NFL The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time  

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Originally by Ranker Community
64.8k votes 10.7k voters 161.8k views 91 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!

1
3,168 1,952
Tony Gonzalez is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Tony Gonzalez Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs

2
4,208 2,372
Rob Gronkowski is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Rob Gronkowski New England Patriots

3
2,558 1,508
Antonio Gates is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Antonio Gates San Diego Chargers

4
2,354 1,292
Shannon Sharpe is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Shannon Sharpe Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens

5
2,826 1,410
Jason Witten is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Jason Witten Dallas Cowboys

6
1,763 935
Kellen Winslow is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Kellen Winslow San Diego Chargers

7
1,742 1,127
Mike Ditka is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Mike Ditka Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys

8
1,166 831
Ozzie Newsome is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Ozzie Newsome Cleveland Browns

9
948 718
Dave Casper is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Dave Casper Oakland Raiders, Houston Oilers, Minnesota Vikings

10
1,019 763
John Mackey is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
John Mackey Baltimore Colts, San Diego Chargers

11
1,325 1,039
Jimmy Graham is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
AhmadPoloswaggoutConteh added Jimmy Graham New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers

12
913 534
Greg Olsen is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Greg Olsen Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers

13
763 702
Jay Novacek is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Jay Novacek Phoenix Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys

14
644 499
Vernon Davis is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Vernon Davis San Francisco 49ers

15
640 557
Mark Bavaro is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Mark Bavaro Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants

16
618 560
Dallas Clark is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Dallas Clark Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens

17
593 553
Ben Coates is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Ben Coates New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens

18
447 187
Travis Kelce is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Travis Kelce Kansas City Chiefs

19
513 559
Todd Christensen is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Todd Christensen Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Oakland / Los Angeles Raiders

20
547 379
Ranker Video
Heath Miller Pittsburgh Steelers

21
519 549
Jeremy Shockey is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Jeremy Shockey New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, New York Giants

22
298 451
Jackie Smith is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Jackie Smith St. Louis Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys

23
301 410
Keith Jackson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Keith Jackson Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers

24
229 149
Delanie Walker is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Esavi added Delanie Walker San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans

25
281 435
Brent Jones is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Brent Jones San Francisco 49ers

26
350 343
Julius Thomas is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
FrankMades added Julius Thomas Denver Broncos

27
277 399
Todd Heap is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Todd Heap Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens

28
221 209
Martellus Bennett is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
slaft added Martellus Bennett Texas A&M Aggies football, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys

29
233 391
Charlie Sanders is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Charlie Sanders Detroit Lions

30
212 214
Russ Francis is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
RobSpencer added Russ Francis New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers

31
121 121
Benjamin Watson is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Benjamin Watson New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns

32
161 178
Frank Wycheck is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
slaft added Frank Wycheck Houston Oilers, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins

33
136 93
Jordan Reed is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
carmela-launi added Jordan Reed Washington Redskins

34
183 269
Billy Joe DuPree is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Billy Joe DuPree Dallas Cowboys

35
190 223
Owen Daniels is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Owen Daniels Houston Texans

36
177 320
Jerry Smith is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Jerry Smith Washington Redskins

37
137 87
Kyle Rudolph is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Kenneth Lehrer added Kyle Rudolph Minnesota Vikings

38
158 319
Wesley Walls is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Wesley Walls Carolina Panthers

39
115 135
Brent Celek is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
slaft added Brent Celek Philadelphia Eagles

40
146 298
Raymond Chester is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Raymond Chester Baltimore Colts, Oakland Raiders

41
106 168
Ranker Video
chile6880 added Alge Crumpler Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans

42
118 283
Riley Odoms is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Riley Odoms Denver Bronces

43
107 108
Tyler Eifert is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
himow added Tyler Eifert Cincinnati Bengals

44
106 160
Chris Cooley is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
slaft added Chris Cooley Washington Redskins

45
67 121
Ranker Video
slaft added Billy Cannon Houston Oilers, Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs

46
101 35
Zach Ertz is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Zach Ertz Philadelphia Eagles

47
100 229
Steve Jordan is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
JBK1 added Steve Jordan Minnesota Vikings

48
50 76
Dennis Pitta is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
1478703840471 added Dennis Pitta Baltimore Ravens

49
78 95
Ranker Video
Esavi added Mark Chmura Green Bay Packers

50
46 127
Charle Young is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
slaft added Charle Young Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers