Bryson Nesbit

Devy TE Landscape: Part 2

Welcome back for Part 2 of 3 in this “Devy TE Landscape” series. If you missed Part 1, be sure to check that out here. Part 1 covered my Top 5 ranked tight ends that are eligible for the 2024 NFL draft. In Part 2, we’ll cover my 6th-10th ranked tight ends in this draft class, and Part 3 will cover which underclassmen we should be paying attention to in Devy regarding the tight end position. Let’s pick up where we left off with my TE #6 in the class! 

6. Bryson Nesbit | North Carolina

Bryson Nesbit was a 3-star recruit from South Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, North Carolina. Statistically, he had a modest high school football career compared to most on our list, only exceeding 500 yards receiving once in his junior season. Nesbit was still a highly sought-after recruit, getting offers from teams like Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, LSU, and Louisville. Strategically playing it like poker hands to play charts, Bryson ultimately decided to stay in his hometown and play for the Tar Heels and HC Mack Brown. 

Nesbitt’s breakout season was as a sophomore in 2022, totaling 35 receptions for 507 yards and four touchdowns. He’s surpassed all those numbers through ten contests as a junior, currently averaging 3.6 receptions, 50.8 yards, and 0.5 touchdowns per game. Drake Maye and this Tar Heel offense spread it out to a bunch of players, with six already having over 20 receptions during the year. Nesbit is near the top of all these statistical categories and is one of Maye’s favorite, most reliable targets.

Bryson is currently projected as a 6th-round draft pick, and much of this is due to his lack of blocking skills. Nesbit is a quick, athletic TE with soft hands, but he’s not overly sturdy (6’5″, 235 lbs) and can get pushed around a bit at the line of scrimmage. He does look like he’s continuing to grow and mature, so if Bryson can refine these skills and add some lean mass to his frame, he could be a steal on Day 3 for some NFL team. We’ll see if he declares or returns for his senior year. Nesbit’s athleticism and pass-catching ability give him a decent ceiling as a fantasy asset. 

7. Oronde Gadsden II | Syracuse

Oronde Gadsden II is the son of Oronde Gadsden, former Miami Dolphins wide receiver. Gadsden Sr. finished his career with 227 receptions for 3,252 yards and 22 touchdowns over six seasons, certainly nothing to scoff at, but his son has the talent to blow these numbers out of the water if everything rolls right.

Gadsden put together one of the more impressive TE seasons in 2022, and he was just a 19-year-old sophomore. Gadsden finished Year 2 with 61 receptions for 969 yards and six touchdowns. After that monster year, the hype began to build around Gadsden, and he was even projected as a first-round pick in the 2024 draft as late as August 2023, according to NFL Mock Draft Database. He earned All-ACC honors and was named a Preseason All-American heading into his 2023 campaign, so expectations were sky-high for this young star.

Unfortunately, Gadsden suffered a Lisfranc injury in Week 2 this season against Western Michigan, sidelining him for the entire year. As we know from prior college and NFL players who have dealt with Lisfranc injuries, it takes time to return to full form. Since the injury, Gadsden’s draft projection has dropped to the 7th round, so I wouldn’t be remotely surprised if he stays in Syracuse for his senior year to help build that draft capital back up.

Gadsden is one of the thinnest TEs in the Power 5, measuring 6’5″, 223 lbs. He’s built more like a wide receiver than a tight end and may transition to the WR position at the NFL or be a slot guy at the very least. Oronde is a smooth route-runner, solid in contested catch situations, and can create yards after the catch. He’s the type of player that could have a sneaky high ceiling for fantasy purposes, but the floor is pretty low due to the injury concerns. 

8. Jalin Conyers | Arizona State

Jalin Conyers, the redshirt junior from Arizona State, is next on our list. Conyers was a 4-star recruit from Gruver, Texas, initially committed to Oklahoma. After not seeing the field in 2020, Conyers redshirted and transferred to Arizona State to play in the Pac-12. Jalin’s redshirt freshman season in Tempe was limited, only appearing in four games and collecting six passes for 62 yards and a touchdown. His sophomore season was much more impressive, totaling 38 receptions, 422 yards, and five scores through 12 games. 2023 has been a letdown thus far for Conyers, as he’s averaging fewer receptions and yards per game than 2022 and still has yet to find the end zone. Most mock drafts have Conyers going undrafted in 2024, so he’s another guy who will likely stay in college for one last season before declaring.

Despite an underwhelming junior season, I still have hope that Conyers can be a competent NFL tight end. He was one of the most highly touted prospects for his position out of high school, and he’s built like a tank. At 6’4″and 270 lbs, he has the build to pass and run block at the highest level and is excellent at fighting through contact with the ball in his hands. In 2022, Conyers forced 21 missed tackles, which led all FBS tight ends. I hope to see Conyers stay one more season and build a resume that will boost him into Day 2 of the 2025 NFL Draft. 

9. Brevyn Spann-Ford | Minnesota

Spann-Ford is another mammoth of a human, standing at an intimidating 6’7″, 270 lbs. He was listed at 6’6″ and 233 lbs. coming out of high school, according to ESPN, so he’s added a ton of mass to his frame since college. At the same time, he’s had plenty of time to do so; Brevyn is a 6th-year senior and was in the Class of 2018. He was a 3-star recruit, receiving offers from Minnesota, Iowa State, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Brevyn chose to stay in his home state and play for the Gophers and has remained in Minnesota his entire career.

Spann-Ford first broke out as a redshirt senior for Minnesota last year, catching 42 passes for 497 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He’s not producing nearly as much in 2023, which is cause for concern.

Brevyn is extremely strong but can sometimes get too upright when blocking. Considering his build, he should be a more effective blocker, but he’s certainly not terrible in this department. In 2022, Spann-Ford gave up zero sacks and only one pressure all year. So it’s just a matter of fine-tuning his technique, which an NFL team could help him correct. Brevyn is great in traffic and can track the ball well, but he’s not fast and has trouble creating separation. I think he has a future as an NFL tight end, but I worry he’ll be more of a blocker than a usable fantasy asset. Spann-Ford is currently projected as a 5th-round draft pick for 2024. 

10. Luke Lachey | Iowa

We couldn’t close out our Top 10 without mentioning Tight End U, right? Luke Lachey is my 10th ranked TE in this 2024-Draft eligible class, the 6’6″ junior from Iowa. Lachey was a 3-star recruit, according to ESPN, and a 4-star recruit, according to 247 Sports. Iowa has a long list of tight ends who found success in the NFL, including Dallas Clark, George Kittle, T.J. Hockenson, Noah Fant, and now Sam LaPorta. Could Lachey be the next on that list?

After a nice sophomore campaign where Lachey posted 28 receptions, 398 yards, and four touchdowns behind Sam LaPorta, Iowa fans and Devy players alike had high hopes for a breakout year in 2023. Unfortunately, Lachey suffered an ankle injury to Western Michigan in the third game of the season (just like Gadsden; what’s up with all these tight ends getting hurt against the Broncos?). The injury has Lachey out for the remainder of the season.

Mock drafts have Lachey projected between the 5th and 7th rounds in 2024, but reports say he will likely return for his senior season at Iowa. Lachey is an excellent pass-catcher with some physicality, but he has several weaknesses that make me question his ceiling in the NFL. Luke is not overly quick or athletic and is probably the worst blocker on this list. But assuming he returns to Iowa City in 2024, he’ll have another year to refine his skills and improve his NFL Draft stock.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article, and I hope you got some valuable information you can use for your fantasy team! If you’d like additional insight into Dynasty and Devy Football news and analysis, please follow me on Twitter at @jim_DFF. Until next time, keep grinding out there, DFF family! #DFFArmy #AlwaysBeBuilding

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