Targeting the Tight Ends: 2022 Tight End Prospects

By John Laub
John Laub



   Targeting the Tight Ends:


                2022 Prospects




In my opinion, the tight end position is the most difficult to grade and project in Dynasty fantasy football. The position requires such a unique combination of pass-catching abilities, run-blocking skills and difference-making athleticism that very few college prospects successfully transfer to All-Pro status.


At least I am not the only one who finds the endeavor challenging. Over the past nine years, the NFL industrial-scouting complex, and organizations, have had more misses than hits when drafting tight ends in the first round. Among the busts are Hayden Hurst (2018), O.J. Howard (2017), Evan Engram (2017), David Njoku (2017) and Eric Ebron (2014). It is too early to assess T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant, who was recently traded from Denver to Seattle, after three seasons.


Among last year’s top 10 tight end producers in ppr-scoring formats, only Kyle Pitts was a first-round selection, and he was a rookie in 2021. Zack Ertz, Rob Gronkowski, Dallas Goedert, Mike Gesicki and Hunter Henry were all second-round draft picks. The final four scorers—Mark Andrews, Travis Kelce, Dalton Schultz and George Kittle—were all acquired in rounds three to five.


Gridiron Scholar's TE Model

(Click the link below to see the model)


In the Class of 2022, none of the tight ends earned a first-round grade in my model and film assessment. Will a player be selected in the first 32 picks of the Draft? History illustrates that it is a risky proposition to spend so much draft capital on the position despite so many franchises seeking one. 


In Dynasty drafts, I prefer not to spend a first- or second-round pick on a tight end: I would rather devote the draft capital to acquire an elite running back or wide receiver. Let’s take an in-depth look at the Class of 2022…Enjoy my fellow diehards!


Benchmark Statistics and Measurements for Draft Consideration


Scholar's Key Career Stats

Receptions: 90

Yards per Reception: 13.0

2021 Season

Catch Percentage: 65%

Team Aerial Dominator: 15%

Breakaway Ability: 

4.75 seconds (or less) in the 40-yard Dash

7.10 seconds (or less) in the 3-cone Drill

4.40 seconds (or less) in the 20-yard Shuttle

Official Combine and Pro-Day measurements will be updated as available.



1. Tre McBride, Colorado State

Rams’ two-way tight end adorns the tight end position rankings. In 2021, John Mackey Award Winner, Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year, Unanimous All-American and First Team Senior Bowl. In the FBS, paced all tight ends in the nation with 90 catches for 1,121 yards. Surpassed 100 yards receiving five times. First Team All-Mountain West (3x) from 2019-21. Started five games as a true freshman in 2018. In high school, played both sides of the ball and recorded 310 tackles, 14 sacks, seven interceptions and six blocked punts. Also, played basketball and baseball. At 6’3” and 249-pounds, a do-it-all competitor with nasty demeanor. Strong and athletic frame with good feet and body control. Locks down edge defenders in the ground game. Very good route runner. Long strider who gets vertical and gains separation with physicality and leverage. Tracks the ball well and snatches it with natural hands away from the body. Secures the ball in traffic and makes adjustments to the pass in the air. Can be lined up at the Y, F, H or FB on the field. Voted top tight end by peers after Senior Bowl practices. Not an elite athlete. Average lateral agility and speed. Despite playing at a G5 program, the No. 1 tight end prospect in the Class of 2022. 


Scholar's Key Career Stats

Receptions: 164

Receiving Yards: 2,100

Yards per Reception: 12.5

Touchdowns: 10

2021 Season

Catch Percentage: 67%

Team Aerial Dominator: 37%

Draft Grade: Second Round



2. Greg Dulcich, UCLA

Former walk-on who earned a scholarship and was named a Semifinalist for the John Mackey Award in 2021. First Team All-PAC-12 after snatching 42 passes for 725 yards and five touchdowns. Averaged 17.3 yards per catch, ranking third among tight ends. First Team CoSIDA Academic Team (District 8). In 2020, second on the team with 26 catches for 517 yards and led the club with five touchdowns. Averaged 19.9 yards per catch. Voted Second Team All-PAC-12. In high school, a three-star recruit and No. 78 prospect in California as a wide receiver. Impressive athletic scores: 4.70 (40-yard dash), 20-yard shuttle (4.37) and 3-cone drill (7.05). At 6’4” and 250-pounds, the redshirt junior changed positions at UCLA. Sturdy competitor with natural hands and good body control. Long strider with loose hips. Very good lateral cuts. Plays like a receiver: Not a traditional in-line prospect. Technical route runner who is dangerous after the catch (YAC). Finds holes in defense and manipulates opponents. Attacks the secondary vertically. Good at tracking the deep ball and nice hand-eye coordination. Shields off defenders with a big frame and makes tacklers whiff with agility and balance. Improved at run blocking this season. Versatile playmaker. Coach Chip Kelly’s scheme does not have a good track record at producing tight ends, or receivers, in the NFL. Projects as a “Y” tight end as a professional. Smaller frame and not overpowering at the point of attack. The biggest riser among tight ends on Draft Boards throughout the draft process. Scheme fit will determine final long-term fantasy value.


Scholar's Key Career Stats

Receptions: 77

Receiving Yards: 1,353

Yards per Reception: 17.6

Touchdowns: 11

2021 Season

Catch Percentage: 64%

Team Aerial Dominator: 27%

Draft Grade: Third Round


3. Charlie Kolar, Iowa State

Iowa State Pro Day highlighted top-shelf athletic ability: 4.67 (40-yard dash), 4.35 (20-yard shuttle) and 6.98 (3-cone drill). NFL scouts are very bullish on the Cyclones’ playmaker. 3x First Team All-Big 12 selection (2019, 2020 & 2021). In 2021, established career highs in receptions (58) and yards (723). Earned Big 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year, CoSIDA Academic All-America Football Player of the Year and Mackey Award Finalist. Named Campbell Trophy Winner known as college football’s academic Heisman. In 2020, Second Team All-American and First Team Academic All-American. Paced all Big 12 tight ends in catches (44), receiving yards (591) and touchdown receptions (7). In 2019, Second Team All-American after registering 51 receptions for 697 yards and seven touchdowns. Multi-sport athlete in high school: basketball and football. Three-star prospect who was ranked among the top 50 tight ends in the nation. At 6’6” and 252-pounds, stupendous length, large-catch radius and great athleticism. Challenges defensive backs with size and speed. Smooth and fluid route runner with long legs. Wins jump balls: Weapon in the end zone. Identifies holes in zone coverage. Very good body control, soft mitts and ball-tracking skills. Performs well on the sideline with footwork and hands. Makes difficult catches. Shines up the seam, on short routes and crossers at the intermediate level. Employed as an in-line tight end and in the slot. Looks like a big wide receiver. Willing blocker but not dominant. Does not always get an easy and quick release off line of scrimmage. Not a YAC competitor. Rising up draft boards and likely selected on day two of the Draft.


Scholar's Key Career Stats

Receptions: 168

Receiving Yards: 2,181

Yards per Reception: 13.0

Touchdowns: 23

2021 Season

Catch Percentage: 65%

Team Aerial Dominator: 22%

Draft Grade: Third Round


4. Jeremy Ruckert, Ohio State

Underutilized pass-catcher in college who could take a significant leap forward as a professional. In 2021, Honorable Mention All-Big Ten after recording 26 receptions for 309 yards and three touchdowns. Named to the John Mackey Award Watch List. In 2020 and 2019, OSU Scholar Athlete and Academic All-Big Ten. In high school, a four-star recruit and No. 2 tight end in the nation. First Team All-USA Today and New York’s Gatorade State Player of the Year. Received offers from Stanford, Georgia, Alabama and Notre Dame. At 6’5” and 250-pounds, senior with a limited pass-catching resume. Tough three-down competitor. Employed in-line and on-outside. Aggressive blocker with good play strength. Gets hands dirty and plays with a mean streak. Great leg drive. Very good hand-eye coordination. Stupendous mitts and makes one-handed grabs. Identifies soft spots in zone coverage and assists the quarterback as a security blanket. Finds opponents to block at second level. Projects as a “Y” tight end. Lack of production in college. Not an elite athlete. Likely a better NFL player than a fantasy asset as a professional.


Scholar's Key Career Stats

Receptions: 59

Receiving Yards: 615

Yards per Reception: 11.6

Touchdowns: 12

2021 Season

Catch Percentage: 65%

Team Aerial Dominator: 6%

Draft Grade: Third Round



5. Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina

Chanticleers’ explosive play-making deep threat. In 2021, Second Team All-American (FWAA & WCFF), Semifinalist for John Mackey Award and President’s List (Fall) with a 4.0 GPA. Caught 59 passes for 912 yards and 12 scores. First Team All-Sun Belt in 2020 and 2021 and Third Team All-Sun Belt in 2019. In high school, an unranked prospect by major services. At 6’4” and 241-pounds, very good athlete and physical competitor who wins contested catches. Employs double moves, lateral cuts and good agility to make defenders miss. Innate hands catcher. Beats defenders vertically and rapidly changes directions. Excels on post and seam routes. Big-play ability: Very good speed and runs away from opponents deep. Tracks the ball well. Versatile weapon who can be lined up all over the formation. Projects as a “F” tight end in the NFL. High-level football IQ. Move blocker who willingly engages opponents. Despite lack of girth, good outside run blocker. Not a traditional tight end. A steal on day three of the draft if he falls past the third round.


Scholar's Key Career Stats

Receptions: 133

Receiving Yards: 2,050

Yards per Reception: 15.4

Touchdowns: 27

2021 Season

Catch Percentage: 75%

Team Aerial Dominator: 26%

Draft Grade: Third Round