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16.4k voters

The Greatest Tight Ends Of All Time

Updated April 16, 2020 91.3k votes 16.4k voters 201.6k views87 items

List RulesOnly 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

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  • 1
    5,820
    3,416

    Rob Gronkowski

    New England Patriots

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  • 2
    4,481
    2,639

    Tony Gonzalez

    Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs
  • 3
    3,432
    2,047

    Antonio Gates

    San Diego Chargers
  • 4
    3,296
    1,976

    Shannon Sharpe

    Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens
  • 5
    2,295
    1,362

    Kellen Winslow

    San Diego Chargers

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  • 6
    1,518
    657

    Travis Kelce

    Kansas City Chiefs
  • 7
    3,303
    1,983

    Jason Witten

    Dallas Cowboys
  • 8
    2,131
    1,323

    Mike Ditka

    Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles

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  • 9
    1,550
    1,050

    Ozzie Newsome

    Cleveland Browns
  • 10
    1,239
    970

    John Mackey

    Baltimore Colts, San Diego Chargers

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  • 11
    1,447
    908

    Greg Olsen

    Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers

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    #49 of 144 The Greatest Chicago Bears of All Time#5 of 33 The Best Tight Ends in the NFL

  • 12
    1,183
    960

    Dave Casper

    Oakland Raiders, Houston Oilers

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  • 13
    948
    754

    Dallas Clark

    Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • 14
    564
    275

    Zach Ertz

    Philadelphia Eagles
  • 15
    890
    735

    Ben Coates

    New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens

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  • 16
    895
    746

    Mark Bavaro

    Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles

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  • 17
    916
    750

    Vernon Davis

    San Francisco 49ers
  • 18
    393
    118

    George Kittle

    San Franscisco 49ers
  • 19
    1,538
    1,429

    Jimmy Graham

    New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers

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  • 20
    712
    610

    Heath Miller

    Pittsburgh Steelers
  • 21
    900
    836

    Jay Novacek

    Phoenix Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys
  • 22
    741
    709

    Jeremy Shockey

    New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers

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    #7 of 57 The Best College Football Tight Ends of All Time#34 of 149 The Best New York Giants of All Time

  • 23
    646
    682

    Todd Christensen

    Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants

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  • 24
    359
    329

    Russ Francis

    New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers
  • 25
    347
    293

    Kyle Rudolph

    Minnesota Vikings