playmaking ability but also is a strong blocker. His ability to block and large draft investment should earn him plenty of snaps as a rookie. While very few rookie tight ends find success, he has a real shot at being one of the rare productive first-year producers. The biggest concern with him is his need to add some muscle on his frames. However, that’s not a glaring issue and shouldn’t cause significant concern. You may be looking at the next elite Fantasy tight end right up there with the best in the league in the near future.

Irv Smith Jr., Alabama

  • Height: 6’2″
  • Weight: 242 lbs
  • 40 time: 4.63
  • Projected Round: 2nd
  • Compares to: Charles Clay
  • Potential Landing Spots: BUF, DET, HOU
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 3.03

Analysis: Smith Jr will be drafted based on upside. However, to come close to meeting the potential a team will be looking to unleash he has plenty he needs to improve on. Granted he has talent and I like his versatility, but as a tight end, he needs to improve in all areas. Currently, he needs to put on muscle, learn how to block and run much crisper routes. In the right situation, if a team is smart, they may try to use him as an H-back. He blocks significantly better on the move in space and could cause problems as a pass catcher out of the backfield while still honing his craft as a true tight end.

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Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M

  • Height: 6’4″
  • Weight: 251 lbs
  • 40 time: 4.75
  • Projected Round: 3rd
  • Compares to: Hunter Henry
  • Potential Landing Spots: NE, DAL, BUF
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 3.11

Analysis: Sternberger will serve as a pure pass-catcher in the NFL but isn’t a lock to be a stud by any stretch. Blocking will be an issue. However, he may be the most nuanced receiver in the draft. If he had more size and athleticism, his skill set could be scary. He’s a willing blocker and outstanding route runner with the ability to win a fight for the ball. Unfortunately, he’s also undersized and not particularly fast. He lacks the upside of the top three tight ends in this draft but may be a bit safer than some. He would fit well with an accurate quarterback in two-TE systems.

Kaden Smith, Stanford

  • Height: 6’5″
  • Weight: 255 lbs
  • 40 time: 4.92
  • Projected Round: 4th
  • Compares to: Durham Smythe
  • Potential Landing Spots: CHI, DAL, NO
  • Projected Dynasty Pick: 5th+

Analysis: Fantasy owners do not need to invest heavily in Smith any time soon. He’s a tough kid who is willing to fight through the middle of the field and will rip balls down. With that being said, he appears to be little more than solid run-blocker and safety blanket option for a QB. I wouldn’t anticipate him being much more than a touchdown-reliant No. 2 tight end no matter where he lands. Look for him to be a guy who sticks around the league for years but never becomes a significant contributor.

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