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  • The NFL is losing Rob Gronkowski, but the incoming crop of tight ends includes plenty of intriguing talents.
By The MMQB Staff
April 18, 2019

1. T.J. Hockenson, Iowa (Overall Rank: 7)
Height: 6' 434" | Weight: 251 pounds
An athletic tight end who also blocks people? It’s true! Hockenson has a blend of athleticism and physicality rarely seen in collegiate tight ends. He’s going to be a plus in the run game, and he’s a pass-catching threat too, a fluid mover with the ability to create separation and tough to bring down with the ball in his hands.

2. Irv Smith Jr. Alabama (Overall Rank: 30)
Height: 6' 238" | Weight: 242 pounds
The son of the former Saints first-round tight end of the same name, Smith has the speed to threaten up the seam and make plays running after the catch, and enough strength to play in-line and hold his own as a run blocker. He needs to become a little more nuanced as a receiver, as he made plays on contested catches but didn’t create a lot of separation against collegiate defenders. Still, his well-rounded game gives him a good chance to become a quality starter.

3. Noah Fant, Iowa (Overall Rank: 35)
Height: 6' 418" | Weight: 249 pounds
Fant is more of a super-sized wide receiver, occasionally (but not often) showing up as a run-blocker but consistently threatening as a receiving option. He’s a bit raw and needs to play with more physicality at the catch point, but his speed allows him to run away from defenders on crossers and vertical routes, and he’s a threat to pick up chunks after the catch.

4. Dawson Knox, Ole Miss (Overall Rank: 47)
Height: 6' 438" | Weight: 254 pounds
A high school quarterback who moved to tight end at Ole Miss, Knox had limited statistical production for the Rebels (39 catches, 0 TDs over the past two seasons), but it’s easy to see why he’s more highly regarded than his stats would suggest. He’s a field-stretching threat with the athleticism to create mismatches. He showed the ability to track the ball and snatch it away from his frame when he got opportunities. Lining up in an offense with three draftable receivers (D.K. Metcalf, A.J. Brown and DaMarkus Lodge) suppressed his opportunities more than anything.

5. Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M (Overall Rank: 76)
Height: 6' 4" | Weight: 251 pounds
Sternberger is a savvy route runner with natural hands, making up for a lack of elite athleticism. He’ll give effort as a blocker, but probably fits as more of an H-back/flex option rather than an in-line tight end. He has a chance to emerge as a quality second or third option in the passing game.

6. Josh Oliver, San Jose State (Overall Rank: 95)
Height: 6' 458" | Weight: 249 pounds
More supersized receiver than classic tight end, Oliver has the kind of size, fluid athleticism and ball skills to be a chess piece at the next level. He has the speed to get up the seam and is competitive and violent with the ball in his hands. He’ll need to get better catching in traffic and provides little value as a blocker, but he’s a potential matchup problem on a part-time basis.

7. Kahale Warring, San Diego State (Overall Rank: 112)
Height: 6' 518" | Weight: 252 pounds
A one-time walk-on at SDSU after picking up the sport late, Warring is a pure athlete who’s becoming more of a football player. His quickness, speed and body control, as well as his competitiveness, stand out, and he’ll put in the effort as a blocker. He might not have a big impact in 2019, but he has the potential to develop into a well-rounded starter.

8. Isaac Nauta, Georgia (Overall Rank: 122)
Height: 6' 314" | Weight: 244 pounds
A move tight end who does a solid job blocking and shows a knack for leveraging defenders and creating separation as a receiver, Nauta should stick in the NFL for a long time. The question is, as a middling athlete, what kind of upside he has.

9. Alize Mack, Notre Dame (Overall Rank: 147)
Height: 6' 4" | Weight: 249 pounds
He has size and the straightline speed to stretch the middle of the field, but Mack lacks a physical edge to his game as a blocker and as a run-after-catch threat. He’ll appeal as a No. 2 tight end to teams looking for a chess piece in a vertical passing game.

10. Kaden Smith, Stanford (Overall Rank: 159)
Height: 6' 5" | Weight: 255 pounds
The latest product from the Stanford tight end pipeline, Smith can mix it up as a blocker and does a nice job getting off the line of scrimmage and uncovering on shorter routes. He’s not a big-play threat but can do a little damage in the red zone.

11. Drew Sample, Washington (Overall Rank: 179)
12. Tommy Sweeney, Boston College (Overall Rank: 182)
13. Caleb Wilson, UCLA (Overall Rank: 207)
14. Donald Parham, Stetson (Overall Rank: 208)
15. Foster Moreau, LSU (Overall Rank: 231)
16. Trevon Wesco, West Virginia (Overall Rank: 252)
17. Keenen Brown, Texas State (Overall Rank: 271)
18. Dax Raymond, Utah State (Overall Rank: 279)
19. Zach Gentry, Michigan (Overall Rank: 302)
20. Kendall Blanton, Missouri (Overall Rank: 329)
21. Isaiah Searight, Fordham (Overall Rank: 337)
22. C.J. Conrad, Kentucky (Overall Rank: 341)
23. C'yontai Lewis, Florida (Overall Rank: 368)
24. David Lucero, UTEP (Overall Rank: 390)
25. Tyler Petite, USC (Overall Rank: 392)

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