5. Hunter Long, Boston College, 6-5, 254 pounds (fourth): Long fits the bill with his measurables, having the necessary height and weight that NFL personnel like to see when drafting a tight end. A quality pass-catching option at tight end, Long caught 57 passes for 685 yards and five touchdowns during his junior season in 2020. At Boston College, he moved around the formation, giving him versatility at the next level.
Georgia tight end Tre McKitty (87) gets some distance from a Tennessee defender for extra yardage Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, at Sanford Stadium in Athens. (Andrew Davis Tucker/UGA Sports)
Credit: UGA Sports
Credit: UGA Sports
6. Tre’ McKitty, Georgia, 6-4, 246 pounds (fifth): McKitty never was in a position to become a volume tight end at Florida State or Georgia, where he landed as a graduate transfer in 2020. But at the Senior Bowl this year, McKitty showed he has what it takes to be a capable receiving target in the NFL. McKitty was injured throughout the 2020 season, but still put together some quality blocking tape.
7. Ben Mason, Michigan, 6-2, 246 pounds (fifth): Mason rarely was asked to catch the ball. However, Mason’s ability as a blocker may be unmatched in this year’s class. A dominant blocking tight end, Mason has the skill set to become an in-line tight end who can also lead block at fullback. He even has the ability to line up at defensive tackle, which is something he did with the Wolverines in 2019.
8. Tony Poljan, Virginia, 6-6, 251 pounds (sixth): A former quarterback in high school, Poljan has the size to provide matchup advantages in man coverage over the middle of the field. As a senior, Poljan caught 38 passes for 411 yards and a career-best six touchdowns. Despite converting to tight end in college, Poljan displayed good blocking ability, which could translate at the NFL level.
9. John Bates, Boise State, 6-5, 250 pounds (sixth): Spending five years with the Broncos, Bates developed into a fundamental blocker who has the power to take on linebackers in the run game. Bates is a strong run blocker and pass protector as he wasn’t asked to catch passes too often. He finished his collegiate career with 47 receptions for 579 yards and two touchdowns over the past four seasons.
Mississippi tight end Kenny Yeboah (84) runs past Alabama linebacker Christian Harris (8) for long yardage during the first half Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, in Oxford, Miss. (Rogelio V. Solis/AP)
10. Kenny Yeboah, Mississippi, 6-3, 257 pounds (sixth/seventh): A graduate transfer from Temple, Yeboah saw more time in the passing game during his fifth season of college ball than he had previously. As a senior, Yeboah caught 27 passes for 524 yards and six touchdowns. Even at 250 pounds, he could stand to improve his blocking as his early contributions at the NFL level will be as a receiving option.
Teams in need: Dolphins, Falcons, Rams, Texans, Titans.
Need area for Falcons: Yes. Lee Smith is a free agent in 2022, and Hayden Hurst could be a free agent if the Falcons don’t pick up his fifth-year option.
Top 5 TEs for 2022 draft: Texas A&M’s Jalen Wydermyer, Iowa State’s Charlie Kolar, Washington’s Cade Otton, Oklahoma’s Austin Stogner, Cincinnati’s Josh Whyle.
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