1. Adam Trautman - Saints - Age: 23
The theme from most fantasy analysts for this class of tight ends is, “It’s boring. It’s weak, etc...”
Welcome to the reality of the tight end position.
There’s a guy or two with promise, a guy who shouldn’t flame out that does, and a guy who marinades as a backup and has a semi-decent season on another team five years from now. It’s always a mixed bag and even if they’re great, you’ll have to wait a season or two before it comes to full fruition.
Trautman is the latter. He’s arguably the TE4 on this roster behind Jared Cook, Josh Hill and Taysom Hill. Considering Cook scored nine TDs last year, this position can and should produce in Sean Payton’s offense. Trautman is a small-school product out of Dayton and he’s a gamer. He’s not polished at all, but he uses his body well to make adjustments to the ball. He’s also a huge target and will be a problem in the red zone for opponents. Stash him and wait for him to get his turn.
2. Cole Kmet - Bears - Age: 21
The best TE prospect in this class is drafted to a team with a TE position that is a “no man’s land.” I do really like his all-around game and you could also argue since there’s so much dysfunction in Chicago’s offense that an actually talented player should flourish.
Notre Dame, his alma mater, has put a number of tight ends into the league in recent years (Tyler Eifert, Kyle Rudolph and John Carlson to name a few). There’s a lot to like with Kmet, who’s a big man with a fluid style of play. He can absorb and brush off tacklers, as well as get north and south quickly once securing the ball; almost like he’s running downhill. If he landed on basically any other team, I’d have him as my top TE, so you might be able to grab him on a discount if enough leaguemates dislike the landing spot.
3. Devin Asiasi - Patriots - Age: 22
Asiasi shows really great athleticism. The key to any good tight end is smooth movement and body control. Given their size, they’re rarely going to be speed demons so you need a player who can get in and out of breaks, find creases, occupy open spots in zone coverage etc. Asiasi has that in spades and shows a real “want-to” as a blocker. A short path to playing time gets him above a couple players who are better on paper.
4. Albert Okwuegbunam - Broncos - Age: 22
“Albert O” would be No. 3 on my list, but sticking him behind Noah Fant is a serious problem for his path to playing time.
Even if the Broncos want to play big and use a lot of two-TE sets, I’m not sure there’s a lot of upside here. While he has promise on offense, there’s a lot of technique needed here and he’ll have to adapt to playing with one hand on the turf pre-snap since Missouri often used him as an oversized receiver and playmaker.
5. Harrison Bryant - Browns - Age: 22
Another example of a team’s depth chart needing to thin out because he would be higher here with a better situation. I don’t love his hands but he shows up well on a route tree. Bryant is a great athleticism guy who moves well in space and shows something after the catch. He is going to need a lot of work as a blocker as he is a touch undersized for the position. He’ll also need to bulk up, especially in his lower half. I do think he’ll challenge David Njoku, who’s likely on his way out with a new coaching staff in town. Plus, the Browns added Austin Hooper to be the starter. Bryant will have to wait his turn so I can’t advise him being thought of any higher on this list.
6. Josiah Deguara - Packers - Age: 23
7. Brycen Hopkins - Rams - Age: 23
8. Hunter Bryant - Lions - Age: 21
9. Thaddeus Moss - Redskins - Age: 22
10. Dalton Keene - Patriots - Age: 21
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