It's draft week baby! And if you couldn't tell, this will be the last position group scouting report that will be delivered to you fantasy football nerds. For a comprehensive look back, here are the other position groups we have covered... (QB, RB, WR) After you get your fill on these tight ends, Wednesday morning, enjoy your AM cup of coffee with Dom Murtha's first round mock draft. That should lead you right into our Thursday draft coverage with pick-by-pick analysis by NostraDomUs on the website and Howard Bender live from ground zero in Nashville, Tennessee. 

As promised -- the tight ends... 


| T.J. Hockenson | Iowa | rJR | 6-foot-5 | 251 lbs. |

Games Watched: Wisconsin (2018), Iowa State (2018), Mississippi State (2018), Penn State (2018)

Projected Draft Range: 1st Round

Pro Comparison: Jeremy Shockey

– Pros –

  • Excellent size for the position; more than big enough, but lean enough to maintain athleticism.

  • May be the best blocker (non-lineman) in the class.

  • Powerful against smaller opponents and will crash and cut bigger ones; despite size, is always the low man at point of attack; hits opponent like a sled.

  • Natural understanding of blocking angles and leverage; will use opponent’s aggressiveness or lack-thereof to his advantage.

  • Alpha mindset; looks at every matchup as a mismatch; welcomes hard contact and loves to deliver the blow; will at times block through the whistle.

  • Explosive route runner for the position; physical off the line and creates separation quickly.

  • Reliable hands catcher; presents the quarterback a clean target.

  • Will box out defenders to his advantage with the ball in the air; not an elite jumper per se, but will win 50-50 balls with leverage, physicality, and effort.

– Cons –

  • Aggressiveness will at times lead to whiffs on blocks; can at times run at defender with his head down.

  • Positively will use defender’s momentum to win as a blocker, however it can at times backfire, congesting the running lane.

  • Fast, but doesn’t possess elite long speed.

– Summary –

Without question, Hockenson is the best tight end in this class. Quite frankly, he’s the best tight end to enter the league in a long time. It’s kind of funny, really, because when you think about it, entering the draft process, the thought was that he wasn’t even the best tight end on his own team, let alone the best in the class. To explain Hockenson is to describe a tight end prospect who not only has very few flaws, but is also as nasty as they come. Watch his tape to the song “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor” by Drowning Pool and you’ll understand what I mean – in an almost frightening way, it will match up perfectly.

As a blocker, Hockenson brings Gronk-level strength, instincts, and intensity, while as a receiver he reminds one of Jeremy Shockey as a lad. On tape, he looks like a kid who loves football, and more importantly, putting guys on their backs. I say confidently and boldly that Hockenson is the best offensive player in this draft.  


| Noah Fant | Iowa | JR | 6-foot-4 | 245 lbs. |

Games Watched: Ohio State (2017), Penn State (2018), Iowa State (2018)

Projected Draft Range: 1st/2nd Round

Pro Comparison: Jared Cook

– Pros –

  • Elite athlete for the position; natural receiver.

  • Can be used as move tight end; utilized as a mismatch option often; position versatility to play tight, wing, or slot.

  • Natural red zone threat; size, speed, athleticism combination helps him win contested jump balls more often than not.

  • Has no problem separating from linebackers and safeties.

  • Aware of his surroundings as a receiver; instinctually feels boundary approaching; paints feet well on sideline and end zone; adjusts to poorly thrown balls well.  

  • Shows potential as a blocker; effort is there; can hedge with tackles and will drive and separate towards the next level.

– Cons –

  • Will false step off the line of scrimmage at times, slowing release.

  • Lacks edge as a blocker; is easily disengaged at defender’s will; doesn’t deliver strongest pop; tends to lean on opponent; will hold instead of getting better leverage.

  • Not the most natural hands catcher; will at times let the ball hit his body; can mistime snatch animation.

  • Needs work varying speeds as a route runner.

– Summary –

Headed into the draft process, Fant was considered the top tight end in the class, but since he has been firmly surpassed by his teammate T.J. Hockenson and is now closer to guys like Irv Smith and Jace Sternberger. It is not that he is showing a lack of potential suddenly, but rather because Fant appears to be more of a one trick pony.

That one trick is as a mismatch receiving option.

You’re probably thinking to yourself “that’s a pretty good trick to have as a tight end” which is why Fant is rated so highly.

Essentially, Fant has a ways to come as a blocker or even as an inline player, however his potential as a receiving threat and red zone terror is immense. In the NFL, with his elite athleticism for the position, Fant can be used as a slot, an h-back, a wing, or a tight. He’s position versatile and a natural receiver. He will hold plenty of fantasy value going forward.


| Irv Smith | Alabama | JR | 6-foot-2 | 242 lbs. |

Games Watched: Clemson (2018), Arkansas (2018), Texas A&M (2018), Mississippi State (2018)

Projected Draft Range: 1st/2nd Round

Pro Comparison: Chris Cooley

– Pros –

  • Well built athlete for the position; decent height with bulky physique.

  • Position versatile; on tape lined up all over the formation (inline, wing, fullback, motioned, slot, flanker, etc.).

  • Nifty route runner with advanced use of speed changes; will settle into soft spot of zones if necessary.

  • Presents quarterback a clear target and uses hands instead of body to catch the football.

  • High-effort blocker with physicality to move people in the run game; was used often as lead blocker in the backfield.

  • Good enough long speed to be a mismatch against linebackers; big enough to be a mismatch against safeties; creates separation with both speed and power.

  • Strong after the catch; will shed arm tackles and will carry smaller defenders downfield.

– Cons –

  • Doesn’t always play with urgency; this shows most on back side blocking assignments.

  • Finishes his route and stops; isn’t creative outside of play design and doesn’t help an off script quarterback.  

  • On tape, his agility is a question mark; looks heavy-footed and will power down into and out of his breaks.

  • Doesn’t always create the best angles as a blocker; will let defenders scrape his face back towards the play.

– Summary –

Smith is a talented athlete who is yet the sum of his tight end parts. While slightly undersized in terms of height, Smith has plenty of body armor on his frame to make him an intimidating force on the field. With the lack of height combined with plus athleticism, Smith was mostly utilized at Alabama as the team’s “move” tight end. At the next level, I expect him to have a similar role to Chris Cooley during his years with the Redskins… Used as a wing, h-back, slot, tight end, fullback, etc. Smith will be one of the best players of this talented position group when his NFL career is all said and done. To think that he still has a lot of potential in his game that is still unfulfilled is scary.


| Kahale Warring | San Diego State | rJR | 6-foot-5 | 252 lbs. |

Games Watched: Nevada (2018), Boise State (2018)

Projected Draft Range: 3rd/4th Round

Pro Comparison: Hunter Henry

– Pros –

  • Well built for the position; tall and thick with plus athleticism.

  • Nifty route runner with deceptive cuts and breaks; slips and sneaks through the second level.

  • Position versatile; lined up most often in-line as a part of NFL style west coast offense but was also flexed out into the slot.

  • Despite lack of experience, shows reliable hands and presents the quarterback with a clear target; attacks the ball at its highest point and comes down maintaining balance.

  • Has the physical tools to be a decent blocker; knows assignment and will stick to it.

  • Uses experience as a basketball player to create space at the contested catch point; plays like a power forward in the red zone.

– Cons –

  • Didn’t learn the game until very recently; unnatural tendencies and lower football IQ shows up on tape.

  • Looks uncomfortable in stance; narrow base with too low of squat.

  • Lacks nastiness and conviction as a blocker.

  • Doesn’t create 1v1 separation with speed or athleticism; needs to finetune his route running craft.

– Summary –

How do you like your steak cooked?

Are you a fan of sushi?

If you are into raw delicacies, Kahale Warring may be just your type.  

He’s big, strong, pretty fast, and is a former basketball player. The only problem is that he only started playing football a few years ago and at times it shows up on tape. To be frank, Warring is likely going to have to essentially take a redshirt year in 2019, as his football IQ is just not up to speed yet to play at the NFL level. Rumor has it that when he got to San Diego State he had to look up what the term “Tight End” meant. Despite his rawness, Warring shows athletic potential to eventually turn into a productive NFL starter. Through his background as a basketball player, Warring should bring a physical dynamic that many other successful NFL tight ends have over the last decade or so; most notably Jimmy Graham and Antonio Gates .


| Jace Sternberger | Iowa | rJR | 6-foot-4 | 251 lbs. |

Games Watched: Kentucky (2018), Alabama (2018),  Mississippi (2018), Auburn (2018)

Projected Draft Range: Day 2

Pro Comparison: Nick O’Leary

– Pros –

  • Tall and lean frame, but carries enough power to go with athletic game.

  • Quality kick-out blocker; uses wall-off technique to gain angles on defenders.

  • Above-average route runner; varies speeds well, creates separation, sits in zones.

  • Natural hands catcher; instinctual with the ball in the air; wins 50-50 balls.

  • Position versatility; can line up all over the formation; productive when put in motion.

  • Speed makes him a mismatch against most linebackers and safeties.

– Cons –

  • Will take false step in release off of line of scrimmage sometimes.

  • Faster defenders can beat him to the spot in second level blocking assignments; allows too many guys to cross his face.

  • Average-at-best play strength; lacks drive through his blocks; may be overwhelmed at the NFL level.

  • Is jammed at line of scrimmage more often than you’d like to see.

– Summary –

Sternberger is a guy who, at the next level, is likely going to have to be utilized in matchup specific situations. The reason is because while featuring a tight end build, Sternberger is far more finesse than braun. While his blocking is adequate at the collegiate level, he likely is going to struggle at the next level against NFL play strength. With all of this being said, Sternberger offers a lot of upside as a receiver as he can use his athletic gifts to beat safeties and linebackers deep. Serving as a move tight end, Sternberger figures to have a Nick O’Leary type of role as a rookie, potentially developing into more as he becomes a better route runner and a more impactful blocker.


| Dawson Knox | Ole Miss | rJR | 6-foot-4 | 254 lbs. |

Games Watched: Alabama (2018), LSU (2018), Mississippi State (2018), Texas Tech (2018), Auburn (2017)

Projected Draft Range: Day 2

Pro Comparison: Travis Beckum

– Pros –

  • Well built for the position; athletic frame and testing numbers, while still maintaining plenty of muscle and strength.

  • Gets a good, explosive, release off the line of scrimmage; runs drive routes with a purpose.

  • Displays position versatility; lined up inline, in the slot, outside, fullback, wing, motioned out, etc.

  • Shows some chops in pass protection; uses length and sinks hips; good instincts of where he needs to protect and where his help is.

  • Strong after the catch; takes multiple defenders to bring him down; keeps legs driving for hard-fought first downs.


– Cons –

  • Very limited collegiate production; posted zero career touchdowns.

  • Chops feet; shows indecisiveness as a lead blocker; will lower head through the hole, subjecting vision and balance towards assignment.

  • Struggled when asked to reach block; will approach timidly and hold instead of walling off defender.

  • Inconsistent hands; doesn’t appear to be a natural hands catcher.

  • Struggles running underneath routes; doesn’t use body leverage against defender to create clear target for the quarterback; doesn’t explode out of breaks or drive back towards where the football is being thrown.

– Summary –

While there was plenty of tape to watch on Knox, there wasn’t much production to go along with it. Much of that can be attributed to the fact that he was the third or fourth option in Ole Miss’ offense, playing behind two other receivers that are likely to be drafted in the first round of this year’s draft. However much of that can also be attributed to the fact that Knox tends to play a bit timidly as a receiver. On routes where he is expected to be featured deep, Knox explodes off the line of scrimmage, running deep with purpose. It is on these reps that he looks every bit of a future NFL starter. However, on routes where he is the safety valve, Knox tends to round off his routes and looks surprised when the ball is thrown his way. He will at times fail to break back to the football and will also drop some easy passes. This seems to be a fatal flaw for his future in the NFL, but when you see the flashes of good with Knox you then understand his NFL hype. I believe he can be coached up and has starting potential as a pro.

As a blocker, again, he appears inconsistent. Sometimes he’s great and sometimes he whiffs. I love his natural instincts in pass protection, while he has a ways to go as a lead blocker. Again, this can be coached.

Draft Knox in the third or fourth round and allow him to be used as a rotational tight end early on. Once he gets the hang of the NFL game, he will be a starter down the line.


| Foster Moreau | LSU | SR | 6-foot-4 | 253 lbs. |

Games Watched: Florida (2018), Georgia (2018), Miami (2018), Mississippi (2018), Troy (2017)

Projected Draft Range: Day 3

Pro Comparison: James Hanna

– Pros –

  • Proper size for the position; looks well built on tape and still shows plus athleticism.

  • Delivers the blow as a blocker, gains low leverage, and extends up through the defender; will hold the block until the whistle blows.

  • Shows nastiness as a blocker downfield; will get in defender’s face; has no problem blindsiding someone or finishing off a block to the ground.

  • Experience as a pass blocker and shows good instincts for it.

  • Strong after the catch; tough to bring down 1v1.

  • Uses body to create space at the catch point.

– Cons –

  • Playing in a power run offense, wasn’t asked to run that many routes; suffered from low production and limited looks as a receiver.

  • Doesn’t always give 100% as a route runner; will throttle down when covered for more than 10 yards.

  • Easily covered by smaller and even less athletic players; has a ways to go as a route runner.

– Summary –

Moreau is a throwback of sorts, as he is a tight end who is little concerned with his receiving skills. Moreau wants to beat up the guy in front of him in the run game, while he is also proven at protecting his quarterback in pass pro. While it is tough to tell on tape, Moreau is actually a plus athlete for the position, and he proved it at the NFL Combine this past February. For these reasons, James Hanna seemed like the best comparison, as they are the same size, are both very underrated athletes for the position, and are almost unparalleled in the blocking department. Moreau will play inline or as a fullback in the NFL.


| Drew Sample | Washington | rSR | 6-foot-5 | 255 lbs. |

Games Watched: Utah (2018) (PAC12 Championship), Utah (2018), Auburn (2018)

Projected Draft Range: Day 3

Pro Comparison: Rhett Ellison

– Pros –

  • Aware and intelligent blocker; understands assignment and knows where to position himself downfield to best create clean running lanes.

  • Once he engages a defender, he’s locked in; doesn’t hold, but maintains block until the whistle.

  • Gets a good release off the line of scrimmage; keen sense of when to use inside or outside step for cleanest release.

  • Physical at the top of the route; uses body to create space from covering defenders.

  • Good set of mitts on him; sure and soft hands.

– Cons –

  • Limited athleticism; underwhelming deep speed on tape, despite decent testing numbers.

  • Shows commitment on the field but lacks nastiness for his size.

  • Limited production as a receiver.

  • Will run rounded routes at times; doesn’t show quick feet in and out of breaks.

  • Not a noted leaper; doesn’t show much high-pointing potential; needs more polish in the red zone.

– Summary –

Sample is a well built tight end, one who will likely be considered a “blocking” tight end by most scouts, but make no mistake, his tape shows a well-rounded skill-set. While creating running lanes and holding his blocks until the whistle blows is his calling card, Sample also is known for getting a clean release off the line of scrimmage, running a tough crossing route, and reliably hauling in the contested catch. His potential is not as high as some of these other tight ends in this class, but Sample should have a long career as a part of a rock solid tight end stable.


| Isaac Nauta | Georgia | JR | 6-foot-3 | 244 lbs. |

Games Watched: Texas (2018), LSU (2018), Alabama (2018), Vanderbilt (2018)

Projected Draft Range: Day 3

Pro Comparison: Owen Daniels

– Pros –

  • Gets a great release off the line of scrimmage; bursts well at snap; varies initial step to keep defenders honest.

  • Shows sure and reliable hands; excellent at contested catch point; combative over the middle.

  • Natural instincts to find weak point of the middle of the defense; keeps linebackers and safeties pointing fingers.

  • Solid open-field blocker; will chase downfield until whistle is blown.

  • Will throw initial punch as a blocker and will remain extended throughout the play.

– Cons –

  • Average size for the position with underwhelming build; not a great athlete; ran a 4.91 40-time at the Combine.

  • Won’t match up well with size when lined up inside; doesn’t play with too much functional strength; may need to be flexed off the line of scrimmage or into the slot.

  • Not a natural inline blocker; struggles with leverage and angles.  

  • A possession receiver without much wiggle after the catch.

  • Average route runner for the position; needs to break harder and drop the anchor quicker; will round off sometimes.

– Summary –

Pronounced “not-a” – Nauta’s Combine performance would indicate that he’s Nauta great athlete (admittedly stole that line from The Athletic’s Dane Brugler). Elite athleticism is not exactly a prerequisite to play tight end in the NFL, but you at least have to prove that you can run faster than the offensive tackle playing inside of you. Unfortunately, according to Nauta’s 40-time, that is not likely going to be the case. Because of this, despite some rock solid tape that would have seen him go on Day 2 is actually going to bump him to Day 3. An NFL team will likely get a steal towards the end of the draft.


| Kaden Smith | Stanford | JR | 6-foot-5 | 255 lbs. |

Games Watched: USC (2018), Oregon (2018)

Projected Draft Range: Day 3

Pro Comparison: Dalton Schultz

– Pros –

  • Plenty of bulk and body armor for the position at the NFL level.

  • Shows toughness on tape; willingness to work with high effort in the run game and is powerful after the catch.

  • Strong hands; plays with confidence in contested areas.

  • Physical at the catch point; will use size to wall off defenders.

– Cons –

  • Underwhelming athlete; shows as just average on tape and posted some very low quality testing numbers at the Combine.

  • Doesn’t track back to the ball with conviction; will round off or sit at the end of routes.

  • Tends to lunge as a blocker; at times reaches second level with head down and unbalanced; won’t fly at the NFL level.

  • An average overall prospect with no true definiable qualities.

– Summary –

Smith reminds a lot of former teammate Dalton Schultz , who will likely have a decently long career in the NFL, but will also struggle to ever become a starter. At the very least, Smith’s high effort and toughness will allow him to serve on special teams for a handful of years, while eventually his speed and athleticism will match his sure hands and physicality at the catch point.