2023 NFL Draft Tight End Rankings: An exciting and varied class

SOUTH BEND, INDIANA - SEPTEMBER 10: Michael Mayer #87 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in action against the Marshall Thundering Herd during the second half at Notre Dame Stadium on September 10, 2022 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
SOUTH BEND, INDIANA - SEPTEMBER 10: Michael Mayer #87 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in action against the Marshall Thundering Herd during the second half at Notre Dame Stadium on September 10, 2022 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Josh Whyle is ranked 6th in these 2023 NFL Draft Tight End Rankings
ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND – OCTOBER 23: Tight end Josh Whyle #81 of the Cincinnati Bearcats carries the ball after catching a pass for a touchdown against the Navy Midshipmen in the first half at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on October 23, 2021 in Annapolis, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Pick your poison in round 3: Whyle, Musgrave and Kraft all carry major upside within these 2023 NFL Draft Tight End Rankings

. . Josh Whyle. 6. player. 830.

Mid 3rd Round, 6’7/248lbs

Whyle has been going under the radar and is ranked just outside the top five in these 2023 NFL Draft tight end rankings.

Possessing a huge frame, he looks like a massive wideout and plays like it. Whyle’s combine results do not quite echo what you see on the field as he plays much faster than his 4.69-second 40-yard dash suggests.

He is an excellent route runner and has real YAC ability. Whyle is a good hands catcher and consistently plucks the ball out of the air in stride, and can tuck and run in one motion with no wasted motion. He is a fluid mover in space and has the ability to get open with regularity.

Should be decent with zone blocking at the next level, but Whyle is not a natural in-line blocker. While his frame and length are huge benefits in the passing game, he does not have a low center of gravity and is lacking a thick trunk, which lessens his natural anchor. His long legs and high-set frame may inhibit his overall ceiling when blocking in the run game at the NFL level.

Questions abound regarding his raw power compared to some of his peers ranked above him in this class, but Whyle’s impressive athleticism should help him find a home as an excellent TE2 in the NFL.

Luke Musgrave. 7. player. 832. . .

Late 3rd Round, 6’6/253lbs

Major hype started to build for Musgrave before the combine and his performance at the event then helped to amplify this. Musgrave has length and can run with the best of the players listed in these 2023 NFL Draft tight end rankings.

The Oregon State product does carry major athletic appeal but is a bit more of a project than some may expect. Musgrave does not possess convincing physicality or power and so is not yet a convincing blocker. He also sometimes gets knocked around by defenders in coverage.

Musgrave wins because he has the pass-catching chops that will enable him to be aligned across the formation. He has decent hands and adjusts well to the ball in the air. As long as he is not overmatched in press, he can run by linebackers, but questions remain concerning his ability to consistently win at the catch point in traffic.

Due to injury in 2022, there is a smaller sample size than ideal to judge Musgrave on, but he will be drafted for his potential as a mismatch at some point on day two.

Late 3rd Round, 6’5/254lbs

The final tight end that could potentially hear his name called on day two, Tucker Kraft is another prospect in these 2023 NFL Draft tight end rankings who will be drafted as an enticing project at the position. Kraft has great size and like Musgrave, can line up across the formation.

Another excellent athlete who possesses terrific body control through the catch and with the ball in his hands as a runner. He is scintillating to watch for a man of his size as he weaves through traffic utilizing his flexible hips and ability to run through tackles.

The question mark here though is the level of the Jackrabbits’ competition and this is what makes him a tough projection.

Further questions abound in the run game too, as his blocking could be more overwhelming. He just leaves you wanting more in terms of his physicality when taking the caliber of opposition into account.

Having said this, there is no doubt that Kraft possesses excellent traits and a team will bet on them. His ceiling is very high, but can he get there?

Early-Mid 4th Round, 6’4/245lbs

Allen is a proven red zone weapon with a real ability to post up defenders effectively in this area of the field. He extends very well to high point the ball and make the grab, not just in the red zone, but in all areas of the field.

The ex-Tiger is effective as a weapon down the seam and across the middle of the field and he is reliable in traffic on contested catch situations. Allen has also shown that he is a useful asset leaking out from the backfield and will become a useful safety valve for his quarterback in the NFL on short underneath routes.

He has decent athletic ability as demonstrated by his usage on screens, but he is unlikely to run by NFL defenders or overpower multiple tacklers. Allen does not appear to have the build or raw strength to become a top-tier blocker, but he does show willing.

Should find a role as a pass-catching tight end in the NFL with the potential to block adequately in certain situations.

Mid 4th Round, 6’4/253lbs

Strange is a physical prospect who blocks well. He has a genuinely impressive ability to get off the ball and accelerates quickly on his routes. On extended run plays, he adjusts to blocks at the second level well and is not afraid to do this dirty work. Strange is certainly more powerful than he looks.

As a ball carrier, he moves fluidly and could have been used more in this sense for Penn State, giving off a feeling that his best football is still to come. He offers potential after the catch and could become a true weapon if schemed effectively.

Comparably against his peers, his potential in the passing game may be slightly limited as he does not quite have the catch radius as some of the other players in these 2023 NFL Draft tight end rankings. Nor is he a particularly impressive route runner.

He does possess solid hands though and will compete through the catch, so he should not be completely discounted as an afterthought in this class.


Strange is a better athlete than his combine stats suggest and he has effective functional athleticism. It is easy to wish that there was more variety and usage to his game in college, as suggested earlier, but he is one to watch as someone who may blossom at the next level.

Perhaps ends up as a reliable TE2 who moves around the formation and is a jack of all trades, but a master of none.

2023 NFL Draft Tight End Rankings: Best of the rest available in rounds 5-7

11. Will Mallory — Miami — Late 4th Round/6’4/239lbs

12. Zack Kuntz — Old Dominion — Late 4th Round/6’7/255lbs

13. Cameron Latu — Alabama — 5th Round/6’4/242lbs

14. Brayden Willis — Oklahoma — 6th Round/6’3/241lbs

15. Payne Durham — Purdue — 6th Round/6’5/253

How do your ratings compare to my 2023 NFL Draft Tight End Rankings? Who would you draft for your team? Let me know on Twitter @BenAMatthews