Who are the best NFL tight ends in the world?
The tight ends in NFL play a crucial role as it has a hybrid position of both an offensive lineman and a wide receiver. The role of the tight ends depends on the coach’s tactical preferences and philosophy and team dynamic.
Even with these crucial roles in the team, the position of tight ends is often underrated. However, they play the dual role of a wider receiver and blocking plays.
In some teams, the role of the tight ends is even more critical to the team that entire packages are designed to fit the individual skill sets. A small change can cost a team their win, so the positions of a player impact the whole team.
So today, we bring you some of the top tight ends of the NFL who play these roles all too brilliantly. This list consists of the best tight ends of 2023.
This list of best NFL tight ends is inherently subjective, and some views might be different. So without further delay, let us take a look at the top 12 best NFL tight ends in the world.
Top 12 Best NFL Tight Ends in the World
This list has been prepared from various trusted websites like House Enterprise.
Before diving into the details, let us take a quick look at the table below.
|1. Travis Kelce||Kansas City Chief|
|2. George Kittle||San Francisco 49ers|
|3. Darren Waller||Las Vegas Raiders|
|4. Kyle Pitts||Atlanta Falcons|
|5. Mark Andrews||Baltimore Ravens|
|6. Dallas Goedert||Philadelphia Eagles|
|7. T.J. Hockenson||Detroit Lions|
|8. Mike Gesicki||Miami Dolphins|
|9. Rob Gronkowski||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|10. Logan Thomas||Washington Football Team|
|11. Noah Fant||Denver Broncos|
|12. Hunter Henry||New England Patriots|
1. Travis Kelce
- Team: Kansas City Chiefs
We will begin our list of the top 12 best NFL tight ends in the world with Travis Kelce.
Travis Kelce is a 33 year-old tight end playing for the Kansas City Chiefs. San Francisco 449ers drafted him in the third round of the 2013 NFL draft.
Kelce put on a dominant show this past season, and therefore, he has earned a top spot on our list. He has a record of 2,639 receiving yards over the last five seasons, which is the most than any other tight ends or wide receiver in the NFL history.
In addition to that record, Kelce has the NFL records for the most 1000-yard receiving seasons by a tight end (5), most receiving yards in a season by a tight end (1,416), and most 100-reception seasons by a tight end (2).
In the 2021 season, Kelce became the fastest tight end in NFL history to record 8,000 career yards in a Chiefs game vs. the Baltimore Ravens.
As of week 11, 2021, Kelce’s Career Statistic states 679 receptions, 8,702 receiving yards, and 53 receiving touchdowns.
2. George Kittle
- Team: San Francisco 49ers
The next tight-end player on our list is George Kittle. He is a 29 year old tight end player for the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers drafted Kittle in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL draft.
In the 2020 season, Kittle missed most of the game with a broken bone in his foot, only playing eight games.
Again on October 9, 2021, he was placed on injured reserved. This time he suffered from a calf injury. Luckily, he was activated on November 6, and he managed to catch 6 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown.
Since 2018, Kittle has been the highest-graded tight end in the NFL with the highest receiving grade and third-highest run-blocking grade.
The NFL records that Kittle has under his name includes most receiving yards in half by a tight end (210), the first tight end to lead the league in yards after catch (870), and the most receiving yards in the first three seasons by a tight end (2,945).
The career NFL statistics of Kittle as of week 11, 2021, reads 298 receptions, 3,991 receiving yards, and 17 receiving touchdowns.
3. Darren Waller
- Team: Las Vegas Raiders
Darren Waller is a 30 year-old tight end for the Las Vegas Raiders. The Baltimore Ravens drafted Goedert with the 204th overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft in the sixth round.
Waller has been climbing on the top position rank with his play over the last two seasons. For each of the past two seasons, he has earned PFF receiving grades of at least 85.0.
In the 2020 season, he broke out on 145 targets and was ranked 16th among qualified tight ends in Air Yards per target per Fantasy Data. His 2.3 yards per route run that season was more than any other tight ends, including Kelce.
Additionally, Waller established a career-high in the reception of 107, 1,196 receiving yards, and 9 touchdowns. His reception was ranked fourth in NFL and first among tight ends.
Waller is a brilliant tight-end player who can line up out wide and beat cornerbacks as a receiver. His career highlight award includes the Pro Bowl of 2020.
As of week 12, 2021, Waller’s career NFL Statistics is 268 receptions, 3,162 receiving yards, and 16 receiving touchdowns.
4. Kyle Pitts
- Team: Atlanta Falcons
Playing as a tight end for the Atlanta Falcons is a 22 year-old Kyle Pitts. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Falcons drafted him the fourth overall in the 2021 NFL draft.
Pitts is the highest-drafted tight end in NFL history. Although he might be a rookie, he is not to be taken lightly. He pairs his height and arm with high-end speed and rare cutting ability at his size.
In his NFL debut, Pitts recorded 163 receiving records. This record is the Falcons franchise record for receiving yards in a single game by a tight end.
We can expect great things from this Falcons tight end in the future. He has signed a four-year rookie contract with the Falcons worth $32.9 million on June 29, 2021.
As of week 10, 2021, Pitts Career NFL states 40 receptions, 606 receiving yards, and 1 receiving touchdown.
5. Mark Andrews
- Team: Baltimore Ravens
Mark Andrews is one of the few tight ends in the league, which, in recent years, has served as his team’s primary target. This 27 year-old tight end for the Baltimore Ravens is considered one of the best NFL tight ends in the world.
The Baltimore Ravens drafted Andrews in the third round of the 2018 NFL draft. Since 2019, Andrews (185) and Marquise Brown (160) are the only players of the Falcons with 100-plus targets.
Over the two seasons, his 12 red-zone touchdowns are tied with Kelce for the most at the position. His most notable career highlight award includes Pro Bowl 2019.
In the Week 5 of the 2021 season, Andrews caught 11 of 13 targets for 147 yards which were his career-highs.
Andrew’s Career NFL statistics as of Week 11, 2021, reads 212 receptions, 2,801 receiving yards, and 24 receiving touchdowns.
6. Dallas Goedert
- Team: Philadelphia Eagles
Number sixth on our list of 12 top best NFL tight ends in the world is the tight end playing for the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles drafted Dallas Goedert in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft.
Born in Aberdeen, South Dakota, this 28 year-old player played college football at South Dakota State.
Goedert is one of the tight ends in the NFL with receiving and run-blocking grades of 80.0 or higher since 2018. Over the three years, he ranked seventh in receiving a grade and first in run-blocking grade.
In 2020, Goedert suffered an ankle injury and was placed on an injured reserve. His Career NFL statistics as of Week 11, 2021 include 171receptions, 1,956 receiving yards, and 14 receiving touchdowns.
Goedert has signed a four-year extension contract with the Eagles on November 19, 2021.
7. T.J. Hockenson
- Team: Detroit Lions
Born Thomas James Hockenson, T.J. Hockenson is a tight end for the Detroit Lions. This 25 year-old tight end was drafted by the Lions in the first round as the eighth overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft.
In the 2020 season, Hockenson managed to raise his PFF grade from 60.5 as a rookie to 75.4 this past season. In addition, he recorded both receiving and run-blocking grades of at least 70.0. He was also a former top-10 pick.
Hockenson offers a solid all-around game that makes him a top-10 tight end in the league. His notable career highlight award win includes Pro Bowl 2020.
On July 29, 2020, he was placed on a reserve/ COVID – 19 list but returned after 10 days. In the same season, Week 7, he caught the game-winning touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford, giving the Lions their third victory of the season.
As of Week 11, 2021, Hockenson’s Career NFL statistics reads 153 receptions, 1,589 receiving yards, and 10 receiving touchdowns.
8. Mike Gesicki
- Team: Miami Dolphins
27 year-old Mike Gesicki is one of the younger tight ends rising the ranks since the past season. He is a tight end for the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins drafted him in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft.
In the history of Penn State, Gesicki is the record holder for the most receptions by a tight end. As a rookie, his PFF grade record was 50.2, which rose to 78.1 this past season.
Over the past two seasons, Gesicki has been the only tight end in the NFL with over 500 routes run from the slot. Not only that, he has shown significant improvement in his play over his first three seasons.
In the 2020 Week 2, Gesicki finished with eight receptions for 130 yards and his first touchdown. It also marked his first time in his NFL career with 100+ receiving yards in a single game.
Gesicki’s Career NFL statistics as of Week 11, 2021 reads as 175 receptions, 2,054 receiving yards, and 13 receiving touchdowns.
9. Rob Gronkowski
- Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Rob Gronkowski was born Robert James Gronkowski on May 14, 1989, in Amherst, New York. He is a tight end for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The New England Patriots selected Gronkowski as the 42nd pick in the second round of the 2010 NFL draft. He is the tight end with several NFL records under his name. He is the first player as a tight end to lead the league in receiving touchdowns in 2011 that is 17.
In addition to that, the other records held by Gronkowski are the most career touchdowns in the postseason by a tight end (14) and total touchdowns in a season by a tight end (18).
In the 2020 season, he had a receiving grade of 78.4. Again, this was higher than his mark with the Patriots in 2018.
The notable career awards of Gronkowski include Super Bowl champion four times, NFL Comeback Player of the Year, First-Team All-Pro four times, Pro Bowl five times.
Similarly, it also includes NFL receiving All-Decades Team and NFL 2010s All-Decade Team. Gronkowski’s Career NFL statistics as of Week 11, 2021, include 588 receptions, 8,740 receiving yards, and 90 receiving touchdowns.
10. Logan Thomas
- Team: Washington Football Team
Logan Thomas is the former quarterback who transitioned to a tight end. 31 year old Thomas is a tight end for the Washington Football Team. Arizona Cardinals drafted Thomas in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL draft.
Thomas played as a reserve quarterback for the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants and then switched to the tight end position in 2016, playing for the Detroit Lions.
In season 2020, Thomas playing for the Washington Football Team catches over twice as many passes (72) than the rest of his career combined (35). Washington’s tight end was also the only tight end in the NFL to play over 1,000 regular-season snaps.
Thomas has signed a three-year contract extension worth $24 million with the Falcons on July 28, 2021. He was placed on injured reserve on October 6, 2021.
As of Week 10, 2021, Thomas’s Career NFL statistics include 119 receptions, 1,104 receiving yards, and 10 receiving touchdowns.
11. Noah Fant
- Team: Denver Broncos
Noah Fant is another rising tight end climbing the ranks of the best NFL tight end. This 25 year-old Denver Broncos tight end was born in Omaha, Nebraska.
The Broncos drafted Fant in the first round of the 2019 NFL draft. In the 2020 season, he made a giant leap from his rookie year by improving his receiving grade from 61.4 to 80.3.
In the same previous season, his 457 receiving yards on passes within nine yards of the line of scrimmage was ranked in the fourth position. He won the PFWA All-Rookie Team in 2019.
Fant caught his first receiving touchdown in 2020 with 5 passes for 81 yards. As of Week 10, 2021, his Career NFL statistics include 144 receptions, 1,614 receiving yards, and 9 touchdowns.
12. Hunter Henry
- Team: New England Patriots
We will be closing off this list of best NFL tight ends of the world with Hunter Henry. He is a 28 year-old tight-end player for the New England Patriots. San Diego Chargers drafted Henry in the second round of the 2016 NFL draft.
Early in his two seasons with the Chargers, Henry earned overall grades of 83.0 and 87.2. However, his progress was stopped short with injuries.
Since 2019, his PFF grade of 72.7 has ranked 14th at the tight end position. Henry signed a three-year, $37.5 million contract with the New England Patriots on March 19, 2021.
In the 2021 season, he caught seven touchdown passes, establishing himself as a frequent red-zone target for the rookie quarterback Mac Jones.
His notable career award included PFWA All-Rookie Team in 2016. As of Week 11, 2021, Henry’s Career NFL statistics state 229 receptions, 2,700 receiving yards, and 28 receiving touchdowns.
The NFL tight ends are the most underrated position among all the positions in the team. As mentioned in the beginning, the subject ranking is inherently subjective. Many other tight ends have not made it to the list.
What do you think of those included in our list of the top best NFL tight ends around the world?