2019 Draft: Final Positional Rankings, Tight End

The end of the road, my pals. We’ve made it. Another year, another group of prospects, and another panic-stricken couple weeks leading up the draft just hoping that this front office has it all together and can hit in the early-rounds.

Briefly, before we proceed, some housekeeping items. I’ve often commented on how the draft is a “process”. Thoughts, opinions, and players’ grades change as we move closer to the finish line. Below, you can reference where my head was at for the initial unveiling of my positional rankings, followed by my pre-Combine thoughts, to where I ultimately ended up. It’s useful when contextualizing a players value, I think. If they stayed highly-touted throughout the months, chances are, we have a good player on our hands.

Early top-10 positional rankings are here. Pre-Combine rankings (thread) can be found here.


T.J. Hockenson (Round 1) and Noah Fant (Round 1) are two elite, immediate-impact players from the same school. While I came away with Hockenson on top, given his superior ability as a blocker (which could/should result in more opportunities early), I don’t think his former teammate is necessarily a slouch in that regard. Where Hockenson may get the nod in-line, Fant’s ability at the catch-point and his overall special, athletic profile keeps his ceiling just as high. You can easily make the argument for either of these player as this year’s TE1, and both should help continue the tight end revitalization that we’ve been seeing these past couple of years.

Irv Smith Jr. (Round 2) did himself no favors at the Combine, where he disappointed, given how pure he ran on Saturday’s. He moves effortlessly after the catch, which many (myself included) figured would show up in Indianapolis. Instead, a pedestrian 4.63 forty and 32.5-inch vertical. While he obviously isn’t the athlete former Alabama great O.J. Howard was, Smith does a lot of the same things very well, notably as a route runner. He has room to grow as a blocker, but I wouldn’t suggest that it is a “concern” at the moment.

Speaking of strong routes, Jace Sternberger (Round 2-3) is this year’s best for my money. A Kansas transferred, he parlayed that into an All-American campaign at Texas A&M. Despite the one year of production, it’s easy to suggest that he’d put up these types of numbers if he had been in the proper setting all along.

Dawson Knox (Round 3-4) might be this year’s biggest “wildcard” at the position. We don’t have much to lean on production-wise, given his gross under-utilization at school, but his athleticism alone should keep you intrigued.


Alize Mack (Round 4) is a wildcard in his own right. There were some academic issues and general “off-field” concerns that kept him sidelined, and while he never lived up to his four-star, nation’s top tight end-billing, it’s easy to understand why there was considerable buzz when you catch the highlights. His inconsistencies keep him lower on this list, but I see a little Jordan Reed to his game, and some team should bite earlier than most would anticipate.

Foster Moreau (Round 4) isn’t George Kittle, but I wonder if some teams will view him as a discounted version after a successful Combine. He’s not very flashy or dynamic, and will need to improve his overall ability as a route runner, but he’s a plus-blocker who is clearly athletic enough to make a leap in other aspects.

Kaden Smith (Round 4) is someone who I wanted to be higher on; he started the process off inside my top-32. Unfortunately, as much as a like him at the catch-point, he’s an underwhelming athlete and could use work as a blocker (not a weak point, per se, but certainly not a selling point or a factor that will help buoy his stock).

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