NFL The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time  

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Originally by Ranker Community
59.5k votes 9.9k voters 156.1k views 93 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
2,941 1,766
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

2
3,913 2,151
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
2,349 1,395
Antonio Gates is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Antonio Gates San Diego Chargers

4
2,128 1,175
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
2,652 1,302
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
1,597 876
Kellen Winslow is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Kellen Winslow Missouri Tigers football, San Diego Chargers

7
1,642 1,053
Mike Ditka is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Mike Ditka Chicago Bears, Pittsburgh Panthers football, Philadelphia Eagles

8
1,071 769
Ozzie Newsome is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Ozzie Newsome Cleveland Browns

9
902 662
Dave Casper is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time

10
958 706
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
1,261 957
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
843 473
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
703 651
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
589 434
Vernon Davis is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Vernon Davis Maryland Terrapins football, San Francisco 49ers

The Dirtiest NFL Players of All Time

15
592 512
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
564 504
Ben Coates is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time

17
570 525
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
510 342
Heath Miller is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Heath Miller Pittsburgh Steelers

19
479 523
Todd Christensen is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time

20
351 155
Travis Kelce is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Travis Kelce Cincinnati Bearcats football, Kansas City Chiefs

21
472 511
Jeremy Shockey is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Jeremy Shockey New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, Miami Hurricanes football

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22
276 422
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
272 389
Keith Jackson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time

24
337 303
Julius Thomas is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
FrankMades added Julius Thomas Denver Broncos

25
199 121
Delanie Walker is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Esavi added Delanie Walker San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans

26
266 412
Brent Jones is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Brent Jones San Francisco 49ers

27
206 173
Martellus Bennett is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
slaft added Martellus Bennett Texas A&M Aggies football, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys

28
259 376
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

The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time

29
218 375
Charlie Sanders is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time

30
190 198
Russ Francis is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
RobSpencer added Russ Francis

31
105 100
Benjamin Watson is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Benjamin Watson New Orleans Saints, Georgia Bulldogs football team, New England Patriots

32
144 162
Frank Wycheck is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
slaft added Frank Wycheck

33
119 72
Jordan Reed is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
carmela-launi added Jordan Reed Washington Redskins, Florida Gators football

34
182 204
Owen Daniels is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Owen Daniels Houston Texans

35
169 253
Billy Joe DuPree is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time

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36
152 301
Wesley Walls is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time

37
164 303
Jerry Smith is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time

38
118 70
Kyle Rudolph is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Kenneth Lehrer added Kyle Rudolph Notre Dame Fighting Irish football, Minnesota Vikings

39
137 284
Raymond Chester is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time

40
98 153
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
100 86
Tyler Eifert is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
himow added Tyler Eifert

42
96 123
Brent Celek is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
slaft added Brent Celek Cincinnati Bearcats football, Philadelphia Eagles

The Best Football Players Ever

43
98 147
Chris Cooley is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
slaft added Chris Cooley Washington Redskins, Utah State Aggies football

44
107 273
Riley Odoms is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time

45
62 110
Billy Cannon is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
slaft added Billy Cannon

46
93 217
Steve Jordan is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
JBK1 added Steve Jordan

47
44 59
Dennis Pitta is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
1478703840471 added Dennis Pitta Baltimore Ravens, BYU Cougars football

48
67 83
Mark Chmura is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Esavi added Mark Chmura Green Bay Packers, Boston College Eagles football

49
62 111
Kellen Winslow II is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time
Matthew Plowman added Kellen Winslow II Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots

50
74 232
Rich Caster is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Tight Ends of All Time