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The Greatest Tight Ends Of All Time 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated April 16, 2020 99k votes 15.7k voters 197.3k views 92 items

List Rules Only NFL tight ends. No wide receivers or college players.

The greatest tight ends of all time are those dynamic National Football League players who have played the position better than anyone else. The tight end position is a unique one as it has evolved from a blocking player to one that focuses more on receptions meaning each of these best NFL tight ends dominated the role as it was played during their prime.

There is a reason that the Mackey Award is given out each year to the top tight end in college football. That's because John Mackey is easily the best tight end ever to play football. The now Pro Football Hall of Fame member dominated the position with the Baltimore Colts and San Diego Chargers and made the position one to recognize.

Following in Mackey's footsteps are dozens of other talented and famous tight ends such as Tony Gonzalez, the first tight end to catch over 1,000 passes, Kellen Winslow Sr. who dazzled at tight end for the San Diego Chargers, the great Mike Ditka, who before coaching or broadcasting averaged 19.2 yards per catch and notched 12 touchdowns as a rookie and Shannon Sharpe, who topped an amazing 10,000 yards over his career in Denver and Baltimore.

But the top tight ends in the NFL don't stop there. Young stars have taken the offensive position to an entire new level and fascinated fans everywhere along the way, racking up crazy stats and scoring touchdowns left and right. Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots is a perfect example of that as he has become the envy of other teams, fans and players with his talent.

Who do you think played the best at tight end of all time? Vote for your favorites, add any not listed or re-rank this list your way all below! Want more football rankings? Check out the greatest linebackers of all time and the greatest NFL punters of all time too! If you're a fantasy football player, head over and help decide the best fantasy football TEs of 2019

list ordered by
1
Rob Gronkowski is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends Of All Time
Tight end from Amherst, New York

Teams: New England Patriots

Age: 26

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#1,733 of 2,166 The Best Athletes Of All Time #40 of 1,537 The Best Football Players Ever #145 of 350 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

2
Jason Witten is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends Of All Time
Tight end from Elizabethton, Tennessee, United States of America

Teams: Dallas Cowboys

Age: 36

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#100 of 1,537 The Best Football Players Ever #30 of 52 The Most Likable Active NFL Players #34 of 34 The Most Overpaid Professional Athletes Right Now

3
Kellen Winslow is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends Of All Time
4
Shannon Sharpe is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends Of All Time
Tight end from Chicago, Illinois, USA

Teams: Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens

Age: 50

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#62 of 1,537 The Best Football Players Ever #74 of 343 The Most Obnoxious Athletes #10 of 95 The Best Baltimore Ravens of All Time

5
Antonio Gates is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends Of All Time
Tight end from Detroit, Michigan, United States of America

Teams: San Diego Chargers

Age: 38

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#61 of 1,537 The Best Football Players Ever #5 of 57 The Best College Football Tight Ends of All Time #40 of 77 The Best Athletes Who Have Used Performance Enhancing Drugs

6
Tony Gonzalez is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends Of All Time
Tight end from Torrance, California, United States of America

Teams: Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs

Age: 39

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#25 of 1,537 The Best Football Players Ever #27 of 350 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame #1 of 24 The Best NFL Tight Ends of the '90s

7
Mike Ditka is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends Of All Time
Tight end from Carnegie, Pennsylvania, United States of America

Teams: Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys

Age: 79

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#54 of 1,537 The Best Football Players Ever #6 of 147 The Greatest Chicago Bears of All Timelisted on Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative

8
Ozzie Newsome is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends Of All Time
Tight end from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, United States of America

Teams: Cleveland Browns

Age: 59

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#151 of 1,537 The Best Football Players Ever #8 of 91 The Best Alabama Crimson Tide Football Players of All Time #10 of 57 The Best College Football Tight Ends of All Time

9
Travis Kelce is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends Of All Time
Travis Kelce Tight end from Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Teams: Kansas City Chiefs

Age: 26

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#99 of 152 The Best Hot Ones Guests Ever #325 of 1,537 The Best Football Players Ever #17 of 57 The Best College Football Tight Ends of All Time

10
Greg Olsen is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends Of All Time
Tight end from Wayne, New Jersey

Teams: Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers

Age: 30

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#17 of 64 The Best Miami Football Players of All Time #196 of 1,537 The Best Football Players Ever #51 of 147 The Greatest Chicago Bears of All Time

11
John Mackey is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends Of All Time
Tight end from New York City, New York

Teams: Baltimore Colts, San Diego Chargers

Age: Dec. at 70 (1941-2011)

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#167 of 1,537 The Best Football Players Ever #23 of 35 Undeserving Members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame #5 of 26 The Best NFL Tight Ends of the '70s

12
Dave Casper is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends Of All Time
Tight end and Wide receiver from Bemidji, Minnesota

Teams: Oakland Raiders, Houston Oilers, Minnesota Vikings, Los Angeles Raiders

Age: 64

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#144 of 1,537 The Best Football Players Ever #16 of 83 The Best Notre Dame Football Players of All Time #12 of 57 The Best College Football Tight Ends of All Time

13
Jimmy Graham is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends Of All Time
AhmadPoloswaggoutConteh added Tight end from Goldsboro, North Carolina

Teams: New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers

Age: 32

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#20 of 64 The Best Miami Football Players of All Time #208 of 1,537 The Best Football Players Ever #12 of 34 The Most Overpaid Professional Athletes Right Now

14
Vernon Davis is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends Of All Time
Tight end from Washington, D.C.

Teams: San Francisco 49ers

Age: 35

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#282 of 1,537 The Best Football Players Ever #65 of 112 The Greatest Washington Redskins of All Time #41 of 41 The 41 Hottest Men in the NFL

15
Dallas Clark is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends Of All Time
Tight end from Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Teams: Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens

Age: 39

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#77 of 81 The Best Tampa Bay Buccaneers of All Time #1 of 40 The Best Indianapolis Colts Tight Ends Of All Time #11 of 28 The Best Baltimore Ravens Tight Ends Of All Time

16
Mark Bavaro is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends Of All Time
Tight end from Winthrop, Massachusetts

Teams: Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants

Age: 52

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#589 of 1,537 The Best Football Players Ever #40 of 83 The Best Notre Dame Football Players of All Time #6 of 24 The Best NFL Tight Ends of the '90s

17
Ben Coates is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends Of All Time
Tight end from Greenwood, South Carolina

Teams: New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens

Age: 46

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#673 of 1,537 The Best Football Players Ever #3 of 24 The Best NFL Tight Ends of the '90s #22 of 57 The Best College Football Tight Ends of All Time

18
Ranker Video
Tight end from Richlands, Virginia, United States of America

Teams: Pittsburgh Steelers

Age: 36

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#289 of 1,537 The Best Football Players Ever #16 of 57 The Best College Football Tight Ends of All Time #19 of 129 The Best Pittsburgh Steelers of All Time

19
Jay Novacek is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends Of All Time
Tight end from Martin, South Dakota, United States of America

Teams: Phoenix Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys

Age: 53

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#295 of 1,537 The Best Football Players Ever #4 of 24 The Best NFL Tight Ends of the '90s #7 of 25 The Best NFL Tight Ends of the '80s

20
Jeremy Shockey is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends Of All Time
Tight end from Ada, Oklahoma

Teams: New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, New York Giants

Age: 35

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#14 of 64 The Best Miami Football Players of All Time #557 of 1,537 The Best Football Players Ever #8 of 57 The Best College Football Tight Ends of All Time

21
Todd Christensen is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends Of All Time
Todd Christensen Fullback and Tight end from Bellefonte, Pennsylvania

Teams: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Oakland / Los Angeles Raiders

Age: Died at 57 (1956-2013)

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#1,091 of 1,537 The Best Football Players Ever #28 of 350 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Famelisted on College & Professional Athletes Who Were Raised Mormon

22
Zach Ertz is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends Of All Time
Zach Ertz Tight end from Orange, California

Teams: Philadelphia Eagles

Age: 25

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#3 of 33 The Best Tight Ends in the NFL #12 of 122 The Best Philadelphia Eagles of All Time #14 of 45 The Best NFL Players From California

23
Delanie Walker is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends Of All Time
Esavi added Tight end from Pomona, California

Teams: Tennessee Titans

Age: 31

24
Frank Wycheck is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends Of All Time
slaft added Tight end from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

Teams: Houston Oilers, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins

Age: 44

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#950 of 1,537 The Best Football Players Ever #7 of 24 The Best NFL Tight Ends of the '90s #44 of 86 The Best NFL Players From Pennsylvania

25
Russ Francis is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends Of All Time
RobSpencer added Tight end from Seattle, Washington, United States of America

Teams: New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers

Age: 65

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#37 of 111 The Best Oregon Ducks of All Time #9 of 25 The Best NFL Tight Ends of the '80s #4 of 26 The Best NFL Tight Ends of the '70s