2023 NFL Mock Draft 4.0: Post-Combine Picks For First Three Rounds
2023 NFL Draft: Notre Dame’s Mayer Leads Top 5 Tight Ends
These are my top 5 tight end prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft, with a couple of surprise selections and several players I have had the chance to see in person during the pre-draft process:
Top 5 Tight Ends in 2022 NFL Draft
1. Michael Mayer, Notre Dame
Michael Meyer can run block, can catch passes, and do it all. He’s got an 82.1 percent run-blocking grade per Pro Football Focus — fourth-best in the nation. For a receiving tight end, that’s crazy. In today’s game, you can usually either do one or the other — you’re a blocking tight end or a receiving tight end. These days you don’t see a guy who can do it all anymore, but Mayer is someone who can.
There have been some questions about Mayer’s effort, but if he gets coached up — he entered the draft early — he can be a difference-maker. He had 62 catches for 809 yards and 9 touchdowns in 2022, and in 2021 he had 71 for 804. That is big-time production in back-to-back years going against big-time competition. He blocked well, caught the ball well, and scored touchdowns in both years. This guy is a surefire Round 1 pick.
2. Luke Musgrave, Oregon State
I saw Luke Musgrave in person at the Senior Bowl. He is big, strong, fast, can run, and do it all. I saw a couple of scouts raving on the sideline at the Senior Bowl about Musgrave because he’s the prototypical tight end. He’s not the best blocker, but he gives effort, he’s feisty, he’s going to stick his head in there. He’s got to improve his blocking, but he’s explosive and is going to be able to push the seam. His route running needs a little work, but after you get him work with a receiver and tight end coach in the NFL, Musgrave can turn into a great, explosive player.
3. Dalton Kincaid, Utah
Dalton Kincaid has 70 catches, 890 yards last season, that’s production. My problem with Kincaid: Can he block? He spent 60 percent of his time in the slot. He doesn’t even line up at tight end, he’s a slot player. Some people say he should be number one on the board, but I like a tight end who’s going to put his hand in the ground and block a defensive end. Can Kincaid do that? Maybe, that remains to be seen. At Utah, tight end wasn’t his main position, he was more of a wide receiver with a tight end name.
4. Davis Allen, Clemson
This will surprise everybody. I also saw Davis Allen at the Senior Bowl, and he was great there. During the 2022 college football season, he was 16-for-19 on 50/50 balls. He was someone who couldn’t be guarded in one-on-one drills, he’s a big guy who can block. Allen’s not going to do anything crazy, he’s not a freak athlete, but he’s an all-around tight end with great hands, runs solid routes and is a solid blocker. Allen is someone a tight end-needy team can probably steal in the fourth or fifth round.
5. Will Mallory, Miami (FL)
Will Mallory is another guy flying under the radar. A lot of people don’t agree with this ranking. Mallory was another one I saw at the Senior Bowl, and he can play. He has 115 career receptions to prove he can catch the ball. He’s fast, runs like a wide receiver and plays hard. He’s not the best blocker, but he is in there mixing it up. He’s gritty, grinds and blocks to the whistle, and I love that about him. With some technique improvement and additional weight, this guy can turn into a really impressive prospect. I think you could still get him in the sixth or seventh round.