The Tight End position demands more versatility than any other position on offense. A great Tight End has to be versatile in several ways.
The Tight End position has long outgrown it’s name. Yes, the Tight End can still line up next to the Tackle but the Tight End can also line up as a wing, in the slot and even extended out as a WR. The Tight End also shows up in the backfield. He can line up weak, strong or even in the home position to create two back formations.
The Tight End is often responsible for shifting, trading and motioning to and from all of the spots mentioned above. Offensive coordinators do not want the defense to know what’s coming until the last second and the best way to do this is to line up in one formation and change at the last second. Tight Ends are crucial to this philosophy.
We just described a football player that can run routes like a Wide Receiver, run block like a Fullback, pass protect like a Tackle and possesses football knowledge like a QB. For this reason a great Tight End will normally demonstrate the following attributes
Great preparation habits as he masters the play book and game plan.
Due to the number of things he has to do he must be a great technician.
He is smaller than a lineman so his footwork and hand placement must be better.
He is not as fast as a WR so his route running must be precise.
3. Great Tight Ends normally display a high degree of mental and physical toughness.
Granted not every Tight End must or will possess all of the attributes described above. More often than not a Tight End will show more proficiency in one or two areas than others and that is okay. The offensive coordinator and Tight End coach will work hard to put this player in situations where he can succeed while the player continues to work on his game in all areas.
Hope this helps you understand the Tight End position a little better. Thanks for reading!