Football is a matchup game, and nowhere is that more apparent than at the tight end position.
This is the future of the NFL and this impressive tight end class best embodies that. These are five of the best athletes in the class of 2017, and while not every one of them will pan out at the next level, the immense amount of talent should start scaring opposing defensive coordinators now.
USA TODAY SportsSteve Mitchell
Bucky Hodges, Virginia Tech
There's risk in drafting Hodges — he's a converted quarterback who hasn't shown much polish at his new position.
That said, he's a 6-foot-7, 245-pound target who has insane athletic ability and is a matchup nightmare. Is he recent bust Eric Ebron or the next Antonio Gates? Both seem equally on the table.
Peter CaseyUSA TODAY Sports
Evan Engram, Ole Miss
It's easy to forget about Engram, who was a revelation as a senior at Ole Miss this year. An excellent receiver, Engram will need to show that he can line up in a prototypical tight end role and be effective as a blocker. He has the frame to make it happen.
Matt BushUSA TODAY Sports
Gerald Everett, South Alabama
He's drawing comparisons to Jordan Reed, who was one of the best tight ends in the NFL this year, and it's easy to see why: Everett has huge hands, a knack for finding the ball in tight windows, runs great routes, and has breakaway speed (though the latter might merely be a byproduct of his competition). He's the rising star at this position in this draft and could go in the first round.
Jake RothUSA TODAY Sports
David N'Joku, Miami
N'Joku is a top-5 talent, with incredible size and athleticism, strong production and perhaps most importantly, a ceiling that seems infinitely high.
The possibilities with this player are endless, and that could make him the first tight end off the board.
Jonathan DyerUSA TODAY Sports
O.J. Howard, Alabama
Don't overthink this — do you like Rob Gronkowski?
You'll like Howard. He's an elite pass catcher and great blocker — a three-down tight end who can be used in any package, formation, or role.