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The top three teams in these rankings for the NFC North have talent at the Tight End position and could cause problems for opposing defenses in the passing game. The Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers have rookies at the helm to start the year, while the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears have the top ten tight ends in the league that are also veterans, so who takes number one in the rankings before the 2023 season?
NFC North Tight End Position Rankings
4. Green Bay Packers
The Packers will enter 2023 without their Tight End of the last five years in Robert Tonyan. Luke Musgrave is expected to be the starting Tight End in week one; they drafted Musgrave with the 42nd overall pick in this year's draft out of Oregon State. With the Beavers last year Musgrave caught 11 passes for 169 yards and one touchdown.
The rest of the depth for the Packers are Josiah Deguara, Tucker Kraft, and Tyler Davis. The Packers drafted Kraft while Deguara and Davis were with the Packers last season; Deguara caught 13 passes last year for 114 yards, and Davis caught four passes for 26 yards.
3. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings will again have TJ Hockenson as their starting Tight End after acquiring him from the Lions last season at the trade deadline. Since joining the Vikings, Hockenson caught 60 passes for 519 yards and three touchdowns. Although the Vikings have the best Tight End in the division, the depth behind him isn't that great; they brought in Josh Oliver from Baltimore, who had 14 catches for 149 yards with two touchdowns last season.
Minnesota also has Johnny Mundt back, who caught 19 passes for 140 yards, and behind him, on the depth chart is Nick Muse, who the Vikings brought back from their practice squad last season.
2. Detroit Lions
Like the Packers, the Lions will enter 2023 expecting to have a rookie Tight End in Sam LaPorta, who the Lions drafted with the 34th overall pick in this year's draft. Last season with Iowa, LaPorta caught 58 passes for 657 yards and one touchdown. The Lions like Tight End's out of Iowa, previously having TJ Hockenson, who they traded just last season.
The Lions will have Brock Wright, James Mitchell, and Shane Zylstra back, who combined to catch 40 passes for 389 yards and nine touchdowns, with Wright and Zylstra each picking up four touchdowns. The Lions come in second because of their depth at the Tight End position and the three players who took part in this offense last season.
1. Chicago Bears
The Bears have the best depth at the Tight End position, with Cole Kmet being the starter. Last year Kmet was the Bears' best pass catcher hauling in 50 passes for 544 yards and seven touchdowns, all of which were team highs. The Bears also bring in Robert Tonyan from the Packers, where he spent the first five years of his career catching 137 passes in his career for 1,437 yards and 17 touchdowns; with Kmet and Tonyan, the Bears can have two passing threats at Tight End.
The third and fourth spots on the depth chart are Jake Tonges and Chase Allen, and between the two, they only have one target, which isn't ideal, but they most likely won't be used with Kmet and Tonyan there.
Bottom Line: NFC North has Solid Tight Ends
The Detroit Lions have the most depth in the division at Tight End, but the Bears' one-two punch gives them the top spot in the rankings, and the Vikings have the best Tight End in the division with Hockenson. If LaPorta comes in and has a great first season, then the Lions could take over the top spot by the season's end, but before the kickoff of the 2023 season, that spot belongs to the Chicago Bears.