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2021 NFL draft prospects: First-round talents among quality tight-end group

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Roar Guru
30th May, 2020
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My series previewing the top 2020-21 college football prospects continues today with a look at a refreshingly strong tight-end group.

Kyle Pitts – junior, Florida – 6’6’’, 239 pounds
He is widely considered the leading tight-end prospect heading in to season 2020. He plays more like a big-bodied wide receiver rather than a traditional in-line tight, recording 54 receptions for 649 yards and five touchdowns in 2019, which led all players at the position in the SEC. He was one of the primary offensive weapons for the Gators down the stretch last season, accounting for the most receptions in a pass-catching group that sent three teammates to the NFL in April’s draft. He should emerge as the nation’s top tight end slash big-bodied receiver in a Florida offence that has a conference championship in its sights this season.

Pat Freiermuth – junior, Penn State – 6’5’’, 259 pounds
He is an instant starter at the tight-end position as a true freshman in 2018 for the Nittany Lions. He has earned the nickname Baby Gronk from teammates for his capabilities as both a blocker and downfield passing weapon. He has amassed 69 catches for 875 yards and 15 touchdowns during first two seasons and will break the record for most touchdown catches by a tight end in school history this season. He is tied with Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki. He likely would have been first tight end selected this year if eligible in what was an underwhelming draft class and he could elevate himself not only into the number one spot but into the top-ten discussion in 2020.

(Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Brevin Jordan – junior, Miami – 6’3’’, 235 pounds
He has missed four games for the Hurricanes in his two years on campus, however, he has made his presence felt despite being another undersized tight-end prospect. He had 32 catches and four receiving touchdowns in 11 starts as a true freshman in 2018 before nabbing 35 catches for 495 yards last season. He only caught two touchdowns as a sophomore in 2019, but he did produce a startling 14 yards per catch in ten games. He is another name in first-round contention who will play a leading role in a Miami offence looking to find themselves relevant on the national stage with transfer quarterback D’Eriq King coming to town.

Charlie Kolar – red-shirt junior, Iowa State – 6’6’’, 252 pounds
He is a fourth-year junior who was named second-team All American by Pro Football Focus in 2019 after leading the team in touchdown receptions with seven, the second most by a tight end in school history. He has accounted for 62 catches for 834 yards and ten touchdowns over two seasons at the Cyclones. He was a John Mackey Award finalist for the top tight end in 2019 after emerging during the season as one of the Big Ten’s preeminent tight-end prospects. He will form an intriguing QB-RB-TE trio at Iowa State in 2020 with quarterback Brock Purdy and highly touted sophomore running back Breece Hall.

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Matt Bushman – senior, BYU – 6’5’’, 240 pounds
He is an experienced three-year starter who decided against declaring for the NFL draft at the completion of the 2019 season and will instead return for his senior year. He has 125 receptions for 1719 yards and nine touchdowns in what has been a tremendous career at BYU. Over three seasons he has been one of the most consistent, field-stretching tight ends in all of college football. Bushman has led BYU in both receptions and yards in all three seasons and will likely do so again in 2020 as he looks to finish one of the great BYU careers on a high note before heading off to the pros.

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Other players to watch include Wisconsin’s Jake Ferguson and Ohio State’s Luke Farrell.

The best non-draft-eligible player to watch is Texas A and M’s Jalen Wydermyer.

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