NFL The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time  

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Originally by Ranker Community
67.9k votes 11.2k voters 165.8k 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!
list ordered by

1
3,290 2,062
Tony Gonzalez is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs

2
4,395 2,492
Rob Gronkowski is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
New England Patriots

3
2,694 1,562
Antonio Gates is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
San Diego Chargers

4
2,478 1,345
Shannon Sharpe is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens

5
2,932 1,463
Jason Witten is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Dallas Cowboys

6
1,837 962
Kellen Winslow is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
San Diego Chargers

7
1,803 1,164
Mike Ditka is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys

8
1,208 864
Ozzie Newsome is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Cleveland Browns

9
1,054 794
John Mackey is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Baltimore Colts, San Diego Chargers

10
975 759
Dave Casper is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Oakland Raiders, Houston Oilers, Minnesota Vikings

11
1,377 1,087
Jimmy Graham is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
AhmadPoloswaggoutConteh added New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers

12
976 562
Greg Olsen is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers

13
799 727
Jay Novacek is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Phoenix Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys

14
678 578
Mark Bavaro is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants

15
659 584
Dallas Clark is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens

16
513 211
Travis Kelce is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Kansas City Chiefs

17
676 528
Vernon Davis is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
San Francisco 49ers

18
617 574
Ben Coates is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens

19
541 575
Todd Christensen is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Oakland / Los Angeles Raiders

20
580 393
Ranker Video
Pittsburgh Steelers

21
539 573
Jeremy Shockey is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, New York Giants

22
314 461
Jackie Smith is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
St. Louis Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys

23
316 420
Keith Jackson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers

24
295 444
Brent Jones is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
San Francisco 49ers

25
244 166
Delanie Walker is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Esavi added San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans

26
361 367
Julius Thomas is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
FrankMades added Denver Broncos

27
291 411
Todd Heap is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens

28
239 225
Martellus Bennett is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
slaft added Texas A&M Aggies football, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys

29
242 404
Charlie Sanders is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Detroit Lions

30
222 225
Russ Francis is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
RobSpencer added New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers

31
136 133
Benjamin Watson is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns

32
175 186
Frank Wycheck is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
slaft added Houston Oilers, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins

33
147 106
Jordan Reed is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
carmela-launi added Washington Redskins

34
189 279
Billy Joe DuPree is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Dallas Cowboys

35
155 101
Kyle Rudolph is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Kenneth Lehrer added Minnesota Vikings

36
181 332
Jerry Smith is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Washington Redskins

37
166 330
Wesley Walls is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Carolina Panthers

38
192 237
Owen Daniels is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Houston Texans

39
127 147
Brent Celek is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
slaft added Philadelphia Eagles

40
116 178
Ranker Video
chile6880 added Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans

41
152 308
Raymond Chester is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Baltimore Colts, Oakland Raiders

42
125 290
Riley Odoms is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Denver Bronces

43
117 168
Chris Cooley is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
slaft added Washington Redskins

44
118 122
Tyler Eifert is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
himow added Tyler Eifert Cincinnati Bengals

45
133 42
Zach Ertz is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Philadelphia Eagles

46
72 128
Ranker Video
slaft added Houston Oilers, Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs

47
105 237
Steve Jordan is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
JBK1 added Minnesota Vikings

48
83 101
Ranker Video
Esavi added Green Bay Packers

49
54 82
Dennis Pitta is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
1478703840471 added Baltimore Ravens

50
48 133
Charle Young is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
slaft added Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers