The Post’s Ryan Dunleavy gives his top 10 tight ends in this year’s NFL draft, based on evaluations and conversations with people around the league:
1. Trey McBride, Colorado St, 6-3, 246 pounds
Not a Kyle Pitts-type game-breaker. This class doesn’t have one. An in-line tight end with reliable hands in traffic over the middle. Led all FBS tight ends with 90 catches and 1,121 yards.
2. Greg Dulcich, UCLA, 6-4, 243 pounds
Former walk-on led team in receiving yards last two seasons, adding 10 combined touchdowns. Creates mismatches when lined up in the slot and missed tackles after the catch. Needs improvement as a blocker.
3. Jeremy Ruckert, Ohio State, 6-5, 252 pounds
Long Island native totaled 39 targets on 714 offensive snaps in a blocking-first role, according to The Athletic. Physical traits point to a more effective pass-catcher in pro-style scheme. Missed the combine with plantar fasciitis.
4. Charlie Kolar, Iowa State, 6-6, 252 pounds
Only three-time All-American in school history, after totaling more than 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns from 2019-21. Lacks the speed to be a vertical threat, but plays with throwback toughness to chains-movers of the 1990s.
5. Cade Otton, Washington, 6-5, 247 pounds
Understands two important arts: blocking and route-running. And is physical in both aspects, getting a hat-on-a-hat in the run game and sealing off defenders to catch with his hands, as expected given rich football DNA.
6. Jelani Woods, Virginia, 6-7, 253 pounds
Capitalized on one year transfer from Oklahoma State. An 82-inch wing-span is great for 50/50 balls and end-zone fades, and 34 ¹/₈-inch arms is an advantage as in-line blocker. Tipped the scales at 275 pounds.
7. Isaiah Likely, Coastal Carolina, 6-4, 245 pounds
Long-striding former wide receiver with soft hands (one drop on 77 targets last season) and catch-and-run ability, including a 99-yard touchdown among his 12 in 2021. Could get held up on in-line routes
8. Jake Ferguson, Wisconsin, 6-4, 250 pounds
Grandson of Wisconsin coaching legend Barry Alvarez. Four straight seasons with at least 30 catches, including at least one in all 47 career games. But actually stands out more as a willing run blocker.
9. Daniel Bellinger, San Diego, 6-4, 253 pounds
Not much production — just one season of more than 21 catches and 203 yards — which is a bit confusing based on athletic testing results. Will earn a roster spot as a regular on special teams coverage units.
10. Grant Calcaterra, SMU, 6-3, 241 pounds
Retired at Oklahoma in 2019 citing multiple concussions but returned with career-best numbers in starting all 12 games in 2021. Showed knack for slipping coverage on extended rollouts. Offers H-back versatility.
Jeremy Ruckert, Ohio State: Not often do Ohio State products have untapped potential, but scouts see this one-year starter as a future NFL starter whose ball skills were hidden by his in-line role. Asked to block Joey Bosa and Chase Young in practices.
Jalen Wydermyer, Texas A&M: Preseason second-round pick and arguably TE1 who now is seen by some as a late Day 3 pick. Too many drops, poor blocking and bombing NFL Scouting Combine testing will do that to a prospect.
Gerrit Prince, UAB: Zero star recruit as a receiver. Grew into a tight end at community college and hit it big in his sixth year of college, leading all FBS tight ends with 19.4 yards per catch and 10 touchdowns.