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Ranking Brock Bowers, Ja’Tavion Sanders, and More



It’s been a little while since the NFL Draft has fielded a blue-chip tight end prospect. The 2024 NFL Draft TE group will have that, and more. Although it’s too early to say anything definitive about the incoming class, it’s a group that should have an appealing blend of top-end talent and depth for NFL teams to peruse.

Ranking the TEs in the 2024 NFL Draft

The 2023 NFL Draft TE group boasted Dalton Kincaid — a first-round pick for the Buffalo Bills — and Michael Mayer — a prospect deemed worthy of first-round capital by many evaluators. That alone helped the class’ perception, but there’s reason to believe the 2024 class might be even better. Here’s a look at some of the top names in the preseason conversation.

10) Brant Kuithe, Utah

It’ll be fascinating to see how Brant Kuithe’s stock is valued in the 2024 NFL Draft cycle. He’s a good football player with built-in versatility, who’s been very productive at Utah. He earned 602 yards and six scores in 2019, and 611 yards and six more TDs in 2021. But coming off a torn ACL will be a challenge for him this season.

Kuithe will turn 25 years old at the tail end of his rookie campaign, which isn’t ideal, and his injury history may also work against him. But as a player, the 6’2″, 230-pound Kuithe has few weaknesses. He’s a free-flowing athlete, an independent separator, is sure-handed, and can operate from a barrage of different alignments.

9) Gavin Bartholomew, Pittsburgh

Gavin Bartholomew wasted no time producing. In 2021, catching passes from Kenny Pickett, he put up 28 receptions for 326 yards and four scores. Then, as a sophomore in 2022, he added 21 catches, 283 yards, and two more TDs to his career totals. The passing attack has regressed since Pickett’s departure, but Bartholomew remains a threat.

MORE: FREE NFL Mock Draft Simulator With Trades!

At 6’5″, 255 pounds, Bartholomew has NFL size, but he’s also a superb athlete in space. He went viral for a TD-securing hurdle against Tennessee early in 2022, but he also has the burst to break through open seams. Bartholomew’s a physical player after the catch, with the frame density and balance to stay upright. Add in his blocking, and he has great appeal.

8) Jalin Conyers, Arizona State

It’ll be interesting to see what Kenny Dillingham can do for the Arizona State football program. His ability as an offensive mind is well-documented, and he has a few high-quality weapons at his disposal, among them TE Jalin Conyers.

Now a redshirt junior, Conyers — a former four-star recruit — is coming off a career year and is poised to produce more. Conyers transferred to the Sun Devils’ program from Oklahoma and delivered on his potential with 38 receptions for 422 yards and five scores in 2022.

At 6’4″, 265 pounds, Conyers has one of the largest frames in this class. That translates to impressive play strength in contested situations, and physical extension ability after the catch.

7) McCallan Castles, Tennessee

After racking up 57 catches for 734 yards and six touchdowns over the past two seasons at UC Davis, McCallan Castles chose to transfer to Tennessee in 2023. The Volunteers won’t have prolific QB Hendon Hooker, but there’s a need for playmakers in Josh Heupel’s offense, and Castles’ natural receiving chops make him a prime breakout candidate.

Naturally, Castles has room to fill out his frame and improve his play strength as a blocker. But at 6’5″, 233 pounds, he’s an incredibly smooth athlete and receiving threat with flexibility as a route runner and slippery RAC utility. Especially in Tennessee’s offense, where he’ll be able to get in space and funnel in targets, he could rise up boards.

6) Terrance Ferguson, Oregon

There are several talented TE prospects hitting their first year of eligibility this cycle, and Oregon’s Terrance Ferguson is one of them. He was another pass catcher who benefited from Bo Nix’s breakout in 2022, hauling in 32 catches for 391 yards and five touchdowns in an emergent sophomore campaign.

MORE: 2024 NFL Draft Prospect Watchlist

Ferguson often wins just by being bigger and stronger than his opponents. At 6’5″, 255 pounds, he’s sure-handed through contact, and his leg churn after the catch allows him to constantly stay on his feet and absorb hits. He has the RAC utility to be used on drag routes and quick outs, but he’s also a venerable seam threat with his traits.

5) Bryson Nesbit, North Carolina

Top TEs NFL Draft
Photo Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Drake Maye is an established presence at the top of the 2024 NFL Draft QB class at this point, but the 2023 campaign will present its challenges. Maye lost both Josh Downs and Antoine Green to the 2023 NFL Draft. But he’ll have one primary pass catcher returning in TE Bryson Nesbit, who also offers early-round upside with his traits.

Nesbit, who broke the 500-yard mark in 2022, does his best work up the seam and over the middle of the field. He’s more of a linear athlete at TE, but he’s an explosive long-strider at 6’5″, 230 pounds, who can instinctively flow into blind spots downfield, before converting at the catch point with his smooth body control and hand/eye coordination.

4) Seydou Traore, Transfer Portal

Seydou Traore re-entered the transfer portal shortly after Colorado’s spring football showcase. He’d originally transferred to Colorado from Arkansas State, so for the time being, his future is up in the air. But whoever gets Traore will be getting a very dynamic receiving talent, as evidenced by his 50 catches, 655 yards, and four scores in 2022.

Fun fact: Traore used to be a standout soccer goalie playing in London. But in the States, receiving tight end has grown to become his best role. At 6’4″, 223 pounds, Traore is a free-flowing move TE with a different brand of athleticism. His strides are quick in space, he can offset defenders with cuts, and he comes up big when tasked with winning 50-50 balls.

3) Jaheim Bell, Florida State

Versatility is becoming a common theme for TE prospects in the modern era of NFL football. The traditional in-line tight end molds are still valuable in their own way, but having a player who can fill unique roles and wear many different hats is becoming more and more coveted, especially for offensive coordinators looking to stay one step ahead.

Looking at things within that lens, Florida State’s Jaheim Bell has a lot to offer. He’s never been an elite producer, but at 6’3″, 232 pounds, Bell’s a hyper-dense RAC threat with a high-level blend of explosiveness and contact balance. And in an offense with Jordan Travis, Keon Coleman, and Johnny Wilson, the H-back hybrid could have his best year yet.

2) Ja’Tavion Sanders, Texas

If the Texas offense in the summer of 2022 was the “dream team,” then this year’s Texas squad is the dream team 2.0. Bijan Robinson is a big loss, but on top of Quinn Ewers, the Longhorns have Xavier Worthy, Adonai Mitchell, Jordan Whittington, and Isaiah Neyor in the receiving corps, and they also have one of the nation’s best tight ends: Ja’Tavion Sanders.

MORE: Top Running Backs in the 2024 NFL Draft

Sanders quickly became a favorite target of Ewers’ across the 2022 campaign, amassing 54 catches for 613 yards and five touchdowns as a redshirt freshman. At 6’4″, 249 pounds, Sanders offers great size and length, and he’s a very good blocker. But the brunt of his appeal comes from his fleet-footed athleticism, certifiably elite catching instincts, and reliable hands.

Who Is the Best TE in the 2024 NFL Draft?

There’s plenty of depth to be had in the 2024 NFL Draft, and that’ll help teams looking for ancillary threats in the middle and later rounds. But right now, there’s one prospect who stands all alone at the top of the TE group. Evaluators have had premonitions of Georgia’s Brock Bowers’ first-round-worthy report for two years now.

1) Brock Bowers, Georgia

It’s Brock Bowers, then everyone else. And while there’s always the chance someone else rises from the crowd, it’s relatively likely that Bowers will persist through the cycle as the consensus TE1 — similar to the way Florida’s Kyle Pitts did a few cycles earlier.

Bowers has dominated at the collegiate level since stepping on the field as a true freshman. Through two seasons, the Bulldogs star has 119 catches for 1,824 yards and 20 touchdowns. Forget needing time to ramp up — Bowers was that guy from the moment he set foot on campus.

Even with Stetson Bennett and Todd Monken gone, Bowers should continue to produce. He offers an elite skill set for the modern brand of football. Even before the season, he grades out as one of just a few blue-chip prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft.

At 6’4″, 230 pounds, Bowers doesn’t have elite size — but that’s one of the only knocks in his profile. He’s a functional route runner who best operates when he’s able to use his explosiveness to exploit seams. In that role, Bowers has extraordinary catching instincts, vice-grip hands, and brawling RAC ability, and he doubles as a game-changing blocker.

Things like alignment versatility, natural slot ability, and receiving value helped Kincaid become a first-round pick in the 2023 class. Bowers fits a similar mold, but he’s younger and has even greater tools at his disposal. It stands to reason that he could go off the board very early next April.

Honorable Mentions

  • Luke Lachey, Iowa
  • CJ Dippre, Alabama
  • Michael Trigg, Ole Miss
  • Kyle Morlock, Florida State
  • Benjamin Yurosek, Stanford
  • A.J. Barner, Michigan
  • Mason Fairchild, Kansas
  • Erick All, Iowa
  • Austin Stogner, Oklahoma

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Why Dallas Cowboys TE Luke Schoonmaker’s First Touchdown Ball Could Be the First of Many




Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott threw a one-yard pass to tight end Luke Schoonmaker in the end zone during Sunday’s second quarter against the New York Jets. It was Schoonmaker’s first NFL career touchdown.

A clip from the Cowboys’ weekly segment called “Sounds from the Sidelines” shows Lunda Wells, the team’s tight ends coach, giving Schoonmaker a hard time for not keeping the ball.

The tight end talked exclusively with Pro Football Network about the game ball and if he secured it after the contest.

Did Luke Schoonmaker Keep the Game Ball?

The short answer: Yes.

Schoonmaker discussed the chain of events immediately following the touchdown, saying he was looking at the flags the officials threw, thinking, “This better be a touchdown.” 

At that moment, he didn’t realize that the flags were on Jets LB Sam Eguavoen for defensive holding and on Jets DE Micheal Clemons for roughing the passer.

The 24-year-old said his teammates were rushing to tell him he had just scored his first NFL touchdown.

He said that’s when he started wondering where the ball went since it was already too late for him to do the celebration he had planned to do ahead of time.

But when he returned to the bench, Wells had already had someone grab it for him. The moments seen on Sounds from the Sideline show Wells telling Schoonmaker the importance of saving the ball as a keepsake.

When asked if there are planned touchdown celebrations for the tight ends, he smiled and said, “Yeah, they’re coming out.”

Can Schoonmaker Be a Solution for the Cowboys’ Red-Zone Struggles?

The tight end said he knew he had a good chance of getting the touchdown when the play was called if he could get open, which ended up happening.

Although the second-round draft pick wants to be an “everything guy” for Prescott, he wants to emphasize productivity in the red zone.

“You have to put it to the defense because you’re in their territory, and now they’re backed up, and you’ve got to own it. And so that’s my mindset going into it that you’ve got them backed into a corner, and you just got to finish it,” said Schoonmaker.

In Week 2, the Cowboys struggled to capitalize in the red zone, as kicker Brandon Aubrey scored 16 of the team’s 30 points.

Although tight ends are used more for blocking in the West Coast offense, the team still needs an established go-to red-zone guy after releasing Ezekiel Elliott in the offseason.

Schoonmaker could be the perfect fit for this role with his size, speed, and build that can push through defenders, getting yards after catch when needed.

Schoonmaker’s Neutral Mindset

So far, Schoonmaker has learned to keep a neutral mindset, not forcing big plays in the game but allowing them to happen and executing them when they do come up.

MORE: Pat McAfee’s Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl Prediction

“You just go out and play football and play the game that you have been playing and just taking what you’ve been practicing the whole week into the game. It’s just practice elevated. So then you just start playing, and so that’s kind of in my mindset. It’s worked out pretty well for me,” said Schoonmaker.

The tight end knows that the big plays will come, saying, “They’re going to happen, and you just have to be ready for that opportunity and fall back in your training.”

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Latest on Austin Ekeler, David Montgomery, Aaron Jones, and Others




We had several RBs go down in Week 2, and it was a run to the fantasy football waiver wire to pick up potential backups. Which players and injuries do you need to keep your eye on as Week 3 gets closer?

Are you looking to make a trade in your fantasy league? Are you having trouble deciding who to start and who to sit? Check out PFN’s FREE Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer and Start/Sit Optimizer to help you make the right decision.

Injury Updates for Top Fantasy Football RBs

Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns

The Browns placed Nick Chubb on IR today after a horrendous injury in the Monday night game. Chubb has a possible knee dislocation with multiple torn ligaments and will miss the rest of the season. Jerome Ford and newly signed Kareem Hunt will take over the backfield.

Jamaal Williams, New Orleans Saints

The Saints RB room is diminished, and it is about to get smaller. Jamaal Williams will miss “some time” as he recovers from a hamstring injury he sustained on Monday.

MORE: WR Fantasy Injury Report

With Alvin Kamara out for one more game, rookie Kendre Miller looks to make his debut. The team reported that Miller should be a full go at practice this week.

Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

Star RB Derrick Henry popped up on the Titans’ injury report on Wednesday. Henry has a toe injury, and he was limited in practice. If Henry has to miss any time, rookie Tyjae Spears would be the lead back. Spears generated 49 yards on the ground in Week 2 and looks like a promising prospect.

Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers

Green Bay missed their explosive RB Aaron Jones last Sunday, and his Week 3 status is still uncertain. Jones warmed up with the team on Wednesday but didn’t join his team on the field for the start of practice. Jones did not participate in individual drills.

David Montgomery, Detroit Lions

Detroit’s starting RB David Montgomery suffered a thigh injury in the second half of the Lions’ loss on Sunday. Montgomery himself said he was expecting to miss a couple of weeks, but head coach Dan Campell referred to him on Monday as “day-to-day.” Craig Reynolds and Rookie Jahmyr Gibbs should get an uptick in work with Montgomery out.

Miles Sanders, Carolina Panthers

Carolina’s main RB, Miles Sanders, was limited in practice on Wednesday. Sanders is battling a pectoral injury after putting up 43 yards on the ground against the Saints on Monday night. Chubba Hubbard is the next man up if Sanders is limited this week, and Hubbard did rush for 60 yards in Week 1.

Isiah Pacheco, Kansas City Chiefs

It was reported that Chiefs’ Isaiah Pacheco is not dealing with a hamstring tear but simply a hamstring issue. He did not practice on Wednesday and is considered day-to-day. If he cannot go on Sunday against Chicago, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon could see more work.

Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers

Fantasy managers were left pining for Austin Ekeler on Sunday after Joshua Kelley had problems delivering for the Chargers. Ekeler is working hard to get back on the field, but he did not practice on Wednesday, still nursing an ankle injury. He says he is week-to-week.

Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

The Giants have declared Saquon Barkley out for the Thursday night game after he sprained his ankle in the last few minutes of the Giants’ win over the Cardinals.

MORE: Fantasy News Tracker

Matt Breida and Gary Brightwell will carry the load against a tough San Francisco defense.

Justice Hill, Baltimore Ravens

Justice Hill popped up on the Baltimore injury report today as a no-show at practice, and it was unclear why. It was later reported that Hill suffered a toe injury that could result in him missing Week 3. The Ravens are concerned — they signed veteran RB Kenyan Drake to cover their bases.

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Should You Cut Alexander Mattison in Fantasy Football?




Minnesota Vikings RB Alexander Mattison had yet to meet expectations through the first two weeks of the 2023 NFL season due to a couple of rough matchups, but there was still optimism that he could turn things around and be a viable starter for fantasy football.

Did that optimism just come crashing down in a major way with the Vikings trading for Cam Akers? Is it time to simply sell Mattison for whatever you can get in your fantasy league?

Looking to make a trade in your fantasy league? Having trouble deciding who to start and who to sit? Check out PFN’s Free Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer and Start/Sit Optimizer to help you make the right decision!

Should Fantasy Football Managers Cut Alexander Mattison?

Listen, it hasn’t been pretty for the pro-Mattison crowd in 2023. I was one of them who thought he was a nice value at his draft-day ADP and assumed that he would be locked in for a bell-cow role in this Vikings offense.

Unfortunately, Mattison has totaled just 62 rushing yards on 19 attempts through two games while adding just 21 yards through the air. However, he did reel in a receiving touchdown during the Week 1 contest against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Mattison has finished as the RB18 and RB51 in half-PPR scoring the first two weeks of the season, which certainly is not meeting the expectations that were set for him coming into the year. He’s averaging just 3.3 yards per attempt.

MORE: Week 3 Fantasy Cut List

However, context is incredibly important here as we look at the lack of production for Mattison. In Week 1, he went up against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that boasts some incredibly talented players on the defensive line. It’s historically been a stingy run defense, and he wasn’t able to do much against them.

In Week 2, things didn’t get any easier going up against the Philadelphia Eagles defense with a makeshift offensive line in front of him. Jalen Carter, Jordan Davis, Fletcher Cox, and so on and so on had a field day against the Vikings OL, and it was simply asinine to attempt to run the football on them.

This resulted in Mattison having just eight total rush attempts on Thursday Night Football, which is a prime-time game that everyone is zeroed in on and watching. This didn’t help the perception of him in fantasy leagues.

Fantasy managers were already teetering on whether or not they could trust him in their starting lineups, but that escalated to full-on panic seeing that the Vikings acquired Akers from the Rams.

Akers has done some solid things for fantasy in the past, but he’s been far from reliable and has fallen out of favor with the coaching staff in LA for two straight years in a row to begin the season. A new start was needed for him.

It’s important to note that this trade was for a swap of just 2026 draft picks. That’s nothing as far as compensation, which does not exactly guarantee a large role for Akers in this offense. We’ve seen in the past – Sony Michel to the LA Rams as a prime example – that just because a player is acquired, it will not necessarily lead to the RB1 role in an offense.

Was this a depth addition for the Vikings? Or was this a death sentence for Mattison’s role as the RB1 in Minnesota?

In my opinion, this was an opportunity for head coach Kevin O’Connell to bring in a talented player for next to nothing that knows his system and he’s familiar with from his time in LA. Akers has done very little to prove that he should take over this backfield right away.

Mattison and the Vikings have a matchup this week against the Los Angeles Chargers defense that has been gashed by opponent’s so far this season. This is a prime opportunity to see if Mattison can deliver with an easier matchup in front of him and potentially keep Akers on the sideline.

In my opinion, Mattison is not a player that you should release to the waiver wire. He’s actually a buy in fantasy football right now because people are panicking right now and simply ready to move on for next to nothing.

MORE: Fantasy Football’s Week 3 Burning Start/Sit Questions

You may be able to move a bench player off of your roster to go acquire Mattison. The opportunity to buy a RB1 for a NFL offense for dirt cheap doesn’t present itself very often, so take advantage of it and go get him to see how this all plays out.

If you do want to try to acquire Mattison in your fantasy football league, try running some trade scenarios in our free Trade Analyzer! You can customize values for your league size and you can select any major scoring format.

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Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Fantasy Podcast on our Fantasy YouTube channel.

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