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NFL Tight End Rankings 2022

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These are my top 15 tight ends in the game today entering the 2022 NFL season. Tight end has become one of the most revolutionary positions in the NFL. Gone are the days of the true blocking tight end. Now teams are looking for big, athletic guys who are strong enough to knock an edge player off track in a zone scheme, but agile enough to win jump balls and be a consistent mismatch against the likes of nickel corners and linebackers. 

 

Remember that these rankings are geared toward their actual skill as football players, not their role as fantasy football assets.

(Check out my other player rankings so far: QuarterbackCornerbackWide Receivers | Running Backs | Edge Defenders | more to come!)

1. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

Travis Kelce 2022 NFL Tight End Rankings

When it is all said and done, Travis Kelce will go down as arguably the best TE to pick up a football. He has eclipsed 1,000 yards in six straight seasons and has never had a season where he has had fewer than 850. He tied for the TE position lead in touchdowns last year with 9, and he is a matchup nightmare for just about any defender that matches up across from him. Kelce does it with incredible athleticism and body control to run routes and finish tough catches. He also has the size, IQ and strength to be a factor as a run blocker for the Chiefs. There are a few who can compete with Kelce for the top spot at the position, but none of them has proven to be as electric as him over the years.

2. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

Mark Andrews 2022 NFL Tight End Rankings

What a career it has been for Mark Andrews. The Oklahoma standout came to Baltimore and competed with two other TEs for the No. 1 spot in the lineup in 2018. He won that battle and now may be the Ravens’ best pass catcher since entering the league. He can line up as an inline TE, a fullback or an H-TE. On top of all of that, he is a mismatch when lined up on the outside. Andrews went over 1,000 yards for the first time last season and was tied for the TE lead in TDs at 9. He was No. 1 at the position in receiving yards and led all tight ends in deep targets and red zone targets, proving that he is a point of emphasis for the Ravens and arguably their No. 1 deep threat as well. 

3. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers

George Kittle 2022 NFL Tight End Rankings

On the other end of the spectrum, George Kittle provides immense value as a blocking TE for a 49ers team that relies on the run to set up their pass game. With that said, Kittle is also one of the best receiving and YAC tight ends in the game. He is utilized on a lot of screens, under concepts and route concepts that allow the ball carrier to catch in space. He was second in yards after the catch last season, per Player Profiler. Barring Injury, Kittle will continue to produce and be one of the main weapons for a Niners team that will have a new guy calling the shots at QB.

4. Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders

Darren Waller 2022 NFL Tight End Rankings

Darren Waller‘s climb to an All-Pro is one of the most inspiring stories in the NFL. Waller was one of the most targeted TEs in the league and, aside from Hunter Renfrow, was easily Derek Carr’s favorite target. He and Kelce are probably two of the most athletic options at the position group and despite injuries, he was still in the top of the group in yards per reception and total receiving yards. Prior to last season, Waller had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. With Davante Adams added to the receiving mix, prepare for Waller to get more advantageous targets and limited coverage as well as red zone opportunities. 

5. Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons

Kyle Pitts 2022 NFL Tight End Rankings

As a lifetime Gators fan, nothing made me happier than to see Kyle Pitts explode last year for Atlanta. He is a top receiving threat as a TE who lines up as an “X” wide receiver at times. Atlanta lined him up all over last year and his explosiveness showed as the year continued. He went over 1,000 yards in his rookie season and led all qualified tight ends with 15.1 yards per catch. With the change at QB, I am not sure that Pitts will get as many catchable targets, but he will definitely be the top receiver in Atlanta’s offense this season. 

 

6. Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles

Dallas Goedert 2022 NFL Tight End Rankings

The Eagles have high confidence in Dallas Goedert, showing that when they traded Zach Ertz to Arizona in the middle of the season. He quietly became Jalen Hurts’ most reliable target. He was targeted 76 times and produced in the top five in yards per target, yards per catch, yards after the catch and receiving yards. With another year of Hurts and some new additions, expect Goedert to continue to be Mr. Reliable for Philadelphia next season. 

7. Hunter Henry, New England Patriots

Hunter Henry emerged as one of the top red zone threats for Mac Jones last year. He was top 10 in red zone targets and tied for the position lead in touchdowns with 9. On top of that, Henry was arguably Jones’ most reliable target, producing a 130.8 passer rating when targeted. While he may not be high in yardage, Henry is one of the premier tight ends in the NFL and even though he lacks the explosiveness of some of the guys above, he makes up for it with reliable hands and sure technical skills. 

8. Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys

Dalton Schultz 2022 NFL Tight End Rankings

Dalton Schultz has developed from blocking TE to a true receiving threat. 87.5% of his targets were catchable, and as a result was able to produce 808 yards and 8 touchdowns. He also is deceivingly productive after the catch, as he was sixth in YAC among TEs. I am eager to see the different ways they use Schultz this year, as Dak Prescott has found a new weapon in Dallas to throw to.

9. T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions

T.J. Hockenson 2022 NFL Tight End Rankings

While T.J. Hockenson may not have had the ideal year in 2021, missing five games because of injury, he was still able to make 60 catches this year. He is one of the best athletes at the position and excels in making the tough catches, compiling a 73.8% contested catch rate according to Player Profiler. While he has not quite lived up to the expectation of “top-10 pick,” Hockenson continues to be one of the most physically imposing tight ends and one of the key cogs in Detroit’s offense. 

10. Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills

Dawson Knox 2022 NFL Tight End Rankings

Dawson Knox saw an uptick in production this year with the MVP-caliber play from Josh Allen. He tied for the TE position lead in touchdowns with 9 and had the highest passer rating when targeted at 133.9. With the addition of O.J. Howard this offseason, you can expect more 12 and 13 personnel packages from Buffalo this year, meaning more opportunities for Knox to make plays.

11. Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins

Mike Gesicki 2022 NFL Tight End Rankings

Mike Gesicki has come on strong for Miami the last few seasons. He has gone over 700 yards in consecutive seasons. He is an interesting player to study as he does a lot of his damage outside of the traditional TE position. He garnered 412 slot snaps last season, tops among all TEs. With the roster additions and a Mike McDaniel offense that is sure to favor TE play if it is anything similar to San Francisco, Gesicki will continue to provide good value at the TE position.

12. Zach Ertz, Arizona Cardinals

Zach Ertz 2022 NFL Tight End Rankings

Last year Zach Ertz was shipped off to Arizona so Philly could focus more attention on Dallas Goedert. But that said, Ertz is still one of the game’s top tight ends. He has topped 700 receiving yards in seven of the last eight years and has multiple seasons with 8 tocuhdowns. As he becomes more integrated in the Arizona offense, Ertz should continue to produce. 

13. Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers

Pat Freiermuth came on strong as the season went on last year and became the Steelers’ biggest red zone threat. He was the most targeted TE inside the red zone, with 20 targets. He also was able to grab 7 touchdowns last year. The potential for Freiermuth is sky high, and with a team that has been in search of the next Heath Miller, I think they found a suitable replacement in Freiermuth.

14. David Njoku, Cleveland Browns

David Njoku 2022 NFL Tight End Rankings

David Njoku may have been one of the best-kept secrets for Cleveland. In a team that favors tight ends, many could make the argument that Njoku wasn’t used enough. He is one of the most athletic players at the position and has increasingly improved as a blocker. This has increased his value and forced Cleveland to make room for Njoku to shine. I expect Njoku to have a big season and get back to the level of play he had when he was utilized as “TE1” a few seasons ago. 

15. Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams

Tyler Higbee 2022 NFL Tight End Rankings

Tyler Higbee may have had one of his lower statistical years, but he was able to showcase his ability to be a key player in both the pass and run game in LA. He had a 127.2 passer rating when targeted and became one of Matthew Stafford’s safety blankets en route to a Super Bowl championship. 

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