What Does A Tight End Do In Football?

Football Tight End

A tight end is a position on offense in football. The tight end can be a receiver or an extra blocker on the offensive line in football. The tight end is allowed to catch passes and block downfield, whereas some other positions are not allowed to do this. They can be used to deceive defenses by lining up as if they will help block for a quarterback or running back, but instead running downfield to catch a pass. The tight end can also line up out wide. Tight ends are some of the most talented and adaptable players on the field. Depending on the play design, the tight end can serve as a receiver, ball carrier, or extra blocker.

Location On The Field

football strong side

The tight end starts on the strong side of the field. Defensive players will model their play designs around the tight end role referring to the strong side and weak side of the field. The tight end usually positions himself in the offensive backfield behind the line of scrimmage.

The tight end can line up in multiple positions on the offense. The tight end usually lines up on either end of the offensive linemen near the line of scrimmage, but they can also line up in the position of a wide receiver, running back, or fullback. Most positions are eligible to line up in the places of other positions (like the running back lining up at wide receiver). A tight end can add many options to an offensive gameplan.


Depending on the play design and formation, tight ends may have one of three different responsibilities. The two main responsibilities are to receive passes and block for the quarterback on a passing play, or running backs on a running play. The third is to carry the ball on a running play, but this is a very rare sight in today's game.

When lining up on a passing play, the tight end will line up on either side of the offensive line or out wide. During the passing play, the tight end is usually looking for seams in the defense or open areas to cut into, depending on the play design. In order to successfully block for the quarterback on a passing play, the tight end lines up on either the left or right side of the offensive line. This provides the quarterback with a sixth man to protect the pocket, which is crucial to giving them time to get rid of the ball. In order to block for the running back on a running play, the tight end will line up in the same place as he would to protect the quarterback. The only difference in this scenario is that the tight end would not simply block on the line of scrimmage, but would also attempt to open gaps for the running back and block downfield.


How big are tight ends in the NFL?

Tight ends in the NFL need to be sizable figures on the field in order to block defensive players on certain plays, however the ideal tight end is also quick so as to blow past the linebackers that usually cover them on passing plays. Players that reflect this ideal blueprint, such as Travis Kelce, Rob Gronkowski, and George Kittle, have all had tremendous success in the NFL. On average, most tight ends in the NFL are at least 6'3" to provide a sizable frame and upwards of 240 pounds to allow them to compete with even the biggest defensive linemen. Take Rob Gronkowski, for example. Gronkowski, commonly known as "Gronk," has authored a legendary NFL career, complete with four Super Bowl rings to show for his efforts. Gronk weighs in at a whopping 265 pounds, and stands at a staggering six feet and six inches in height. These metrics allow him to succeed as a blocker, while also dominating members of the defensive secondary on passing plays.

Do tight ends score a lot of touchdowns in the NFL?

Tight ends in the NFL are known to score a moderately high number of touchdowns, but not as many as wide receivers or running backs. In 2021, the tight end position was responsible for the third most touchdowns scored out of any position on the field. However, a team's usage of tight ends in the redzone can drastically vary depending on their offensive style, coaching strategy, and team personnel. Extremely talented tight ends like Antonio Gates or Rob Gronkowski were responsible for catching more touchdown passes than a typical tight end due to their dominance on the field. That being said, tight ends are known to score a fair amount of touchdowns in the NFL.

Are tight ends important in fantasy football?

Tight ends in fantasy football can be very hit or miss, which is important to take into consideration before drafting your fantasy team. The top two to three tight ends in the league tend to be tremendous fantasy options, and past fantasy superstar tight ends have included big names like Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, and Antonio Gates. However, oftentimes, tight ends are not the centerpiece of an NFL offense. While players like Gronkowski, Graham, and Gates were certainly centerpieces to their franchises respective offenses, many of their tight end counterparts at the time were not. This is where the strategy of drafting a fantasy football team comes into play. These top tight ends will often be taken very early on, sometimes even in the first round, so you'll have to commit to the position early or aim to rotate what tight end you play a good deal and focus on other positions when it comes to building out a championship caliber fantasy football team.