NFL The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time  

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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!
list ordered by

1
2,550 1,491
Tony Gonzalez is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Tony Gonzalez California Golden Bears football, Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs

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2
3,420 1,745
Rob Gronkowski is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Rob Gronkowski Arizona Wildcats football, New England Patriots

3
1,995 1,160
Antonio Gates is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Antonio Gates San Diego Chargers

4
1,782 958
Shannon Sharpe is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Shannon Sharpe Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens, Savannah State Tigers football

5
2,295 1,121
Jason Witten is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Jason Witten Tennessee Volunteers football, Dallas Cowboys

6
1,465 908
Mike Ditka is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Mike Ditka Chicago Bears, Pittsburgh Panthers football, Philadelphia Eagles

7
1,385 758
Kellen Winslow is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Kellen Winslow Missouri Tigers football, San Diego Chargers

8
899 655
Ozzie Newsome is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Ozzie Newsome Cleveland Browns

9
804 570
Dave Casper is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time

10
861 624
John Mackey is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
John Mackey Baltimore Colts, Syracuse Orange football, San Diego Chargers

11
1,141 821
Jimmy Graham is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
AhmadPoloswaggoutConteh added Jimmy Graham New Orleans Saints

12
689 379
Greg Olsen is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Greg Olsen Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers, Miami Hurricanes football

13
616 570
Jay Novacek is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Jay Novacek Phoenix Cardinals, Wyoming Cowboys football, Dallas Cowboys

14
503 429
Ben Coates is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time

15
523 448
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

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16
507 365
Vernon Davis is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Vernon Davis Maryland Terrapins football, San Francisco 49ers

17
502 458
Dallas Clark is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Dallas Clark Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens

18
433 463
Todd Christensen is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time

19
430 276
Heath Miller is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Heath Miller Pittsburgh Steelers

20
405 445
Jeremy Shockey is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Jeremy Shockey New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, Miami Hurricanes football

21
231 96
Travis Kelce is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Travis Kelce Cincinnati Bearcats football, Kansas City Chiefs

22
240 378
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
299 243
Julius Thomas is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
FrankMades added Julius Thomas Denver Broncos

24
242 344
Keith Jackson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time

25
236 371
Brent Jones is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Brent Jones San Francisco 49ers

26
168 122
Martellus Bennett is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
slaft added Martellus Bennett Texas A&M Aggies football, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys

27
141 78
Delanie Walker is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Esavi added Delanie Walker San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans

28
225 333
Todd Heap is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Todd Heap Arizona Cardinals, Arizona State Sun Devils football, Baltimore Ravens

29
202 336
Charlie Sanders is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time

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30
80 62
Benjamin Watson is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Benjamin Watson New Orleans Saints, Georgia Bulldogs football team, New England Patriots

31
163 167
Russ Francis is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
RobSpencer added Russ Francis

32
160 168
Owen Daniels is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Owen Daniels Houston Texans

33
108 131
Frank Wycheck is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
slaft added Frank Wycheck

34
151 222
Billy Joe DuPree is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time

35
83 41
Jordan Reed is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
carmela-launi added Jordan Reed Washington Redskins, Florida Gators football

36
134 271
Wesley Walls is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time

37
144 273
Jerry Smith is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time

38
128 254
Raymond Chester is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time

39
78 42
Kyle Rudolph is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Kenneth Lehrer added Kyle Rudolph Notre Dame Fighting Irish football, Minnesota Vikings

40
77 126
Alge Crumpler is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
chile6880 added Alge Crumpler Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots

41
70 61
Tyler Eifert is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
himow added Tyler Eifert

42
78 120
Chris Cooley is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
slaft added Chris Cooley Washington Redskins, Utah State Aggies football

43
95 253
Riley Odoms is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time

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44
71 99
Brent Celek is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
slaft added Brent Celek Cincinnati Bearcats football, Philadelphia Eagles

45
51 88
Billy Cannon is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
slaft added Billy Cannon

46
85 192
Steve Jordan is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
JBK1 added Steve Jordan

47
33 95
Charle Young is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
slaft added Charle Young

48
41 87
Mickey Shuler is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
slaft added Mickey Shuler Oakland Raiders

49
28 40
Dennis Pitta is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
1478703840471 added Dennis Pitta Baltimore Ravens, BYU Cougars football

50
67 215
Rich Caster is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time