In today's NFL, the Tight End position is more versatile than ever. Today's TE's at the highest levels are being utilized all over the formation as a receiver while providing inline blocking, similar to an offensive lineman in the run game and as a pass protector.
NFL teams invested anywhere from 1% to 15% in cap space in 2022 toward their TE room.
Below is a list of critical components we use to grade the TE position during the NFL Draft process. Every TE receives a grade on a scale of 1-10 for each of the below components during the scouting process. Once each player component is graded, we attach a final grade to indicate where the player stands before entering the NFL Draft, and then we attach a ceiling grade based on future potential.
Scouting the tight end (TE) position in the NFL requires evaluating a player's versatility, athleticism, and blocking ability.
Here are some key factors to consider when scouting a TE:
Size and Speed: A TE should have the size to block effectively and the speed to create separation in the passing game. This includes their ability to run crisp routes, create mismatches against linebackers and safeties, and gain yards after the catch.
Receiving Ability: A TE who can catch the ball consistently and make plays downfield is a valuable asset to any offense. This includes their ability to catch the ball in traffic, adjust to poorly thrown balls, and make contested catches
Route Running: A TE needs to be able to run a variety of routes effectively, including short, intermediate, and deep routes. This includes their ability to use their size and speed to create separation from defenders and their ability to read coverages and make adjustments on the fly.
Blocking Ability: A TE needs to be able to block effectively in the running game and in pass protection. This includes their ability to engage defenders at the line of scrimmage, maintain leverage, and sustain blocks downfield.
Football IQ: A TE's football intelligence is vital to make quick decisions and adjustments on the field. This includes their ability to recognize defensive coverages, understand offensive schemes, and make adjustments at the line of scrimmage.
Durability: A TE's durability is essential, as they will be taking a lot of hits on the field. This includes their ability to stay healthy and recover quickly from injuries.
When scouting a TE, it's important to evaluate all of these factors and the player's overall performance on the field. It's also important to consider the team's specific needs and whether the TE's skills and attributes match the team's offensive system and style of play. Additionally, it's important to consider the TE's ball security, as fumbles can be a major liability for the offense.