Ranking the 10 best tight ends in the NFL in 2022: Travis Kelce leads a group of proven veterans and newcomers

The tight end position is one of the most underrated positions in football. They are called upon in some games to serve as an offensive lineman, then as a wide receiver in others. Sometimes they have to do both on the same piece. Tight ends who are qualified enough to play in the NFL are some of the most athletic players and some of the hardest workers in the league. This group of positions also includes some of the best personalities.

Below, we’ll break down our list of the top 10 tight ends coming into the 2022 season. There are several things we took into consideration when it came to forging this catalog: how the player performed at past seasons, basic stats such as receptions, yards and touchdowns, approximate Pro Football Reference value and an estimate of how well the player will move. forward. Let’s go.

Honorable mentions: Pat Freiermuth, Noah Fant, Hunter Henry, Dawson Knox

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Some will be surprised to see Ertz on this list, but he played well after being traded to the Arizona Cardinals – something not everyone expected. He finished the 2021 campaign ninth among all tight ends in receiving yards with 763, fourth in receptions with 74 and tied for ninth in receiving touchdowns with five. Pro Football Reference also gave Ertz an AV of eight, which was tied for fourth among all NFL tight ends last season. It was fun watching him catch eight balls for 88 yards and two touchdowns from Colt McCoy against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 11.

Ertz hasn’t exactly been dominant in rush blocking, but he averaged 52.2 receiving yards per game once he joined the Cardinals. Had he maintained that pace all year, he would have ranked eighth among tight ends in that category. Without DeAndre Hopkins for six weeks, Ertz should still see great opportunities in the passing game this coming season. He hasn’t finished yet.

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Schultz was probably the toughest player to rank on this list. With his career year in 2021, he’s gone from a sneaky fantasy football gamer to a legitimate top 10 in the NFL. Is the best yet to come? He’s only 25, so he might really be one of the best tight ends going forward.

Schultz was sixth among all tight ends with 808 receiving yards, third with 78 receptions and fifth in touchdowns with eight. Another reason Schultz is on this list is that he probably had the best overall blocking season of his career. Per PFF, he improved his pass blocking rating from 35.2 to 68.1 last season, and his run blocking rating from 65.4 to 69.9. The Dallas Cowboys view Schultz as an important facet of their offense going forward, which is why they’ve tagged him as a franchise this offseason.

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We were all set for a breakout season from Hockenson in 2022. He started hot, as the Detroit Lions tight end caught 16 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns in his first two games, but then decreased a bit. A hand injury landed him on the injured list in December.

Despite the campaign ending, Hockenson set a career high in yards per game with 48.6, which ranks him eighth among all tight ends and has a catch rate of 72.6%. He took a pretty big step back as a run blocker in 2021, according to PFF, but was still a reliable target that Jared Goff loved. Hockenson made the Pro Bowl in 2020, and maybe a career campaign is coming in 2022. His best football is ahead of him.

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Gesicki is an interesting player because he’s more of a slot weapon than a “real” tight end. He’s not known for his blocking, although new head coach Mike McDaniel said he’s been working hard to improve that aspect of his game. While Gesicki has caught just two touchdowns in 2021, he’s recorded a career-high 73 receptions, which ranked fifth among all tight ends, and a career-high 780 receiving yards, which ranked eighth among all tight ends.

Gesicki absolutely deserves a spot on this list because of his versatility and the fact that he’s racked up his receptions and yardage totals every season. Plus, he could really burst under McDaniel. The freshman main man has seen how George Kittle can affect an offense, so he likely has a big role in mind for his young TE1. Since entering the league in 2018, Gesicki has the eighth most receiving yards of any tight end.

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The jury is out on whether Jalen Hurts is a franchise quarterback, but he helped Goedert set career highs in catches and receiving yards in 2021. There are certainly better tight receptions than Goedert, but what makes him so good is that he’s a great blocker as well. The Philadelphia Eagles had the No. 1 offense in the NFL last year, and Goedert played a part in it. He is truly an underrated player, ranking fifth in tight ends in receiving yards last year, and was awarded the third highest AV.

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We ranked Pitts the No. 4 tight end in the NFL last year before he even made a snap, and he didn’t disappoint. The Florida product became the first rookie tight end to record 1,000 receiving yards in a season since Mike Ditka in 1961, and Pitts also beat Julio Jones’ Atlanta Falcons. rookie receiving record. Pitts was third among all tight ends in receiving yards and led all players at his position who recorded at least three catches in receiving yards with 15.09. He’s already one of the best receivers in his position, but he’s not an elite run blocker. Still, he rated higher than four other tight ends on this list with a rating of 55.6, by PFF.

Pitts isn’t your standard tight end, but his versatility is what makes him special. Marcus Mariota or Desmond Ridder will have the opportunity to grow alongside him, as Arthur Smith will surely plan a match around his special weapon in the future.

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Waller missed six games with injury last season but still ranked 11th in receiving yards among all tight ends. In terms of yards received per game, Waller ranked fifth with 60.5. Besides his athleticism and versatility, Waller is one of the few tight ends in the league who can serve as the center point of an offense. In last year’s season opener, he caught 10 of 19 targets for 105 yards and a touchdown in an overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens. This performance led Jon Gruden to double Waller the best player he ever coached.

The future is bright for the 29-year-old as Waller has a new head coach in Josh McDaniels who has experience planning games around star tight ends. He also now has Davante Adams to work with, and his agent is working on a new business to make it even richer. Waller is expected to return to 1,000 yards in 2022.

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You could argue that Andrews deserves to be No. 1 on this list if we were just going from last season. Although he hasn’t had Lamar Jackson for about a quarter of a year, Andrews has had an incredible campaign. He set career highs in receptions and receiving yards and came within one touchdown of tying his career-high 10. Overall, Andrews led all tight ends in receptions and receiving yards, and was tied for most touchdowns. His first-team All-Pro selection was well-deserved.

Andrews staring at the Ravens franchise record for most receiving yards in a single season last year is basically why the team isn’t worried about its rather green receiving corps.

2. George Kittle

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What you have to love about Kittle is that he finds joy in all facets of football. He’s happy to stretch the defense as a receiver and just as willing to bury would-be tacklers as he is a blocker for San Francisco 49ers running backs. Kittle rebounded from an injury-riddled 2020 campaign, catching a career-high six touchdowns in 14 games played and finishing fourth among players in his position with 65 receiving yards per game. He was fourth among all tight ends in receiving yards, sixth in receptions and tied for seventh in receiving touchdowns. Kittle is one of the best players in the NFL, and he could play an important role in the future as Trey Lance’s versatile yet explosive safety cover.

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Kelce is once again our No. 1 tight end in the NFL. Turning 33 in October, Kelce has shown no signs of slowing down. Granted, he’s not a cleat blocker, but last year marked Kelce’s sixth straight 1,000-yard campaign — a tight NFL record he continues to build on — and he earned his third first-team All-Pro selection and seventh in a row. Pro Bowl offer. In 2021, he was second among all tight ends in receiving yards and receptions, and tied for the lead in touchdowns.

Kelce is simply an elite tight end, and he could have even more responsibility in the passing game this year with the loss of Tyreek Hill.

About Jessica J. Bass

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