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16.4k voters

The Greatest Tight Ends Of All Time

Updated April 16, 2020 91.9k votes 16.4k voters 201.9k 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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  • 26
    405
    401

    Delanie Walker

    Tennessee Titans

    PositionTight end

    BirthplacePomona, California

    Age36

  • 27
    287
    302

    Frank Wycheck

    Houston Oilers, Tennessee Titans

    PositionTight end

    BirthplacePhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    Age48

  • 28
    336
    313

    Benjamin Watson

    New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots

    PositionTight end

    BirthplaceNorfolk, Virginia

    Age39

  • 29
    435
    519

    Keith Jackson

    Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins

    PositionTight end

    BirthplaceLittle Rock, Arkansas

    Age55

  • 30
    418
    546

    Jackie Smith

    St. Louis Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys

    PositionTight end

    BirthplaceColumbia, Mississippi

    Age80

  • 31
    203
    246

    Chris Cooley

    Washington Redskins

    PositionFullback, Tight end

    BirthplacePowell, Grant Village, Wyoming, United States of America

    Age38

  • 32
    229
    260

    Brent Celek

    Philadelphia Eagles

    PositionTight end

    BirthplaceCincinnati, Ohio

    Age35

  • 33
    351
    458

    Martellus Bennett

    Texas A&M Aggies football, Chicago Bears

    PositionTight end

    BirthplaceAlief, Houston, Texas, United States of America

    Age33

  • 34
    379
    503

    Todd Heap

    Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens

    PositionTight end

    BirthplaceMesa, Arizona, United States of America

    Age40

  • 35
    238
    294

    Jordan Reed

    Washington Redskins

    PositionTight end

    BirthplaceNew London, Connecticut

    Age30

  • 36
    149
    154

    Zach Miller

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars

    PositionQuarterback, Tight end

    BirthplaceWahoo, Nebraska

    Age31

  • 37
    99
    85

    Jared Cook

    Los Angeles Chargers

    PositionTight end

    BirthplaceBirmingham, Alabama

    Age33

  • 38
    189
    261

    Alge Crumpler

    Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots

    PositionTight end

    BirthplaceGreenville, North Carolina

    Age42

  • 39
    350
    517

    Brent Jones

    San Francisco 49ers

    PositionTight end

    BirthplaceSanta Clara, California

    Age57

  • 40
    129
    167

    Chad Lewis

    St. Louis Rams, Philadelphia Eagles

    PositionTight end

    BirthplaceFort Dix, New Hanover Township, New Jersey

    Age48

  • 41
    364
    547

    Julius Thomas

    Denver Broncos

    PositionTight end

    BirthplaceStockton, California

    Age32

  • 42
    187
    267

    Tyler Eifert

    Cincinnati Bengals

    PositionTight end

    BirthplaceFort Wayne, Indiana

    Age30

  • 43
    109
    136

    Paul Coffman

    Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs

    PositionTight end

    BirthplaceSt. Louis, Missouri

    Age64

  • 44
    232
    348

    Billy Joe DuPree

    Dallas Cowboys

    PositionTight end

    BirthplaceMonroe, Louisiana

    Age70

  • 45
    281
    452

    Charlie Sanders

    Detroit Lions

    PositionTight end

    BirthplaceRichlands, North Carolina

    Age74

    More 

    #9 of 119 The Best Detroit Lions of All Time#50 of 57 The Best College Football Tight Ends of All Time

  • 46
    212
    340

    Jerry Smith

    Washington Redskins

    PositionTight end

    BirthplaceEugene, Oregon

    AgeDec. at 43 (1943-1986)

    More Jerry Smith 

    #103 of 322 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame#42 of 110 The Greatest Washington Redskins of All Time

  • 47
    82
    108

    Hunter Henry

    Los Angeles Chargers

    PositionTight end

    BirthplaceLittle Rock, Arkansas

  • 48
    95
    133

    Ron Kramer

    Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions

    PositionEnd, Tight end

    BirthplaceGirard, Kansas

    AgeDec. at 75 (1935-2010)

  • 49
    120
    174

    Bob Trumpy

    Cincinnati Bengals

    PositionTight end

    BirthplaceSpringfield, Illinois, United States of America

    Age75

  • 50
    59
    76

    Austin Hooper

    Atlanta Falcons

    PositionTight end

    BirthplaceSan Mateo, California, USA