Here’s the fourth story of our position-by-position NFL draft series. Today, we’ll look at the top tight ends.
Brevin Jordan doesn’t lack confidence.
While most of the attention at the tight end position leading to this year’s NFL draft has centered around Florida’s Kyle Pitts, the Miami standout Jordan believes he has the chance to be a productive weapon with the capability to cause mismatches. A move tight end — meaning he can move around the formation and line up at numerous spots — Jordan said his receiving capabilities will shine in the pass-happy NFL.
He likened his big-play potential to a certain former Miami star who concluded his football career with an induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“Michael Irvin, that’s the original ‘Playmaker’ here at ‘The U,’ ” Jordan said. “I think I’m ‘The Playmaker Jr.’ I’m a tight end who can line up all over the field. You can put me in the backfield, you can put me in the slot, the outside. I’m a big dude, a stockier guy.”
Pitts’ measurables include that he’s 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds. That, with his speed and position flexibility, has him as a potential option to go in the top five of this year’s NFL draft. Jordan, conversely, is 6-2 but at a similar weight of 247 pounds. He has good speed and can flex out as a receiver, too, but can also line up next to a tackle and block.
Jordan has even caught passes in the flat lined up at fullback. Jordan, who caught 38 passes for 576 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior in 2020, said this kind of versatility should make him an ideal draft pick for any team.
“Any offensive coordinator who has the chance to meet me in the NFL is going to love me,” Jordan said. “Every offensive coordinator I had here during my time at Miami loved me. You can line me up anywhere on the field, and I’ll make plays. Dan Enos in my sophomore year, he lined me up at fullback, and I’m running flat routes from fullback, I’m lead blocking from fullback. You can literally line me up anywhere you want, and I’ll make plays for you.”
Jordan figures to be one of the first five tight ends selected in the draft. However, the draft analysts have only two tight ends pegged for the first two rounds.
Behind Pitts, the consensus second tight end predicted to go off the board is Penn State’s Pat Freiermuth, who earned the nickname “Baby Gronk” because of what his teammates perceived as similarities to Tampa Bay’s Rob Gronkowski. Freiermuth has received a second-round grade.
Behind Freiermuth, there are a handful of tight ends, including Jordan, who teams will turn to in the middle to late rounds to improve their rosters. Grouped among that next tier with Jordan is Notre Dame’s Tommy Tremble, a similar type of tight end at 6-3 and 241 pounds.
Most of the higher-ranked tight ends have the versatility to move around the offensive formation to catch passes and block from the different spots. Tremble, who played at Wesleyan School and is the son of former Georgia Bulldog Greg Tremble, sees himself in that mold as well, although he wasn’t used often in the passing game at Notre Dame. In 2020, Tremble caught only 19 passes for 218 yards.
“I see myself as a guy who can do all of that,” Tremble said. “I lined up in the slot, out wide, as a wing on the line, as a fullback. I feel like I’m a guy who can play all those positions. I think for the next level, what I’m going to bring is a guy who’s a complete tight end. I’m a guy who can do it all. I think my biggest strength is my versatility in all aspects of the game.”
The move tight end has become an integral part of offensive football in the NFL. The matchup advantages these tight ends can get against linebackers and safeties are often key to an offense’s success.
That’s an area Jordan believes he can exploit early into his career.
“It’s about creating mismatches and getting a linebacker on a tight end or getting a strong safety on the tight end,” Jordan said. “You want those type of mismatches. When you can stay on the field at all times and line up all over the field, it’s a mismatch. You want to be able to have a linebacker guarding a tight end. I will tell you right now, if a linebacker is guarding me in the NFL, I will win nine out of 10 times.
“The one time I might not win I might fall, I might catch a cramp in my calf muscle or something like that. You line up against a linebacker and get a mismatch like that, it’s a win.”
AJC’S POSITION-BY-POSITION SERIES
QUARTERBACKS: How far will Justin Fields drop in draft? | Top 10 QBs
RUNNING BACKS: Plenty of prospects to pick from | Top 10 RBs
WIDE RECEIVERS: Draft deep with talent | Top 10 WRs
TIGHT ENDS: Ability to create mismatches is key | Top 10 TEs