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Summer Scouting: An intriguing class of tight ends



Summer Scouting: An intriguing class of tight ends

Will the New York Giants need to draft a tight end in 2025?

Daniel Bellinger is once again their undisputed starter following the retirement of Darren Waller, but that isn’t a new position for him. He was the Giants’ starting tight end as a rookie, and turned in a good season as both a receiver and a blocker.

However, there’s quite a few questions behind Bellinger, with the most notable being what the roles for rookie Theo Johnson and converted receiver Lawrence Cager will be this year. If all goes well, the Giants might not need to concern themselves with tight ends for a while. Bellinger, Johnson, and Cager are all young and could be a solid trio for years if all goes well.

However, it would likely pay to keep an eye on the class, just in case it becomes a need or a great value slips to the middle rounds.

The 2025 tight end class doesn’t appear to be quite as strong as the upcoming wide receiver and running back classes. That doesn’t mean that this is a weak class by any means. There’s some solid talent at the top of the depth chart as well as some intriguing players who should go in the middle rounds.

This class also features something of a “greatest hits” of schools which have produced some of the best tight ends in the NFL over the past several years. It probably shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Michigan, Iowa, Penn State, and Notre Dame top our watch list.

Colston Loveland (Michigan)

The 6-foot-5, 245-pound junior currently sits atop the tight end chart and could be on a trajectory that makes him the first tight end selected next spring.

AJ Barner may have been the Wolverines’ secret weapon in the running game, but Loveland eclipsed him as a receiver last year. Loveland saw a significant uptick in production in his second season, catching 45 passes for 649 yards and 4 touchdowns last year (up from 16 receptions for 235 yards, and 2 touchdowns as a freshman). He was used in a variety of ways by Michigan’s “Pro Style” offense (or as close to an NFL offense as you’re going to see in college), lining up as an in-line tight end, H-back, and being used as a “Move” tight end.

Loveland’s greatest asset is his athleticism and mobility. He moves very well for his size and wastes no time getting downfield as a receiver or a downfield blocker. Michigan would frequently send him in motion before the snap, using him to create a numbers advantage on the play side as well as allow him to get into position as a blocker or receiver soonest. He puts his frame and athleticism to good use as a pass catcher, getting vertical in a hurry and using his size to high-point the ball.

He’s a better receiver than blocker. Loveland has the frame to be a true “two-way” tight end in the NFL, but needs to continue to get stronger.

Loveland could be a first-round pick despite his limited (as of now) ability as a blocker.

(Loveland is Michigan TE No. 18)

Luke Lachey (Iowa)

Lachey has prototypical size at 6-foot-6, 250 pounds and good athletic traits.

He is, frankly, exactly what you’d expect from an Iowa tight end on the field. He’s comfortable playing in-line and seems to relish the opportunity to block. Usually, tight ends are doing enough if they lose slowly enough that the play is able to get past them. Lachey, however, is able to create movement along the line of scrimmage and open holes for off-tackle runs.

He isn’t graceful as an athlete, and can appear somewhat plodding at times. However, he isn’t a bad athlete and can cover ground well when running vertically. Likewise, he’s pretty quick within a short area and is not only able to get in position well as a blocker, but also quickly reorient to present a good target for his quarterback in the short to intermediate area of the field.

Lachey could challenge Loveland for the title of top tight end. He’s slipped under the radar (a bit) after suffering a season-ending ankle injury in Week 3 last year. How well Lachey returns from the injury could go a long way toward determining his draft stock.

(Lachey is Iowa TE No. 85)

Mitchell Evans (Notre Dame)

Evans has prototypical size and enough athleticism to be a versatile player.

He’s listed at 6-foot-5, 248 pounds, but certainly looks bigger than that. Frankly, Evans looks more like a callback to a previous era of tight end play, when they had more in common with particularly svelte offensive tackles than industrial-sized receivers. He’s a big, thick, powerful tight end who understands how to use his bulk in the short to intermediate area of the field. Evans aligned as a traditional in-line tight end, as an H-back, and in the slot, and was asked to be a blocker and receiver from each position.

Evans isn’t a dynamic athlete and appears to lumber in his routes. That will likely keep him from being a dangerous seam stretcher or vertical threat. However, he does have solid short-area quickness and a knack for settling into the voids between coverage zones. He also understands how to use his large frame to shield the ball from defenders.

He will also need to improve his technique as a blocker heading into the NFL. Evans is able to win at the collegiate level using his size and play strength, but much of that strength can be wasted through sloppy technique. He has the potential to be a very good blocking tight end, but will need to get more efficient with his hands and pad level.

(Evans is Notre Dame TE No. 88)

Tyler Warren (Penn State)

We know the Giants have spent time scouting the Penn State tight end group, as they drafted Theo Johnson in 2024. They could have the opportunity to add his stablemate in 2025, and it could make for an intriguing pairing. Warren’s production took a step forward in 2023 and he split receiving duties down the middle with Johnson and both tight ends caught 34 passes and had 7 touchdowns.

Warren is listed at 6-foot-6 and 249 pounds but appears almost lanky. That could suggest room to add mass and play strength, but he likely won’t need to bulk up much in the NFL. Warren is a good-enough blocker who can lose slowly when blocking in-line and also has solid short-area quickness. That allows him to get into position quickly to block athletic defenders, as well as find voids in the shallow to intermediate area of the field. He also appears athletic enough to attack seams or get vertical.

Warren has intriguing potential and Penn State’s (well-deserved) reputation for churning out incredible athletes makes him a prospect to watch. He could leap up the tight end list given a full season as a primary option.

(Warren is Penn State TE No. 44)

Bryson Nesbit (North Carolina)

Nesbit is yet another tight end prospect with prototypical size for the position at 6-foot-6, 245 pounds. He’s also been a relatively consistent presence for the Tar Heels over the last two seasons. Over that period he’s had 76 catches for 1,092 yards and 9 touchdowns, with a slight (and encouraging) bump in production last year over 2022.

Whether he’s able to take the next step as a player will go a long way toward determining his draft stock. Seizing a larger role in the North Carolina offense would be a good start, considering he’s only had four games with five (or more) receptions in 26 games he’s played in 2022 and 2023.

He has the tools to do so, and is an intriguing option as a receiving tight end. North Carolina frequently used Nesbit as a jumbo slot receiver, attacking the middle of the field and even as a receiver on screen passes. He’s a good athlete who can eat up yardage with long strides while also being fluid enough to change directions quickly. Nesbit has solid play strength, but wasn’t used much as a blocking tight end in the tape viewed. Instead, UNC used him to provide a size element that was otherwise lacking in their receiving corps.

That could make Nesbit something of an under-the-radar option for the Giants if they decide they need a size/speed receiving threat to replace Darren Waller. While some other tight ends on our watch list fit the classic two-way “Y” tight end in an 11-personnel package better than Nesbit, his upside as a hybrid tight end in a modern offense could give his draft stock a boost.

As it so happens, the Giants have scouted North Carolina heavily over the last two years, and it would be stunning if they weren’t well aware of Nesbit already.

(Nesbit is North Carolina TE No. 18)

Other names to know

  • Brant Kuithe (Utah)
  • Oscar Delpe (Georgia)
  • Cade Prieskorn (Ole Miss)
  • Amari Niblack (Texas)
  • Jack Velling (Michigan State)
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