Jack Follman’s All-Time Conference TEs by NFL Success

The pool of Conference NFL great tight ends isn’t super deep, but it ranks among the best

Posted on June 1, 2022

  By Jack Follman, SuperWest Sports

It seems like the Pac-12 has regularly been ahead of the curve by using tight ends more than other conferences.

Despite that, the pool of NFL great Pac-12 alums isn’t super deep.

It’s one of the reasons I’m cutting this list in half and focusing on the Top Seven from current Pac-12 schools in the NFL.

Tony Gonzalez | Kansas City Chiefs

1. Tony Gonzalez, Cal
No question here. Gonzalez is one of the best tight ends from any school in NFL history. His honors and stats are unreal—10 All-Pro teams, 14 Pro Bowls, more than 1,300 receptions for more than 15,000 yards, and 111 touchdowns—his numbers would be all-time great for a receiver.

Rob Gronkowski | Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

2. Rob Gronkowski, Arizona
Gronk is a future Hall of Famer who will crack 10,000 yards receiving and possibly 100 touchdowns as a tight end. This goes along with a bunch of All-Pro honors and Pro Bowls and four Super Bowls.

Charle Young | Philadelphia Eagles

3. Charle Young, USC
The former Trojan was great in the NFL in the 70s and 80s. He made three All-Pro Teams, three Pro Bowls, and won a Super Bowl with more than 5,000 receiving yards in his career.

Jerry Smith | Nate Fine/Getty Images

4. Jerry Smith, Arizona State
Smith is one of the greatest Washington tight ends of all time and earned All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors. He finished his career with more than 400 receptions, 5,000 yards, and 60 touchdowns.

Zach Ertz | Getty Images via ESPN

5. Zach Ertz, Stanford
He’s put together an excellent NFL career with three Pro Bowls, a Super Bowl, and more than 600 receptions for more than 6,000 yards and 41 touchdowns.

Todd Heap | Baltimore Ravens

6. Todd Heap, Arizona State
Heap had a long, impressive NFL career and made multiple Pro Bowls. He finished with nearly 500 receptions for more than 5,800 yards and 42 touchdowns.

Russ Francis | Focus on Sport, Getty

7. Russ Francis, Oregon
The Duck alum had a great NFL career, winning a Super Bowl and getting All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors. He finished with more than 5,000 yards receiving and 40 touchdowns.

—More from Jack Follman—