The tight end position has progressed unlike any other in football over the last few decades. The precedent of NFL general managers inserting impact in-line weapons has become an overbearing headline each and every offseason for teams lacking at the tight end position. With the rapid development of players entering the NFL bigger, faster, and stronger than ever, the necessary scouting involved with selecting the ideal prospect with projectability both as an impact player in the run game and through the air has become a game-changing asset to offenses around the NFL.
With an exciting pool of players scattered across the NFL post-draft, here is a look into a few flex weapons I expect to thrive in year one.
Dalton Kincaid (Buffalo Bills)
There are fluid route-runners in this class, but Kincaid may hold the top spot. Drops will never be a concern, nor will effort, as Kincaid’s motor constantly runs hot when peppered with targets within an offensive series. He’s extremely comfortable within tight confines, showcased the ability to snatch balls out of the air with soft hands, and can stretch a defense down the seam if needed. His 23 catches of 15 or more yards led all Power-5 tight ends and he will immediately become a popular weapon for Josh Allen.
Sam LaPorta (Detroit Lions)
His success as a Hawkeye was underwhelming—but consider the lack of talent on offense. Nonetheless, he became a legit target in-line that has no issue in moving out to the perimeter and making guys miss on screens—a rarity at the tight end position. Iowa made a habit of getting the ball in his hands as much as they could, and his ceiling excites me inside a Lions offense with talent in abundance.
Michael Mayer (Las Vegas Raiders)
Mayer was the favorite to be TE1 in the 2023 NFL Draft during the winter but ultimately ended up as TE3. A big body at 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds, he touts a high floor with the ability to showcase sure hands and block in the run game. He won’t blow anyone away as a seam stretcher nor will he be a YAC monster, but he’s a physical mismatch piece in the passing game that can relocate defensive ends in the ground game. There isn’t much sexy in his game, but there’s nothing wrong with that.
Luke Musgrave & Tucker Kraft (Green Bay Packers)
Although having only two games of recent tape shied a few teams away, Musgrave is impressive enough in the fact that there aren’t many tight ends running away from corners in college football. He’s enticing in the fact that he’s yet to play his best football, and Green Bay is in need of a high-level seam-stretcher.
For Kraft, a small-school talent, I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes a few Pro Bowls before it’s all said and done. He’s been overwhelmingly dominant at the FCS level and has everything you want as a nightmare flex weapon in a high-octane passing offense. An elite athlete that can align next to the tackle or outside to the boundary, Kraft can run any route in the book and is aggressive after the catch. As a blocker, he needs work at the point of attack, but his playmaking ability with the ball in the air will force an offense to pump him with targets. Musgrave will take some targets away from him, but both will become intricate pieces in 12-personnel and should play off each other extremely well.
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