Home NFL Lists Best Tight Ends of All-Time Hierarchy

Best Tight Ends of All-Time Hierarchy

by Riley Baines
NFL Hierarchy All-Time Best Tight Ends Ever

Best Tight Ends of All-Time Hierarchy

This is my hierarchy list for best Tight Ends of All-Time. Keep in mind that this isn’t just the most talented players, but also accounting for career accomplishments.


Rob Gronkowski – He has the talent, has the Super Bowl rings and has the personality. If anyone would be dethroning Tony Gonzalez it’s Rob Gronkowski. He needs the longevity for it to become unanimous.

Tony Gonzalez – You can’t hold him not having a Super Bowl over his head. The OG basketball player turned Tight End phenom, Tony Gonzalez is 6th all-time in receiving yards which includes Wide Receivers.


Antonio Gates – Another basketball player turned Tight End phenom. In only his second season he recorded 13 receiving touchdowns. This is Philip Rivers’ favorite security blanket.

Shannon Sharpe – Undersized for the Tight End position, Shannon Sharpe took on more of a receiving role. Pop the Henny because you can’t ignore his three Super Bowl rings and statistical dominance.

Kellen Winslow – This man had arguably the greatest single game performance of all-time. He set the bar for the modern day Tight End in a great way.


John Mackey – Check out this catch and run by John Mackey. He was lightyears ahead of his time and the Godfather of the position.

Mike Ditka – In a non-passing era, Mike Ditka still holds the record for most receiving yards by a rookie Tight End with 1076. Add that to the fact he was a wrecking ball of a blocker.

Jason Witten – He has 1228 receptions over his career. Tony Romo would be the first to praise the reliable hands and blocking of Jason Witten. Most would rank him tier 2, but I don’t think he was more talented than the above.

Ozzie Newsome – Never won a Super Bowl over his nearly 200 games with the Browns, but won x2 as an executive for the Ravens. He was one of the innovators for the position.


Dave Casper – Back when Tight Ends pretty much could only block, Dave Casper did both. He has one of the clutchest playoff plays ever and won x2 Super Bowls.

Travis Kelce – It’s going to be tough for me to leave Travis Kelce off my list of best Tight Ends ever if he has another couple of seasons like 2020. He is the best route running Tight End I have ever witnessed.

Greg Olsen – After a slow to his career he managed three straight seasons with over 1000 yards in Carolina. A gold standard for 1st round Tight Ends.

Jimmy Graham – In his prime, people were ready to crown him as the next up for the GOAT category. The prime was too short-lived and he wasn’t good enough of a blocker to move him up.


Charlie Sanders – Inducted into the hall of fame in 2007, he is a Detroit legend. Not many deep threats like him at the position.

Todd Christensen – Tight Ends never really recorded 1000+ receiving yards in the 80s. Christensen did it three different times. He was also crowded by other Raiders legends on route to 2x Super Bowls.

Dallas Clark – An unsung hero for the Colts. It was a dream scenario to play with Peyton Manning and trust comes with the territory for Dallas Clark.

Ben Coates – The Patriots were winning without Tom Brady. Ben Coates was a guy who Drew Bledsoe relied on when the Patriots were putting up massive offensive numbers in the 90s.

Jackie Smith – Back when there were 10th round picks, Jackie Smith was just that. He was a 4x pro-bowler over the 60s and 70s and just short of 8000 career receiving yards.


Jeremy Shockey – 894 receiving yards in only his rookie season is quite the accomplishment. The 14th overall pick followed that with a solid finish to his career.

Keith Jackson – Speaking of amazing rookie seasons, Jackson finished it with a 81-869-6 line.

Mark Bavaro – A knee injury would halt his career, but before that he earned 1st team all-pro honors two times.

George Kittle – With the modern day Tight End going to more of a receiving role, George Kittle brings the best of both worlds. He is the best dual-threat Tight End in 2021.

Riley Odoms – Drafted 5th overall in the 70s. Too bad Tight Ends didn’t get the volume they do today otherwise he would be up there.

Heath Miller – The crowd loved to yell “HEATH” and with good reason. Heath Miller came up clutch many times for the Steelers earning fan favorite status.

Vernon Davis – This was an athletic freak. The first to bring track speed to the position. Even being a little head strong, he ended up winning a Super Bowl.

Jay Novacek – He did not get enough recognition for his role on America’s Team featuring Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin.



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