Big-12 Tight Ends Could Warrant Draft Attention From The New Orleans Saints For Klint Kubiak’s Scheme

This pair of productive Big-12 tight ends have flown under the radar, but each have the potential to be draft steals.

Big-12 Tight Ends Could Warrant Draft Attention From The New Orleans Saints For Klint Kubiak’s Scheme

The New Orleans Saints have an underrated need at tight end, yet have shown little emphasis at the position since trading Jimmy Graham back in 2015. That may change under new offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak.

Converted wideout Juwan Johnson can be a receiving mismatch, but is most effective in space. Traditional in-line tight end Foster Moreau is a good blocker, but isn’t much more than a moderate receiving threat at best.

Georgia Bulldogs TE Brock Bowers is a sure first-round choice, but will likely be gone when New Orleans selects at Number 14. There’s an obvious drop-off after Bowers, but still some nice potential at the position between late Day 2 and early into Day 3.

Here’s a look at two productive Big-12 tight ends that have been overshadowed by athletic Texas TE Ja’Tavion Sanders, but have the ability to make an NFL impact.

Jared Wiley, TE – TCU; 6’6″ & 249-Lbs.

undefinedTCU Horned Frogs tight end Jared Wiley (19) after a reception against the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Credit:© Annie Rice/Avalanche-Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Jared Wiley first committed to the Texas Longhorns out of Temple High School in Texas. He’d see limited action for the Longhorns, catching 19 passes for 248 yards between 2019 and 2021 before transferring to TCU.

Wiley had 24 catches for 245 yards and four scores for the National Runner-up Horned Frogs in 2022. Last season, he had 520 receiving yards and led TCU in receptions (47) and touchdowns (8).

Wiley has ideal size for the position and the added versatility of both an in-line target or an H-back. He’ll use his frame well to shield defenders from passes in high traffic areas. He also uses his height, good leaping ability, and outstanding hands to high-point throws with high efficiency.

With good straight-line speed, Wiley presents a threat on seam routes down the field. He has excellent route precision to get separation and is aggressive in the open field after the catch. As a blocker, he has ideal technique and uses angles to his advantage.

undefinedTCU Horned Frogs tight end Jared Wiley (19) makes a play down the field against the Texas Longhorns. Credit:© Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports


Despite his size, Wiley hasn’t shown much power as a blocker. He’ll need to improve his upper body strength to be able to maintain his blocks and be a legitimate factor for the running game.

Wiley doesn’t have great short area quickness. As a result, he has been more effective as a downfield target or over the middle on crossing routes. He’ll need to continue to improve his route breaks for separation on intermediate patterns.

Jared Wiley is a probable mid to late Day 3 pick. He doesn’t have the look of a dynamic offensive threat. However, he has the all-around skills to be a serviceable starter with some scheme versatility and the ability to be a viable contributor in every capacity.

Wiley and another Big-12 tight end both have the upside to be a 2024 NFL Draft steal.


Ben Sinnott, TE – Kansas State; 6’4″ & 250-Lbs.

undefinedKansas State Wildcats tight end Ben Sinnott (34) pulls in a touchdown pass against the Missouri Tigers. Credit:© Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports


Ben Sinnott started his collegiate career as a walk-on fullback at Kansas State in 2020. He was a little-used reserve his first two seasons, catching a total of two passes for 15 yards.

In 2022, Sinnott saw more action at both fullback and tight end, catching 31 passes for 447 yards and four scores. He led the Wildcats with 676 yards last season, catching 49 balls and scoring six times.

An athletic former fullback, Sinnott managed to add bulk over college career without sacrificing agility. He shows decent route running skills with an impressive arc of improvement. Also an asset for the running game, Sinnott has good power and tenacity as a blocker.

Sinnott has enough speed to be a legitimate threat as a route runner on all three levels. He adjusts to off-target throws extremely well. After the catch, Sinnott has excellent open field running ability.

undefinedKansas State Wildcats tight end Ben Sinnott (34) catches a touchdown pass against the Kansas Jayhawks. Credit:© Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

One negative reason for Sinnott seeing more time at tight end is that he struggled in one-on-one matchups as a pass blocker. He’ll also need to improve his overall technique in the rushing attack to sustain his run blocks more consistently.

Sinnott is a good all-around athlete, but lacks explosiveness. He’ll need to use his size better at the top of his routes, but also must continue to improve his break precision to get separation.

Ben Sinnott should be an early Day 3 draft pick with the possibility of sneaking late into the third round. He’ll be able to challenge for snaps right away because of his versatility. It’s that versatility that gives him the upside of a starter who contributes to an offense in several ways.

Klint Kubiak’s offensive system has always been able to maximize to use of a versatile tight end. Juwan Johnson should see increased production in this system. However, don’t be surprised if the Saints add another tight end who can be a legitimate threat as a pass catcher but also hold up as an in-line blocker.

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