Devy Fantasy Football: Incoming Freshmen Tight Ends to Watch (2022)
We wrap up our “Incoming Freshmen to Watch” series with the least glamorous of the fantasy positions, the tight ends. Tight ends are usually slower developers at both the college and NFL levels due to the complexity of the position and the multiple skill sets it requires.
Here are five names to keep on your radar that should be NFL players in a few years.
Oscar Delp (TE – Georgia)
Oscar Delp is a 6’5, 225-pound tight end from Cumming, Ga. He is a four-star prospect, the No. 2 tight end, and the No. 100 overall player in the 247Sports composite rankings. He will stay home to play his college football with the reigning National Champion Georgia Bulldogs.
Delp is precisely what we are looking for in fantasy football, as his receiving traits are what make him great. He’s fast, runs good routes, and is a menace with the ball in his hands after the catch. Delp will need to develop as a blocker at the college level but is highly advanced as a pass-catcher. He pairs his tremendous athleticism with an equally impressive physical frame, the perfect recipe for an elite tight end.
Delp joins the deepest and most star-studded tight end group in the country at Georgia. The group includes 2021’s breakout freshman and All-American Brock Bowers, along with former five-star recruits Arik Gilbert and Darnell Washington. On paper, it seems like it could be challenging for Delp to see early playing time, but Bowers was in the same boat last year. Gilbert and Washington have had their ups and downs, and Georgia is a unique offense that prioritizes the tight end position more than most. Whether Delp produces as a freshman or not, he is an elite prospect that should safely see day-two NFL Draft capital in a few years.
Jaleel Skinner (TE – Miami)
Jaleel Skinner is a 6’5, 215-pound tight end from Greer, S.C. To finish his high school career, he transferred to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Skinner is a four-star prospect and the No. 3 ranked tight end in the 247Sports composite rankings. The former Alabama commit signed with the Miami Hurricanes, where he enrolled in January.
Skinner’s freakish length and athletic ability will draw unfair comparisons to Kyle Pitts of the Atlanta Falcons. Pitts is 20 pounds heavier than Skinner, though, even when he was Skinner’s age. To fill out his frame, Skinner needs to gain weight in college but is an excellent pass-catching tight end prospect nonetheless. The three-sport athlete’s length makes him a dangerous weapon as a receiver, but he is raw and will need to grow into the rest of the package.
Skinner joins Mario Cristobal’s new-look Hurricanes team in Miami, a school with a rich tradition of producing NFL tight ends. He will join Will Mallory and Elijah Arroyo on the current roster, both of whom are NFL prospects themselves. Skinner isn’t a player likely to produce early, but if he can gain weight while steadily improving as a tight end, expect him to eventually be the first name called amongst tight ends at the NFL Draft.
Jake Johnson (TE – Texas A&M)
Jake Johnson is a 6’5, 225-pound tight end from Bogart, Ga. He is a four-star prospect, the No. 8 player in Georgia, and the Nation’s No. 1 tight end in the 247Sports composite rankings. He is a former LSU commit and is the brother of former LSU quarterback Max Johnson, who left the Tigers program amidst the Head Coaching change. Jake and Max Johnson decided to play their college ball together and will team up at Texas A&M.
Jake Johnson is not only the ideal receiving weapon fantasy managers desire, but he is also the best blocker in the class. His technique and physicality shine through, allowing what is usually a weakness for tight end prospects to be a strength for him. He also possesses a high football IQ and seems to do all the small things right. He is a great route runner, using excellent footwork and manipulation to create space from defenders as a receiver. He effectively uses his size in contested catch situations and when shedding tacklers to accumulate yards after the catch. It’s challenging to find a hole in Jake Johnson’s profile.
He joins a Texas A&M team that is losing a lot of talent to the NFL and is bringing in the best recruiting class in the Nation. At tight end, last year’s starter Jalen Wydermyer has moved on to the NFL. Jake Johnson’s primary competition should come from fellow four-star freshmen Donovan Green and Theodor Melin Ohrstrom. With Johnson’s complete profile, he should garner this class’s highest NFL Draft capital, challenging for day-one capital with a safe day-two floor.
Donovan Green (TE – Texas A&M)
Donovan Green is a 6’4, 235-pound tight end from Dickinson, Texas. He is a four-star prospect and the No. 4 ranked tight end in the 247Sports composite rankings. He is staying in Texas and will join Jake Johnson in the tight end room for Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies at Texas A&M.
Green is balanced across the board regarding his traits as a prospect. He projects as a plus athlete but isn’t in Skinner’s league athletically. He also projects as a plus blocker and does the small things well like Johnson, but he’s not as efficient. If he can put both sides of his game together, he could be better than both players; his current strengths are versatility and fluidity as a pass-catcher. Green is the type of player that should be an every-down player as his career progresses.
Green and Jake Johnson will compete for early playing time, with 2021 starter Wydermyer an early declaration to the NFL Draft. Green projects as a productive college player and a day-three NFL Draft prospect.
Keyan Burnett (TE – Arizona)
Keyan Burnett is a 6’4, 225-pound tight end from Anaheim, Calif. He is a four-star prospect and the No. 7 ranked tight end in the 247Sports composite rankings. Burnett was high school teammates with four-star wide receiver and Arizona signee Tetairoa McMillan at Servite High School. They will continue to be teammates in college as Burnett is also signed to play football with the Arizona Wildcats.
Burnett is a multi-sport athlete with a thick, solid frame. His skill sets from running track and playing basketball shine through on the gridiron, where he is a mismatch nightmare for defenders as a pass-catcher. His body control and physicality make him a contested-catch monster. He has already flashed his receiving prowess on film in an Arizona uniform as he looked tremendous as a red-zone weapon in the Wildcats’ spring game.
Burnett joins a new-look Arizona team that brings in high-profile transfers in quarterback Jayden DeLaura and wide receiver Jacob Cowing. But Burnett and high school teammate McMillan headline an excellent recruiting class for the Wildcats, leaving many excited for the future of the Arizona offense. Burnett should have an All-Conference career at Arizona and see at least day-three NFL Draft capital.
- An Introduction to Devy Leagues
- Devy Draft Strategy Guide
- Devy Sleepers to Target
- Devy Mock Draft: Round 1
- Incoming Freshmen Running Backs to Watch
- Incoming Freshmen Quarterbacks to Watch
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Christian Welch is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Christian, follow him @EvilEmpireFF.