Nason’s Prospect Primer Series: Tight Ends

We’ve hit the flashy positions on offense with quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs, so now it’s time for the guys who do a little bit of both. The big guys who handle the dirty work of blocking and also flash in the passing game. The tight ends. Check out my top five prospects.

  1. 1. Trey McBride, Colorado State, Sr.

Measurements: 6’4, 260

2021 Stats: 12 GP, 90 Rec, 1121 Yds, 1 TD

If you watched any Colorado State games the last few years, you would have seen McBride featured in the offense. After a stellar 90 catch season, the 2021 John Mackey Award winner (best Tight End) and consensus All-American enters the draft as the top prospect by most rankings. As the league moves more toward spread offenses, McBride offers a great mix of speed, blocking, and pass catching skills to fit most offenses. The Travis Kelce comps will be there for sure, not to say he is as good as the future hall of famer, but he plays a similar game, is a similar size, and should provide a similar outlet for quarterbacks at the next level.

2. Jalen Wydermyer, Texas A&M, Jr.

Measurements: 6’5, 255

2021 Stats: 12 GP, 40 Rec, 515 Yds, 4 TD

Another player who will be more known for what he does in the pass game than the run game, Wydermyer has the size NFL general managers crave at the position in today’s game. A freshmen All-American, Wydermyer is a skilled pass catcher who’s large frame gives him a huge size advantage over defenders. His blocking skills and strength will need more work at the next level, but the former Aggie has the profile to develop into a high end pass catcher.

3. Jeremy Ruckert, Ohio State, Sr.

Measurements: 6’5, 250

2021 Stats: 11 GP, 26 Rec, 309 Yds, 3 TD

The numbers aren’t much, but when you are the 5th option in a passing attack that featured 3 future 1st round wide receivers and a freshman All-American running back, it’s hard to fill up the stat sheet. Don’t let the production fool you though, Ruckert, a former 4 star prospect, is a complete tight end who is a strong blocker and a starter level pass catcher. Drops might be a concern, but Ruckert is a classic case of a prospect who may become a far better pro than college player, if an NFL features him in their passing game. It will help that he is more than willing and capable to hit a defensive end and will hold his own.

4. Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina, Sr.

Measurements: 6’4, 240

2021 Stats: 13 GP, 59 Rec, 912 Yds, 12 TD

Likely, originally from Cambridge, MA, projects to likely be an athletic pass catching option at the next level (see what I did there?). A super productive vertical threat for the Chanticleers, Likely has the tools to be successful at the next level, but he needs to add size. 240 might be generous, but if Likely can add 10-15 pounds and maintain his speed, he has the capability to be a starting level tight end. Let’s all root for Boston’s own the April!

5. Derrick Deese Jr, San Diego State, Sr.

Measurements: 6’4, 235

2021 Stats: 12 GP, 47 Rec, 730 Yds, 4 TD

The son of 10 year NFL offensive tackle Derrick Deese, Deese Jr. is an athletic tight end who, similar to Likely, will want to add some weight as he enters the league. Deese is a natural pass catcher with good speed and a long frame, making him a very promising project player at the position. The number one thing he will need to work on his his route running, but if he can make that half decent, an offensive coordinator will be able to make him a weapon on Sundays

Honorable Mentions:

Cade Otton, Washington

Cole Turner, Nevada

Charlie Kolar, Iowa State

Image: (Matthew Holst/Getty Images)

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