With just about a month until the first game of the college football season, the NFL Draft Bible team has been putting the final touches on our positional devy rankings. We will have weekly updates throughout the season, helping to prepare you for your devy and C2C leagues. Some of these may come as a surprise, but our rankings are a consensus of some of the best minds in the industry.
In this article, we will discuss our top ten tight ends going into the 2021 season.
10.) Thomas Fidone, Nebraska, 2024
A four-star recruit out of Council Bluffs, Iowa, Thomas Fidone profiles as a steady, reliable pass catcher for the Cornhuskers. He has the frame that will allow him to become an every-down player if he can improve his blocking. The pass-catching chops are there for Fidone, and he can find himself moving up the rankings early on in the 2021 season.
9.) Baylor Cupp, Texas A&M, 2022
Injuries have derailed Baylor Cupp’s productivity thus far in his collegiate career, but this is still a supremely talented player. Once the number one tight-end recruit in the country, Cupp is an explosive athlete who has the build and athletic profile teams are sure to covet at the next level. If he can stay healthy, Cupp has a real chance to show that he can be a difference-maker at the tight end position.
8.) Jeremy Ruckert, Ohio State, 2022
After scoring five touchdowns in five games in the 2020 season, Ruckert has shown he is a reliable red-zone weapon already. Ohio State boasts an incredible amount of talent at the wide receiver position, so it’s fair to wonder what Ruckert’s production could be if given more opportunity. He has excellent hands and ideal size. Even though he’s not the most explosive athlete, he profiles as a tight end NFL teams would love to have.
7.) Theo Johnson, Penn State, 2023
With Pat Freiermuth now playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Theo Johnson will have every chance to become a significant weapon for the Nittany Lions. Though he will need to improve his blocking to develop into a true three-down tight end, Johnson is the type of athlete that can be a massive mismatch up the seam against linebackers and safeties.
6.) Charlie Kolar, Iowa State, 2022
Even though he may not be the most exciting athlete on this list, there are enough things Charlie Kolar does excellently that can provide him with fantasy relevance. He will never be mistaken for the most explosive athlete or the fastest player on the field, but he can be a significant weapon in the red zone for a professional team. He boasts a huge catch radius and excels at using his frame to box out defenders in contested catch situations. He has more production than most of the players ranked behind him and could see himself move even higher in 2021 if that production trend continues.
5.) Jahleel Billingsley, Alabama, 2022
The Crimson Tide have had an incredible run of wide receiver talent come through their doors over the last few years, and that has led to Jahleel Billingsley not being talked about nationally the way he would elsewhere. Thanks to his speed and acceleration, he has top-end athleticism and is a threat both before and after the catch. He’s not the throwback-style tight end that will punish you as a blocker, but from a fantasy perspective, Billingsley has all of the traits to be an effective pass-catching weapon.
4.) Gee Scott Jr., Ohio State, 2023
Though his teammate Jeremy Ruckert will likely receive most of the production during the 2021 season for the Buckeyes, Gee Scott Jr. is an incredibly intriguing talent that recently converted to the tight end position. During his recruiting cycle, he was a four-star recruit and was the country’s number 12 ranked wide receiver. His senior season in high school was downright dominant, with almost 1,500 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns. His high school tape showcases refined route running and excellent hands, and if the transition goes smoothly, he could be a massive weapon at tight end.
3.) Jalen Wydermyer, Texas A&M, 2022
There is not a lot to complain about to date in Jalen Wydermyer’s college campaign. He topped 400 receiving yards as a freshman and recorded 506 yards and six touchdowns in just ten games as a sophomore. His size (6’5”, 255 pounds) and athleticism make him one of the most intriguing tight end prospects eligible for the 2022 NFL Draft. He was a member of the 2019 SEC All-Freshman Team and named to the 2020 All-SEC Second Team. If he continues to build off his college career to date, it is reasonable for him to find himself becoming the first tight end selected in the 2022 NFL Draft.
2.) Arik Gilbert, Georgia, 2023
After recording 368 receiving yards in his freshman season with LSU, Arik Gilbert opted to transfer to the University of Georgia. A former five-star recruit out of Marietta, Georgia, 247Sports listed Arik Gilbert as the best tight-end prospect they’ve seen since OJ Howard. Despite a strange offseason that saw him nearly end up with the Florida Gators, Gilbert should make an immediate impact for the University of Georgia and will undoubtedly be one of the most sought-after players at his position.
1.) Michael Mayer, Notre Dame, 2023
It’s difficult not to be excited about Michael Mayer after an awe-inspiring freshman season. As a freshman, Mayer totaled 450 receiving yards and found the endzone twice. It’s fair to project him racking up plenty more receiving touchdowns over the next two seasons. The sky is truly the limit for a player of Mayer’s caliber who likely won’t find himself falling outside of the top two devy tight ends any time in the foreseeable future.