When you take every position and its direct effect on the outcome of games for what it’s worth then you will never undervalue, or overlook a solid TE that can give you 12 years of production, and in most cases win you more games than their more high profile/high flying brothers on the perimeter. Whether it’s Shannon Sharpe, Jay Novacek, Rob Gronkowski, or even Tony Gonzalez who never achieve the pinnacle of football, but still performed at the elitist of levels as a 14 time Pro Bowler they all directly affected wins & losses, completions & incompletions, and 3rd long’s when the coverage is funneling everything outside the numbers and you must take advantage of the seams. NEW AGE TE’S are asked to do more in today’s game of a hybrid wide receiver skill set over there prior BLOCK 1ST, BLOCK 2ND, & BLOCK n RELEASE on 3rd position mates from past generations. Going into the 2020-2021 College Football Season i have 5 special TE’s who in my estimation have what it takes to be those next Elite Playmakers who gut the middle & seams of the defense, and give defensive coordinators pink slips on Monday’s. While I have 1st round grades on 3 Pitts, Kolar, and Freiermuth the other 2 prospects are just as talented if not more in certain areas than the 3 I have ranked ahead.
CHARLIE KOLAR, 6-6 230 IOWA STATE
He’s a catch machine! Highly productive player in an offense that does an excellent job of realizing what type of physical mismatch they possess every Saturday, and beating opponents over the head with it repeatedly. Outstanding hands, and ability to track the football over his shoulder while maintaining momentum up field. Tough to bring down once he gets a head full of steam will truck, stiff arm and contact balance his way through tacklers. Like most TE’s he doesn’t run a wide array of routes, but the ones he is asked exclusively to run he dominates at largely in part to his huge catch radius, and ability to “Play Big” through the catch. Strong hands, and routinely snatches the ball from his body. Willing blocker doesn’t shy away from the fight but isn’t currently his strong suit. Plays entirely too high has a tendency to slap fight/tussle when engaging instead of dropping his hips and driving the defender out of the play. I currently have Kolar as my No.1 Tightend on the board going into the season, but its a 3 horse race between him, Freiermuth, and Pitts for who tops the list next April.
KYLE PITTS, 6-6 240 FLORIDA
More of a hybrid human chess piece! Tweener between an average wide receiver, and an outstanding playmaking tightened. Is the most natural and fluid athlete of the 5 strongly attributed to being a former wide receiver. Does a great job of beating the jam, and climbing to the next level while maintaining focus on route precision. Routinely highpoints the ball, and fights for possession, but does get out muscled from time to time. Has a very long way to go as a blocker some of the film on him in this area is a strong concern. Very lanky build, gets bull rushed, and snatched down too often, has given up on some plays in the run game, sometimes plays disinterested if the play doesn’t call his number. BIG TIME Playmaker, BIG TIME Mismatch, BIG TIME Set of skills in the tool box. Has the most potential of all 5, and wouldn’t shock me if he tops this list, and becomes a Top 15 pick in 2021.
PAT FREIERMUTH 6-5 256 PENN STATE
Probably the safest return on your investment of the group. There’s no confusing it on what you’re getting with him, an every down player who does everything solid enough, but nothing outstanding. Solid dependable hands, big red zone target, can line up in bunch formations to exploit mismatches in that area, physical player after the catch rarely get taken down by the first defender. Eats up the chains which is a very underrated attribute in today’s league which is fixated with the Post. While you know exactly what you are getting from Freiermuth that can also be a bit of a bummer. His ceiling isn’t as high physically as any of the other 4 which doesn’t push me to be as high on him coming into this season as seemingly the rest of America. Doesn’t run the cleanest most fluid of routes, has a habit of rounding off the top of his breaks. Doesn’t always play as nasty in the run game as you would expect from his size & build looks robotic at times. Solid plug in player to pretty much any scheme that can give you production. Based off team need, and style preference I could see a team falling in love with Freiermuth and viewing him as the best guy for the job.
BREVIN JORDAN, 6-3 245 MIAMI (FL)
2019 ALL ACC & Mackey Award Finalist is just a little bit of Brevin Jordan.The former 4 Star recruit from 2017 was also the No.1 Tightend in the country by ESPN.com., and has done nothing but steadily improve, and grow physically ever since he has stepped foot on campus. Not the tall, 6-5 basketball mismatch the other players are in his class, but is a mismatch more in the mold of a Shannon Sharpe or Jordan Reed. Stocky, Thick, built with strong hands and a very physical mindset on the field. Good vision when he gets into the open field, looks for contact, shows very good lower body strength in fighting his way through tacklers. Too big & strong for corners and safeties/Too quick and agile for linebackers. He’s a jack of all trades master of none! A better pass catcher than Freiermuth, Better blocker than Pitts, Better route runner than Koler, but I still have him 4th behind all 3. No outstanding trait, just a very highly touted player who has played up to his capabilities, gotten better every year, plays hard, tough, and physical along with being the most well rounded of the group. With a big season for him and the Canes Jordan could be someone’s favorite very early next year.
JEREMY RUKERT, 6-5 254 OHIO STATE
Highly heralded coming out of High School but, hasn’t done a whole lot production wise as a Buckeye in his first couple seasons. Not due to lack of talent or poor play he just doesn’t play in an offense that showcases its tight ends a whole lot, but that is expected to change thoroughly for the 2020-2021 Season. Rukert has made significant strides as a runblocker, and even more significantly to him seeing more passes thrown his way, as a pass protector for Justin Fields when asked to stay in the bunker and protect. Smooth athlete, great hands, crafty in creating separation, and always seems to be streaking open down the seams. Has the trust and attention now of Fields which is crucial for his own production, and draft stock given he hasn’t provided scouts with much thus far. In the end Rukert is strictly a projection of what I know his talent and skill set brings to the table, and having an open enough mind to understand that some of these players just get caught in “Talent Log Jams”. Too Much Talent at One University! No fault of their own they just don’t get enough snaps and opportunities to make a name for themselves but the talent never corroded.