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NFL Tight End Rankings for 2022

Flex Rankings Week 3: Mark Andrews

Mark Andrews finished sixth in the league in receiving yards in 2021 with 1,361.

If you don't think tight end is an important position in today's NFL, consider that three of them finished among the top 25 in receiving yards. This trio was led by Mark Andrews, who ranked sixth overall with 1,361 yards. That production also is why Andrews leads off Athlon Sports' list of the top tight ends entering the 2022 season.

Close behind Andrews is Travis Kelce, the former standard-bearer for the position who continues to produce (six straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons) at a ridiculous rate. Next is a pair of guys — George Kittle and Darren Waller — who can each make their own claim for the top spot with a big 2022 campaign, but first both need to simply stay healthy. Rounding out the top five is the new kid on the block, Atlanta's Kyle Pitts, who lived up to the hype of being the highest tight end ever drafted (fourth overall in 2021) by posting 1,026 receiving yards (24th in the league), although he needs to improve on his scoring output (just one TD catch).

So even though future Hall of Famer Rob Gronkowski has apparently called it a career, one can make the argument that the tight end position is as deep as it's ever been.

Athlon's player rankings are just one of the features that appear in the 2022 Pro Football magazine.

2022 NFL Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I OL I DL I LB I DB I Top 50

2022 NFL Tight End Rankings

1. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

Andrews isn’t just the game’s pre-eminent tight end; he is one of the most outstanding receivers in the NFL. Only four years into Andrews’ career, head coach John Harbaugh figured out a way to maximize all of his gifts in the run game as a blocker and as a downfield threat in the passing attack. He isn’t only a curl receiver over the middle, either — 20 of his grabs were for 20-plus yards. With a healthy Lamar Jackson at quarterback in 2022 and Marquise Brown’s departure, Andrews will have a chance to blow the doors off his 2021 numbers.

2. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

Kelce’s uncanny ability to create space with his body movement down the field is God-given. Blessed with soft hands and resilient run-after-the-catch determination, Kelce can take a quick-hitting slant or out route and procure a big gain. With Tyreek Hill off to Miami, Kelce will garner over 150 targets for the first time in his career and should have another record-breaking season.

3. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers

Kittle is a warrior as a blocker and a vertical threat, but to stay in the top five consistently, he needs to stay on the field. Kittle played only eight games in 2020 and missed two last season. When the former Iowa Hawkeye is at full strength, the 49ers’ offense plays at a startling level, especially in the run game where Kittle can move defenders off the spot and open run lanes.

4. Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders

Athletically, Waller may be the most physically imposing tight end in the league. His ability to drop his weight with ease and get in and out of breaks is uncanny for a man his size. With the addition of wide receiver Davante Adams, Waller will be able to take advantage of single coverage over the middle and in the red zone. Waller has a career total of 16 touchdown catches, and he may challenge that number in 2022 alone.

5. Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons

Pitts still has room to improve, but the highest-selected tight end in the game’s history (fourth overall) is on his way. Where Pitts will have a chance to improve his game in 2022 will be in the red zone. He scored only once in his initial NFL campaign, and for Atlanta to get the most out of him, Pitts needs red zone targets. If the Falcons can stabilize the quarterback position, Pitts has a chance to be generational.

6. Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys

Though Schultz may not be the most athletic or imposing tight end, the Cowboys’ 2022 franchise-tag holder simply gets open and moves the chains. In 2021, 43 of his receptions went for first downs. Schultz also is a highly leveraged blocker who uses angles to his advantage to hold the edge and free his runners to pick up positive yards.

7. Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles

With Zach Ertz (No. 9) out the door and Goedert locked in as a clear TE1, the former second-rounder out of South Dakota State had 56 catches last season for 830 yards — a career-high 14.8 yards per reception. Goedert signed a multi-year deal late in 2021, so his future is locked down in Philadelphia. As a perfect outlet for quarterback Jalen Hurts — or any passer, for that matter — Goedert should put up the most impressive numbers of his career.

8. Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins

Gesicki’s steady improvement has been eye-opening. With a new wide-open, tight-end-friendly offense coming this year, Gesicki is set up to best all of his previous career highlights. The 2018 second-rounder will never be considered a smashmouth blocker, but with his ability to line up in the slot, off the football as an H-back, or on the end of the line of scrimmage, he possesses plus versatility.

9. Zach Ertz, Arizona Cardinals

Arizona has been a fountain of youth for the wily veteran. Starting 11 games for the Cardinals last season, he secured 56 catches for 574 yards and three touchdowns. As he heads into the 2022 season as TE1 in the desert, Ertz can become a perfect security blanket for quarterback Kyler Murray and remain a focal point on an evolving offense.

10. T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions

Hockenson simply needs to stay healthy to take his game to the next level. In 2020 when he played all 16 games, Hockenson had career highs in catches (67), yards (723) and touchdowns (six). Heading into only his fourth season, Hockenson has a soaring ceiling and could be a colossal star for the Lions in 2022.

11. Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills
12. Rob Gronkowski, Free Agent*
13. Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers
14. Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears
15. Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers
16. Hayden Hurst, Cincinnati Bengals
17. Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams
18. C.J. Uzomah, New York Jets
19. David Njoku, Cleveland Browns
20. Logan Thomas, Washington Commanders

*Note: This list was compiled before Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement on June 21.