This time of year I get a lot of requests for "where will <rookie> fit into the rankings, once you add him?" And the truth is, I don't really know. Yes, I put together my first run at 2021 rookie rankings. I even adjusted the pick values a little in the Dynasty Trade Chart, to reflect my feelings on the class as a whole. But actually putting them into my rankings without a 2021 projection -- or even a 2021 team -- is a bridge too far for me.
To make it up to you, I'm doing a pre-draft tiers update with my expectation of where the rookies will slot in.
At tight end, the conversation starts (and maybe ends) with Kyle Pitts. Just how good of a prospect is Pitts? He's making everyone forget just how bad young tight ends actually are. To illustrate that, I ran a Twitter poll on Thursday morning, asking whether Dynasty managers would prefer Pitts or T.J. Hockenson. Pitts had more than 78% of the vote through the first 800 votes.
I feel like I've rehashed Pitts' incredible size, speed, and production numerous times, but in case you missed it: He's 20 years old, Six-foot-six, 245 pounds, with the longest reach ever measured for a wide receiver or tight end prospect. He runs a sub-4.5 40-yard dash and he averaged nearly 100 yards per game his final year at Florida, scoring 12 times in eight games. Need more? Read his prospect profile from Dan Schneier.
I chose Hockenson because he's particularly relevant for me as I try to fit Pitts into my tiers. Hockenson leads off Tier 2, behind only George Kittle, Mark Andrews, Travis Kelce, and Darren Waller. I can't envision placing Pitts with those proven elite options immediately, but the consensus appears to desire Pitts far more than Hockenson.
I'll be honest, I'm struggling to remain the voice of reason here. I feel about Pitts similarly to how I felt about Jonathan Taylor last year at this time. To steal a phrase from the Marvel Universe, he feels inevitable. But you'll remember what happened to Thanos after he declared that. Something similar has happened to the careers of elite athletes at tight end in the past.
That slight bit of risk is enough for me to anticipate Pitts in Tier 2, with Hockenson and Noah Fant. If I was a contender, I'd rather have Hockenson or Fant. But for a team in a true rebuild, Pitts could easily be your preference.
As for the rest of the class, I'm not particularly excited. Pat Friermuth and Brevin Jordan look like Tier 5 options who could find their way into Tier 4 with a perfect landing spot and enough draft capital. Tommy Tremble may belong in that discussion as well. But like so many rookie tight ends before them, I wouldn't expect anything at all for at least the first year of their career, probably longer.
Here are the updated Dynasty tight end tiers:
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