Last offseason, 5-time pro bowl tight end Jimmy Graham left Seattle for Green Bay. The Seahawks response was to select Will Dissly, a tight end out of Washington, in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Dissly was known for his blocking, but began to make a name for himself as a receiving threat early in his rookie season. Unfortunately for Dissly, he would suffer a patellar tendon injury in the fourth game of the year.
While Dissly showed more receiving potential than initially anticipated, the Seahawks lacked a sense of size and length among their pass catchers. They have multiple needs to fill entering the NFL Draft, but one of them is unquestionably a tight end with strong athleticism.
While Seattle has pick 21, they’ll likely look to the EDGE spot or offensive line in the first-round. Their three other selections are picks 85, 125 and 160. With one of those selections in the third to fifth round is where they’ll likely look to draft a tight end. Luckily for them, this upcoming class offers some intriguing options in the mid-to-late rounds.
1. Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M
Sternberger’s collegiate career was a bit of a roller coaster ride. After failing to get on the field at Kansas, he transferred to SEC power Texas A&M. In his lone season with the Aggies, Sternberger finished as a 1st Team All-American (Associated Press). He showed dominance up the seam, averaging over 17 yards per reception and finishing with 10 touchdowns.
While he tested as just an average athlete for the position, Sternberger has excellent body control and soft hands.
2018: 48 receptions, 832 yards, 17.3 yards per reception, 10 touchdowns
2. Josh Oliver, San Jose State
Oliver always showed potential throughout his time at San Jose State, but put everything together as a senior. Oliver was heavily used in the pass game at all levels of the field, but I like his ability after the catch and to adjust to off-target throws.
Oliver (4.63s forty-yard dash) projects as a TE2 with receiving upside, as he’s a bit limited as an in-line blocker. He would make a natural pair with Dissly, as the two have different skill sets at the same position.
2018: 56 receptions, 709 yards, 12.7 yards per reception, 4 touchdowns
3. Kahale Warring, San Diego State
Kahale Warring (6’5, 252 pounds) is still relatively new to football and playing the tight end position, so his raw skill set will be a bit of a projection to the next level. Despite that, he’s a dynamic athlete who has showed enough traits to bet on come Day 3 of the NFL Draft.
Warring has excellent size mixed with leaping ability and quickness (36.5” vertical, 122” broad jump). He’s a well-rounded athlete who has the ceiling of a future TE1.
2018: 31 receptions, 372 yards, 12.0 yards per reception, 3 touchdowns
4. Foster Moreau, LSU
Moreau (6’4, 253 pounds) had limited production in the inconsistent LSU offense, but offered up some positive traits on film. His effort always shows up, as does his blocking. At the Senior Bowl, he made his mark with his high motor.
It took the all-star game circuit to show Moreau’s upside as a receiver, and the NFL Combine to show that he’s an excellent athlete for the tight end position (4.66s forty-yard dash, 4.11s short shuttle). This all points to him being a more productive player in the NFL than the college game.
2018: 22 receptions, 272 yards, 12.4 yards per reception, 2 touchdowns
5. Alize Mack, Notre Dame
Alize Mack was once a highly regarded recruit, and had a disappointing collegiate career until 2018. Finally, he was able to put together a full season of productive play.
Mack is another solid athlete for the position (4.70s forty-yard dash, 36” vertical, 120” broad jump), but he makes his mark as a high-point machine. While he’s a better blocker in space or at the H-back spot, he’s fluid, strong and a matchup problem for defenses.
2018: 36 receptions, 360 yards, 10.0 yards per reception, 3 touchdowns