Projecting The NFL Scouting Combine: Tight Ends

Iowa Hawkeyes tight end Noah Fant (87) runs after the catch against the Iowa State Cyclones at Kinnick Stadium.Photo: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Ric Serritella

Welcome to's "Projecting The Combine" series, which features predictions at each position for who will be invited to Indianapolis for the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine. Next up is tight ends. Over the past five years, the Combine has averaged 18 tight end invites (14 tight ends drafted per year).

In 2018, the Combine featured 17 tight ends invited to Indianapolis, however, just one (Hayden Hurst/Ravens) was selected in the first round. This year’s tight end crop figures to be plentiful.

Below is a breakdown of combine invites and the number of tight ends drafted over the past five years. By taking the median number, we try to predict the tight end invites for the 2019 Combine with their projected draft grade in parenthesis.:

NOTE: Underclassmen have until January 15th to officially declare for the NFL Draft.

Tight Ends invited To NFL Combine

2018: 17

2017: 19

2016: 15

2015: 19

2014: 22

Selected In NFL Draft

2018: 14

2017: 14

2016: 11

2015: 19

2014: 10

2019 NFL Scouting Combine Prediction: Tight Ends

The Top 5

  1. Noah Fant, Iowa – An exceptional athlete who will make teams fall in love with his change of direction speed and leaping ability, Fant appears poised for the first round but is a liability in the blocking game. (Day 1)

  2. Irv Smith Jr., Alabama – While Smith Jr. has yet to announce his intentions, he would factor into the equation as one of the top eligible players at his position with his sound route running and impressive blocking. (Day 2)

  3. Kaden Smith, Stanford – A tall target and red zone weapon, Smith is limited in the athleticism department but excels in traffic with his ability to come down with contested balls and is an adequate blocker. (Day 2)

  4. Caleb Wilson, UCLA (Day 2) – He led all FBS tight ends with 965 receiving yards but more impressive were his 467 yards after the catch, plus 42 combined touchdown and first down catches this past season, according to PFF.

  5. Josh Oliver, San Jose State (Day 2) – Mr. Wonderful steps off the bus looking like Paul Orndorff with his body-beautiful frame; he could be a dark-horse candidate for round one after the combine.

The Rest

  1. Kendall Blanton, Missouri (Day 3)

  2. Jared Pinkney, Vanderbilt (Day 3)

  3. Alize Mack, Notre Dame (Day 3)

  4. CJ Conrad, Kentucky (Day 3)

  5. Drew Sample, Washington (Day 3)

  6. Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M (Day 3)

  7. Trevon Wesco, West Virginia (Day 3)

  8. Dawso Knox, Mississippi (Day 3)

  9. Thomas Sweeney, Boston College (Day 3)

  10. Foster Moreau, LSU (Day 3)

  11. Donald Parham, Stetson (Day 3)

  12. Zach Gentry, Notre Dame (UDFA)

  13. Dax Raymond, Utah State (UDFA)

  14. Keenen Brown, Texas State (UDFA)

2019 NFL Combine Projections:

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