Pro Football Reference Blog

14 Best Tight Ends in the NFL

Posted by Jackson Michael on May 1, 2023

Who are the best tight ends in the NFL? Today we take a look at the best tight ends of 2022. Although receptions and touchdowns are key stats in considering NFL tight end rankings, it’s important to remember that tight ends also block. Some tight ends are great blockers and highly valuable to their teams, even if they don’t post gaudy numbers. NFL tight ends can also be valuable third-down targets for quarterbacks.

Photo of Travis Kelce

Travis Kelce

Travis Michael Kelce

Position: TE Throws: Right

6-5256lb (196cm, 116kg)

Team: Kansas City Chiefs

Born: October 5, 1989 in Westlake, OH (Age: 33-208d)

College: Cincinnati  (College Stats)

Weighted Career AV (100-95-…): 82 (380th overall since 1960)

High School: Cleveland Heights (OH)

Draft: Kansas City Chiefs in the 3rd round (63rd overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft.

Pronunciation: \KELL-see\

Instagram: killatrav

Relatives: Brother Jason Kelce

SUMMARY

2022

Career

G

17

144

AV

12

100

Rec

110

814

Yds

1338

10344

Y/R

12.2

12.7

TD

12

69

FantPt

206.3

1456.0

Travis Kelce is a consummate tight end. Kelce led all NFL tight ends in receiving touchdowns in 2022, with 12. He also topped the tight end rankings in several other categories. He was the only tight end to catch over 100 passes and gain over 1,000 yards receiving. Kelce’s catches often kept drives alive. Stathead tells us that Kelce caught 22 third-down passes for a first down, the fourth most of any player in the league. In total, he caught 78 passes for first downs on the season, meaning over 70 percent of his receptions went for a first down. Travis Kelce also broke 13 tackles and stood at the top of the NFL tight end rankings for receiving yards after catch (YAC) with 648. Those 648 yards were more yards than most tight ends had for total yardage on the season. In addition to being the most accomplished receiving tight end in the NFL, Kelce also proved himself as a tremendous blocker. As a result, Travis Kelce was named first-team All-Pro at tight end in 2022.


Photo of George Kittle

George Kittle

George Kittle

Position: TE

6-4250lb (193cm, 113kg)

Team: San Francisco 49ers

Born: October 9, 1993 in Madison, WI (Age: 29-204d)

College: Iowa  (College Stats)

Weighted Career AV (100-95-…): 42 (2356th overall since 1960)

High School: Norman (OK)

Draft: San Francisco 49ers in the 5th round (146th overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Instagram: gkittle46

Relatives: Cousin Henry Krieger-Coble

SUMMARY

2022

Career

G

15

82

AV

8

46

Rec

60

395

Yds

765

5254

Y/R

12.8

13.3

TD

11

31

FantPt

140.5

716.3

Although Kittle missed the first two games of 2022, he was still one of the best TEs in NFL football. George Kittle scored a touchdown on almost 20% of his receptions in 2022. His 11 receiving touchdowns were second only to Travis Kelce for NFL tight ends. His 12.8 yards per reception was higher than even Kelce’s. Kittle was named second-team All-Pro in 2022.  


Photo of Dallas Goedert

Dallas Goedert

Dallas Christopher Goedert

Position: TE

6-5256lb (196cm, 116kg)

Team: Philadelphia Eagles

Born: January 3, 1995 in Britton, SD (Age: 28-118d)

College: South Dakota St.

Weighted Career AV (100-95-…): 25 (4534th overall since 1960)

High School: Britton-Hecla (SD)

Draft: Philadelphia Eagles in the 2nd round (49th overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Pronunciation: \GOD-ert\

SUMMARY

2022

Career

G

12

69

AV

7

27

Rec

55

248

Yds

702

2997

Y/R

12.8

12.1

TD

3

19

FantPt

86.2

409.7

Dallas Goedert provided a highly dependable target for Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks in 2022. His 1.4 drop percentage was the lowest of all NFL tight ends with more than 30 receptions. Goedert tied with Kittle in yards per reception with 12.8, which was the highest for tight ends with more than 40 catches. He may not be the one who has the most touchdowns for NFL tight ends, but he is among the best NFL tight ends. In 2022, Goedert was the only one of the NFL’s starting tight ends to average over 10 yards per target.


Photo of T.J. Hockenson

T.J. Hockenson

T.J. Hockenson

Position: TE

6-5248lb (196cm, 112kg)

Team: Minnesota Vikings

Born: July 3, 1997 in Chariton, IA (Age: 25-302d)

College: Iowa  (College Stats)

Weighted Career AV (100-95-…): 21 (5285th overall since 1960)

High School: Chariton (IA)

Draft: Detroit Lions in the 1st round (8th overall) of the 2019 NFL Draft.

SUMMARY

2022

Career

G

17

57

AV

8

22

Rec

86

246

Yds

914

2587

Y/R

10.6

10.5

TD

6

18

FantPt

129.4

370.7

T.J. Hockenson played for two teams in 2022, the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings. The Lions traded him before the 2022 NFL trade deadline. Hockenson racked up over 900 yards receiving over the course of the season. That total placed him with the second most receiving yards for NFL tight ends. Hockenson also reeled in six touchdowns. The former first-round draft pick from Iowa ranked high in tackles broken and yards after catch among tight ends as well.


Photo of Dawson Knox

Dawson Knox

Dawson Alan Knox

Position: TE

6-4254lb (193cm, 115kg)

Team: Buffalo Bills

Born: November 14, 1996 in Brentwood, TN (Age: 26-168d)

College: Mississippi  (College Stats)

Weighted Career AV (100-95-…): 16 (6428th overall since 1960)

High School: Brentwood Academy (TN)

Draft: Buffalo Bills in the 3rd round (96th overall) of the 2019 NFL Draft.

SUMMARY

2022

Career

G

15

57

AV

5

17

Rec

48

149

Yds

517

1780

Y/R

10.8

11.9

TD

6

20

FantPt

87.7

297.3

Dawson Knox is recognized as one of the top NFL tight ends. In 2022, he caught 48 passes for 517 yards and scored 6 touchdowns. Such numbers helped Knox gain his first Pro Bowl selection. Knox’s catch percentage was 73.8, well above average in NFL tight end rankings. Over half of Knox’s catches resulted in a first down. The 2022 NFL season was the second straight in which Knox did not fumble. 


Photo of Mark Andrews

Mark Andrews

Mark Andrews

Position: TE

6-5256lb (196cm, 116kg)

Team: Baltimore Ravens

Born: September 6, 1995 in Scottsdale, AZ (Age: 27-237d)

College: Oklahoma  (College Stats)

Weighted Career AV (100-95-…): 39 (2656th overall since 1960)

High School: Desert Mountain (AZ)

Draft: Baltimore Ravens in the 3rd round (86th overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Instagram: mandrews_81

SUMMARY

2022

Career

G

15

77

AV

8

42

Rec

73

336

Yds

847

4313

Y/R

11.6

12.8

TD

5

34

FantPt

117.5

640.1

Pro Football Reference gave Mark Andrews an 8 AV rating for the 2022 NFL season, which tied him for second among tight ends. Despite missing two games, Andrews had a banner season, latching onto 73 catches for 847 yards. That placed him third among tight ends in both categories, making him one of the top NFL tight ends. Andrews made the Pro Bowl for the second consecutive year in 2022. A consistent performer, Mark Andrews has made the Pro Bowl in three of the past four seasons. His 48 first downs ranked second-best for NFL tight ends in 2022. average depth of target (ADOT) of 9.7 yards ranked best in NFL tight end rankings.


Photo of Pat Freiermuth

Pat Freiermuth

Patrick John Freiermuth

Position: TE

6-5258lb (196cm, 117kg)

Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

Born: October 25, 1998 in Newburyport, MA (Age: 24-188d)

College: Penn St.  (College Stats)

Weighted Career AV (100-95-…): 10 (8226th overall since 1960)

High School: Brooks School (MA)

Draft: Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2nd round (55th overall) of the 2021 NFL Draft.

SUMMARY

2022

Career

G

16

32

AV

6

10

Rec

63

123

Yds

732

1229

Y/R

11.6

10.0

TD

2

9

FantPt

85.2

176.9

Pat Freiermuth proved quite a bit in his second NFL season in 2022. The Penn State product caught 63 passes, 37 of which went for first downs. He finished in the top ten NFL tight ends in yards after catch (YAC), and his ADOT of 8.3 placed him in the top three in that category. Friermuth’s six broken tackles put him in the top 5 NFL te’s for that stat. 


Photo of Evan Engram

Evan Engram

Evan Michael Engram

Position: TE

6-3240lb (190cm, 108kg)

Team: Jacksonville Jaguars

Born: September 2, 1994 in Powder Springs, GA (Age: 28-241d)

College: Mississippi  (College Stats)

Weighted Career AV (100-95-…): 26 (4383rd overall since 1960)

High School: Hillgrove (GA)

Draft: New York Giants in the 1st round (23rd overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft.

SUMMARY

2022

Career

G

17

82

AV

7

29

Rec

73

335

Yds

766

3594

Y/R

10.5

10.7

TD

4

20

FantPt

103.9

494.7

The former New York Giants tight end enjoyed a productive season in 2022, his first with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Evan Engram’s 73 receptions tied him with Mark Andrews as third most for NFL tight ends. Engram shined after the catch as well, cranking out 465 YAC, second-best in the NFL tight end rankings. He set a personal career high for receptions but didn’t fumble a single time. His 766 reception yards during the 2022 NFL season also was a personal best.


Photo of Cole Kmet

Cole Kmet

Cole Kmet

Position: TE

6-6260lb (198cm, 117kg)

Team: Chicago Bears

Born: March 10, 1999 in Lake Barrington, IL (Age: 24-052d)

College: Notre Dame  (College Stats)

Weighted Career AV (100-95-…): 14 (6931st overall since 1960)

High School: St. Viator (IL)

Draft: Chicago Bears in the 2nd round (43rd overall) of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Relatives: Uncle Jeff Zgonina

SUMMARY

2022

Career

G

17

50

AV

7

14

Rec

50

138

Yds

544

1399

Y/R

10.9

10.1

TD

7

9

FantPt

97.3

192.5

Cole Kmet caught seven touchdown passes in 2022. That was third best for NFL tight ends. It was the highest total on his team, the Chicago Bears, and he caught over 35 percent of the Bears touchdown passes. He also led the Bears in receptions and receiving yards. An established performer in just his second NFL season, Kmet earned an AV of 7, good enough to tie for fourth in that category among tight ends. 


Photo of Mike Gesicki

Mike Gesicki

Michael Williams Gesicki

Position: TE Throws: Right

6-6247lb (198cm, 112kg)

Team: New England Patriots

Born: October 3, 1995 in Lakewood, NJ (Age: 27-210d)

College: Penn St.  (College Stats)

Weighted Career AV (100-95-…): 19 (5700th overall since 1960)

High School: Southern Regional (NJ)

Draft: Miami Dolphins in the 2nd round (42nd overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Pronunciation: \guh-SICK-ee\

SUMMARY

2022

Career

G

17

81

AV

3

21

Rec

32

231

Yds

362

2617

Y/R

11.3

11.3

TD

5

18

FantPt

66.2

367.7

Gesicki’s five touchdown receptions in 2022 placed him among the best te’s in NFL football that season. He had an ADOT of 9.4, placing him high in that category as well. Gesicki isn’t a superstar tight end and has yet to make a Pro Bowl roster. But his ability to find the end zone lands him on this list of the NFL’s best tight ends. 


Photo of David Njoku

David Njoku

David Njoku  (Chief)

Position: TE

6-4246lb (193cm, 111kg)

Team: Cleveland Browns

Born: July 10, 1996 in Cedar Grove, NJ (Age: 26-295d)

College: Miami (FL)  (College Stats)

Weighted Career AV (100-95-…): 18 (5929th overall since 1960)

High School: Cedar Grove (NJ)

Draft: Cleveland Browns in the 1st round (29th overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Pronunciation: \n-JOE-koo\

SUMMARY

2022

Career

G

14

79

AV

6

19

Rec

58

206

Yds

628

2382

Y/R

10.8

11.6

TD

4

19

FantPt

84.0

349.6

David Njoku was one of the best tight ends of 2022, and his stats proved it. He placed in the top ten NFL tight ends in many categories, including receptions, reception yards, first downs, lowest drop percentage, and AV. Njoku posted those numbers despite being inactive for three games. He added four touchdown receptions to his resume for the season. His 58 catches in 2022 were a career high.


Photo of Jordan Akins

Jordan Akins

Jordan Akins

Position: TE

6-4243lb (193cm, 110kg)

Team: Cleveland Browns

Born: April 19, 1992 in Locust Grove, GA (Age: 31-012d)

College: Central Florida  (College Stats)

Weighted Career AV (100-95-…): 14 (6931st overall since 1960)

High School: Strong Rock Christian (GA), Union Grove (GA)

Draft: Houston Texans in the 3rd round (98th overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft.

SUMMARY

2022

Career

G

15

73

AV

4

15

Rec

37

151

Yds

495

1755

Y/R

13.4

11.6

TD

5

8

FantPt

79.5

220.2

Jordan Akins’ 13.4 yards per reception ranked first in tight end rankings for the 2022 NFL season, for tight ends with a minimum of 35 catches on the year. Akins also scored five touchdowns. Akins totaled 495 yards on the season, but his average yards per target sparkled at over 9 YPT.  


Photo of Tyler Higbee

Tyler Higbee

Tyler Higbee

Position: TE

6-6255lb (198cm, 115kg)

Team: Los Angeles Rams

Born: January 1, 1993 in Atlanta, GA (Age: 30-120d)

College: Western Kentucky  (College Stats)

Weighted Career AV (100-95-…): 25 (4534th overall since 1960)

High School: East Lake (FL)

Draft: Los Angeles Rams in the 4th round (110th overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft.

Twitter: @Ty_Higs19

SUMMARY

2022

Career

G

17

110

AV

6

28

Rec

72

306

Yds

620

3107

Y/R

8.6

10.2

TD

3

20

FantPt

80.0

432.8

Tyler Higbee was one of the NFL’s top tight ends in receptions for the 2022 season. He hauled in 72 catches, one of only five NFL tight ends to grab more than 70 passes on the year. His 602 yards placed him in the top ten NFL tight ends for that statistic. Higbee’s 32 first downs also landed him in the top ten in that important metric as well. 


Photo of Dalton Schultz

Dalton Schultz

Dalton Chase Schultz

Position: TE

6-5244lb (196cm, 110kg)

Team: Houston Texans

Born: July 11, 1996 in Sandy, UT (Age: 26-294d)

College: Stanford  (College Stats)

Weighted Career AV (100-95-…): 18 (5929th overall since 1960)

High School: Bingham (UT)

Draft: Dallas Cowboys in the 4th round (137th overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft.

SUMMARY

2022

Career

G

15

75

AV

6

19

Rec

57

211

Yds

577

2122

Y/R

10.1

10.1

TD

5

17

FantPt

85.7

312.2

Schultz placed in the top 10 NFL tight ends in multiple categories in 2022, despite not playing in the last two games of the season. He gained 577 yards receiving for the Dallas Cowboys, second highest on a team ranked third in the NFL in total offense. He also scored five touchdowns. His 57 receptions narrowly missed the top ten for tight ends by a single catch.


Who is the best tight ends in the NFL right now?

A few of the best NFL tight ends right now include Travis Kelce, George Kittle, T.J. Hockenson, and Dallas Goedert.

Who are top 10 tight ends?

Although it is impossible to comprehensively rank NFL tight ends solely on statistics, ten of the best NFL TEs include Travis Kelce, George Kittle, T.J. Hockenson, Dallas Goedert, Dawson Knox, Mark Andrews, Evan Engram, Cole Kmet, Peter Freiermuth, and David Njoku. All were among stat leaders for TEs in 2022.

Who is the #1 TE in the NFL?

Travis Kelce was named first-team All-Pro in 2022. He also topped PFR’s AV tight end rankings. Additionally, Kelce had the most touchdowns by tight ends and the most receptions and receiving yards by a tight end in 2022. Overall, one might say he is likely the #1 best tight end in the NFL.

Who is the best tight end in the NFL 2023?

Travis Kelce dominated NFL tight end rankings for most touchdowns, receptions, and receiving yards in 2022. He also was the top NFL tight end in PFR’s AV. Barring injury, Travis Kelce looks to be the best NFL tight end going into 2023.


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