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Top Ten Tuesday

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Top 10 Tuesday: Latest 2021 NFL Draft big board - tight ends 

View the Top 10 NFL Draft prospect rankings based on position

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As your New Orleans Saints prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft, we take a look at the top 10 ranked players at various positions. The 2021 NFL Draft big board rankings are reflective of Bucky Brooks' top five 2021 NFL Draft prospects by position 1.0 and ESPN's NFL Draft "Best Available" list.

Here are the top 10 ranked draft prospects at tight end:

2021 NFL Draft prospects - Tight end | #1 Kyle Pitts | Florida

Rank
1
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Kyle Pitts | Florida
2020 Season Stats: 43 REC | 770 YDS | 12 TD

Overview: While the player comparison for the purposes of this scouting report is Darren Waller, Pitts may have the traits and talent to create mismatches similar to those created by Calvin Johnson and Tyreek Hill. His rare blend of size, athleticism and ball skills are reminiscent of Megatron's. His ability as a pass-catching tight end could force defenses in his division to alter the way they construct their roster.

2021 NFL Draft prospects - Tight end | #2 Pat Freiermuth | Penn State

Rank
2
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Pat Freiermuth | Penn State
2020 Season Stats: 23 REC | 310 YDS | 1 TD

Overview: Big, athletic tight end with the potential to be a combo player at the position, helping as a run-blocker and pass-catcher. Freiermuth needs to tighten up his technique as a run-blocker but his foot quickness and agility led to some splashy recoveries and block finishes that foreshadow his future potential. He's athletic and has good build-up speed down the seam to attack the second level. However, he's average in separating underneath.

2021 NFL Draft prospects - Tight end | #3 Hunter Long | Boston College

Rank
3
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Hunter Long | Boston College
2020 Season Stats: 57 REC | 685 YDS | 5 TD

Overview: Pass-catching tight end with decent speed and plus ball skills but a concerning lack of consistent aggression in his play. Long is much too passive and unskilled as a run blocker at this point of his development to consistently help against NFL competition. He also needs to get better at controlling his catch space with body control and physicality.

2021 NFL Draft prospects - Tight end | #4 Brevin Jordan | Miami

Rank
4
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Brevin Jordan | Miami
2020 Season Stats: 38 REC | 576 YDS | 7 TD

Overview: Jordan can work the field in-line or from the slot and has improved his route-running over time. His play speed is average, as is his burst to separate, so learning to own the catch space and fend off draped coverage at the top of the route might be essential for his long-term success. He's best at creating looks for his quarterbacks on simple outs, crossers and slants. He has decent size and athleticism to add modest yardage after the catch.

2021 NFL Draft prospects - Tight end | #5 Tre' McKitty | Georgia

Rank
5
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Tre' McKitty | Georgia
2020 Season Stats: 6 REC | 108 YDS | 1 TD

Overview: McKitty is a pass-catching tight end who can be asked to do some minor positional blocking up front, but he's better as a move blocker. His play speed doesn't always match his real speed, which is a problem in terms of his separation and ball tracking. He's better up the seam and on the move than he is getting in and out of breaks. 

2021 NFL Draft prospects - Tight end | #6 Matt Bushman | BYU

Rank
6
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Matt Bushman | BYU
2020 Season Stats: 47 REC | 688 YDS | 4 TD

Overview: Bushman is a pass-catching tight end coming into the 2021 draft with no 2020 tape after suffering an Achilles injury just before the season kicked off. He has good yards-per-catch numbers and quality ball skills, but is unable to separate against tight man coverage and struggles to finish contested catches.

2021 NFL Draft prospects - Tight end | #7 Noah Gray | Duke

Rank
7
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Noah Gray | Duke
2020 Season Stats: 29 REC | 285 YDS | 2 TD

Overview: What stands out when watching Gray is how detailed he is as a route-runner and how natural his hands are catching the football. Duke primarily played him in the slot and out of the backfield, where he illustrated versatility in terms of where he can line up. At the next level, Gray needs to add a notable amount of functional strength and bulk if he is going to survive playing in line.

2021 NFL Draft prospects - Tight end | #8 Tony Poljan | Virginia

Rank
8
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Tony Poljan | Virginia
2020 Season Stats: 38 REC | 411 YDS | 6 TD

Overview: Poljan has the frame of a classic throwback tight end. He has the size needed to block in the trenches and challenge the middle of the field. He has sure hands and is extremely competitive. With that said, Poljan isn't a dynamic athlete and he is tightly wound, which creates some challenges as a route-runner, winning after the catch, and producing big plays. 

2021 NFL Draft prospects - Tight end | #9 Kenny Yeboah | Ole Miss

Rank
9
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Kenny Yeboah | Ole Miss
2020 Season Stats: 27 REC | 524 YDS | 6 TD

Overview: Yeboah isn't big or strong enough to handle in-line blocking duties but might offer enough as a positional blocker to get by in space or on the move. His build-up speed can leave linebackers in trail position and he has big-play capability once he opens up his stride before or after the catch.

2021 NFL Draft prospects - Tight end | #10 Nick Eubanks | Michigan

Rank
10
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Nick Eubanks | Michigan
2020 Season Stats: 10 REC | 117 YDS | 1 TD

Overview: Eubanks possesses in-line tight end size but finesse tight end play traits. He has the speed to attack the seam and create occasional mismatches with linebackers, but will need to play faster and with more snap out of his turns as a route-runner. He can be a little slow to present to the quarterback, which creates challenges for him when throws are put right on top of him.

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