Skip to main content
Presented by

Triple Take: Tight ends

The "Triple Take" continues its look at the 2024 NFL Draft with a breakdown of the tight ends. The Steelers Radio Network trio of Matt Williamson, Dale Lolley and Mike Prisuta give their takes on the top prospects at the position.

The opinions of these Steelers Radio Network personalities do not reflect the views of the Steelers organization.

Stay up-to-date with Steelers draft news by downloading the Steelers Official Mobile App (Apple Store | Google Play) and enabling the "Draft" push notification category (More --> Settings --> Notifications).

Dale's Take …

We could have a top-10 tight end taken in the first round for the third time in the past handful of seasons. But after Brock Bowers, there's not expected to be a tight end selected in the first round this year. And Bowers might be the biggest wildcard of the first round. He could go as high as fifth. He could fall somewhere into the teens based on need. And this class isn't nearly as deep as last year's record-setting group.

Sleeper - Tip Reiman, Illinois (6-5, 271 lbs.) - While most tight ends coming out of college are in the 240 to 250-pound range, Reiman is a full-sized player at the position. And despite that, he wowed people at the NFL Scouting Combine by running a 4.64-second 40-yard dash and nailing the agility drills. Reiman, a former walk-on who was a captain by his final season, doesn't quite live up to that athleticism on tape, but he's a solid in-line blocker and perhaps untapped overall in the passing game.

#5 - Erick All, Iowa (6-4, 252 lbs.) - When in doubt, take an Iowa tight end. They all seem to work out just fine in the NFL. All played his first four seasons at Michigan before transferring to Iowa last season. He's played just 10 games the past two seasons because of injuries, but seven came in 2023 when he caught 21 passes for 299 yards and three touchdowns. Considering Iowa's well-known offensive issues, that's like catching 50 passes for another program.

#4 - Cade Stover, Ohio State (6-4, 247 lbs.) - Unlike some recent Ohio State tight ends, Stover is more of a threat for in the passing game. But he will do some blocking, as well. Has the speed to threaten defenses vertically. Stover had 77 catches for nearly 1,000 yards the past two seasons for the Buckeyes, adding 10 touchdowns.

#3 - Theo Johnson, Penn State (6-6, 259 lbs.) - Another jumbo-sized tight end that can move, Johnson ran a 4.57-second 40-yard dash at the Combine, then showed off a vertical jump of 39.5 inches. He needs to get more consistent in his blocker, bending his knees rather than his waist, which causes him to overextend at times, but that's what coaching is for. He's got the tools to do it. Had 11 touchdowns the past two seasons, including seven in 2023, proving to be a red zone threat.

#2 - Ja'Tavion Sanders, Texas (6-4, 245 lbs.) - A bulked-up wide receiver, Sanders is a talented pass catcher who can stretch the field and use his body to screen off defenders. Teams will have to live with his blocking deficiencies, though he wasn't asked to do much more than get in the way at Texas. Sanders had 99 catches for nearly 1,300 yards with seven touchdowns the past two seasons at Texas – on a team with two potential first-round wide receivers.

#1 - Brock Bowers, Georgia (6-3, 243 lbs.) - Bowers shouldn't be looked at as a tight end as much as he should be a pure pass catcher. Bowers recorded 175 receptions for more than 2,500 yards and 28 touchdowns the past three seasons, showing elite production despite Georgia having multiple draftable wide receivers in that span.

Matt's Take …

There is one guaranteed tight end, Brock Bowers, to go in the first round. But after him, this class looks rather sparce. There are some tight ends with developmental talent that could take a little while to shine, but this is a position that generally doesn't peak as quickly as other positions. However, over the past few years, we have seen tight ends burst onto the scene quicker than in the past.

Sleeper - Tip Reiman, Illinois (6-5, 271 lbs.) - A king-sized tight end, Reiman lit up the Combine running his 40-yard dash in 4.64 seconds. His other testing numbers were also quite impressive, especially when considering how big Reiman is. He is a team captain that could develop into a top inline run blocker at the next level. He has long arms and huge hands which he uses well to snag the ball outside his frame as well as in the run game and in pass protection. He isn't much of a separator or quick route runner, but there is a lot to work with in Reiman and his best football could be ahead of him.

#5 - Cade Stover, Ohio State (6-4, 247 lbs.) - Stover has played both tight end and linebacker during his time with the Buckeyes and plays the game with an aggressive defensive mentality. Stover won't win with pure speed and is destined to be a short to intermediate pass catcher at the next level, but this is a very solid prospect top to bottom. He is a well-rounded reliable receiver with some impressive route running nuances and is already a capable blocker.

#4 - Jared Wiley, TCU (6-6, 249 lbs.) - With his large frame that could continue to fill out, Wiley's athletic testing at the Combine makes him very intriguing. All of his tests were impressive and it is clear that Wiley is a sudden athlete with a lot of upside. TCU used him inline and out wide, but in order to handle regular inline duties at the next level, Wiley must add strength and bulk to his lower half. He is more of a "get in the way" type blocker. Wiley is more of a long strider than short area quickness guy, but he can go up and get the football.

#3 - Theo Johnson, Penn State (6-6, 259 lbs.) - Johnson was underused at Penn State and could be a more productive NFL receiver than he was in college. He has two things really going for him that could help propel him to the point where he is a highly useful starting NFL tight end: size and athletic ability. Johnson has a great frame and long arms. He is built to be an inline player. Johnson needs a lot more polish and isn't super abrupt when changing directions, but he has a lot to work with as well.

#2 - Ja'Tavion Sanders, Texas (6-4, 245 lbs.) - Sanders was a five-star recruit, and it isn't difficult to see why. He is a vertical threat from anywhere on the field with a very impressive overall athletic profile. Sanders is more like a huge wide receiver than a traditional inline blocker and could stand to approach his blocking duties with more vigor. However, his mismatch ability in the passing game will be Sanders calling card and a calling card that should translate quickly to the NFL.

#1 - Brock Bowers, Georgia (6-3, 243 lbs.) - Bowers has one of the greatest resumes of any tight end in college football history. He is a weapon. He is tremendous after the catch. Although Georgia did a lot of scheming to get their best receiver open, Bowers aligns all over the formation and often ties coverage players into knots. He is ultra-competitive, refuses to go down easily, and battles as a blocker, although his lack of size and bulk will probably always hinder his blocking at the next level. And while Bowers came in at 243 pounds at the Combine, it is a question as to what his true playing weight is. He's going to catch an awful lot of balls in the NFL.

Mike's Take …

There are a few positions in the upcoming NFL Draft, quarterback for example, where there's legitimate debate regarding who should be at the head of the prospect class. Tight end isn't one of those. "It's extremely top heavy, meaning there's one at the very top," NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah observed. The one at the very top is Brock Bowers of Georgia. But there are plenty of other intriguing candidates, depending upon what a particular team might be after.

#Sleeper - Tip Reiman, Illinois (6-47/8, 271 lbs.) - Reiman's blocking prowess was on display at the NFL Scouting Combine, where he manhandled the sled and drew cheers from those in attendance at Lucas Oil Stadium for the effort. "The run game is his theater, or is it auditorium," Jeremiah offered. Perhaps Reiman will end up in Nashville playing for Tennessee. Wherever he continues his career, he'll be fullback-, and H-Back-capable, and a willing participant on special teams according to the NFL Network's Peter Schrager. Reiman's 4.64 40-yard dash at 271 pounds was also impressive, just not as impressive as the way he put the blocking sled on skates.

#5 - Cade Stover, Ohio State (6-37/8, 247) - A true farmhand from Mansfield, Ohio, Stover strengthens his hands by massaging cows (the NFL Network presented video evidence during its Combine coverage). He can really moo-ve the pile. There's gotta be a place somewhere for that guy, right? The Big Ten Tight End of the Year used those strong hands to snag 41 passes for 576 yards and five touchdowns in 2023. His physical traits NFL comparison according to the NFL Network is former Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer (second round, Raiders, 2023).

#4 - Ben Stinnott, Kansas State (6-37/8, 250 lbs.) - A former hockey player who loves contact. The NFL Network reported his thoughts on the subject as follows during the Senior Bowl: "The adrenalin rush, the feeling of completely manhandling somebody is kinda one that you aren't able to get in any other sport." In the passing game Stinnott is a combat catch-capable receiver who excels at change-of-direction route running. He can also handle fullback and H-back from the backfield.

#3 - Ja'Tavion Sanders, Texas (6-37/8, 245 lbs.) - Sanders' unofficial 40 times of 4.74 and 4.69 didn't wow anybody at the Combine but Jeremiah maintains Sanders is a faster player than he is a 40-yard-dash guy. His 99 catches for 1,295 yards since 2022 trailed only Bowers among FBS tight ends. Sanders was also one of two FBS tight ends with three 100-yards receiving games in 2023 (Bowers was the other).

#2 - Theo Johnson, Penn State (6-61/8, 259 lbs.) - Johnson has had a very good pre-draft season, from the speed and athleticism he displayed at the Senior Bowl to the unofficial 4.58 40 he clocked at the Combine. "He's like a moving billboard down the hash," Jeremiah insisted. Added NFL Network analyst Charles Davis, "Theo Johnson really intrigues me." His red zone potential is apparent. Johnson has been productive (seven TD receptions in 2023) and he's been a captain at Penn State. Oh, Canada.

#1 - Brock Bowers, Georgia (6-3, 243 lbs.) - Jeremiah has likened Bowers to Dallas Clark, if Clark had a jet pack strapped to his back. Bowers can make any catch, back-shoulder, one-handed, what have you, but his most attention-getting trait is his physicality. That's on display any time Bowers runs over or through a would-be tackler. "He is so physical and so strong


Related Content