clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The top 10 tight end prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft class

The Panthers parted ways with Greg Olsen in the offseason. Do they need to draft a replacement tight end, or roll the dice on their current depth chart?

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Practice Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

The tight end class in the 2020 draft is considered one of the weakest position groups. There aren’t two stud prospects like a T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant, but there are a few prospects who can be long term starters. Let’s look at the rankings.

1. Adam Trautman

Trautman is the best tight end in this class who flourishes in all aspects as a receiver. He is a good route runner, physical at the catch point, consistently makes contested catches, and he offers value after the catch. There are concerns about the step up in level of competition, but Trautman showed off well at the Senior Bowl.

Projection: Round 2 pick

2. Cole Kmet

Kmet is a reliable pass catcher as he only dropped two passes on sixty targets per Pro Football Focus. He has a large frame, which give him a strong catch radius.

Kmet offers some run after the catch ability due to his physicality to bounce off tacklers and keep his legs moving.

Kmet is a relatively novice blocker at this stage, but he has experience playing primarily in-line for the Irish’s pro offensive scheme. He tested out surprisingly well, which gives him unique upside.

Projection: Round 2/3 pick

3. Devin Asiasi

Asiasi isn’t an explosive athlete, but his skill set is solid all around. The most appealing part of his game is presenting a window for the quarterback down the seam. He can adjust, carry his movements well, and is typically reliable as a pass catcher.

Asiasi is likely suited to be a No. 2 tight end at the next level. His blocking still has mechanical issues, which take time to clean up.

Projection: Round 3/4 pick

4. Albert Okwuegbunam

Okwuegbunam tested much better than I anticipated. He stretches the field much better than his peers, but he is a lackadaisical route runner. Okweugbunam relies on his physical traits at the catch point. He has impressive body control to adjust to most throws even if they’re off target, but he is too straight line of an athlete.

Projection: Round 4 pick

5. Brycen Hopkins

Hopkins is a smooth athlete on film. He makes sharp cuts within his routes to create separation, presents a large catch radius, and works well down the seam.

Hopkins is still learning how to apply himself as a blocker as he rarely played in-line for the Purdue Boilmakers.

Projection: Round 4 pick

6. Dalton Keene

Keene is the most athletic tight end in this class. He had the best Combine performance, but those same athletic skills transfer on the field. He’s not a field stretcher as the majority of his production came on screens, drags, and flat routes.

Keene’s projection is low, but there are similarities to his game to Ian Thomas.

Projection: Round 4/5 pick

7. Hunter Bryant

My initial impressions of Bryant were pretty high, but his small stature and poor Combine altered that opinion. It’s tough for a tight end with his size and his athletic profile to succeed in the NFL, but Bryant does have interesting traits. He has loose movement skills, which give him the opportunity to create windows for the quarterback.

He rarely played in-line due to his size, which makes it tougher to project him as a positive for his blocking.

Projection: Round 5/6 pick

8. Harrison Bryant

Harrison Bryant is another tight end who tested poorly and it shows on film too. He doesn’t threaten defenses with his vertical speed and is not a refined route runner at this stage. The initial hype seems to be misplaced.

Projection: Round 6 pick

9. Jared Pinkey

Pinkey was one of the top tight end prospects heading into the 2019 season, but his production took a noise dive. There are aspects of his game that remain appealing such as his ability to break down efficiently into his cuts and create a large radius down the seam. However, he can get overpowered at the catch point and his blocking is a negative.

Projection: Round 6 pick

10. Stephen Sullivan

Sullivan is a converted wide receiver who moved to tight end for LSU. His tweener skill set won’t appeal to many teams, but his route running ability stands out. His long wingspan make him a target on contested throws too. I was most impressed with him at the Senior Bowl where he consistently stood out.

Sullivan is still raw overall especially as a blocker, but his upside is part of the reason why I’d take a chance on him.

Projection: Round 6/7 pick

Do any of these prospects stand out to you? Which ones?