2024 AFC North tight end rankings: How does Pat Freiermuth compare to his peers?

Pat Freiermuth
Pat Freiermuth / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

With training camp less than a month away, it's time to finish up the skill position player rankings in the AFC North with the tight ends.

Similar to the other skill positions in the division, the tight end group features a lot of talent and debate as to where each player should fall on this list. Just like my quarterback, running back and wide receiver ranking, I'll just be ranking the number one tight end on each team, not the room as a whole. Without further ado, let's get started.

4. Mike Gesicki, Cincinnati Bengals

On an offense that features a ton of skill position talent, the tight end position is probably the weakest link. The Bengals have been looking for a franchise tight end for a while now, with Hayden Hurst and Irv Smith Jr. failing to produce over the past couple of seasons.

Enter Mike Gesicki.

Gesicki jumped onto the scene with a couple of great seasons in Miami. Across his 2020 and 2021 seasons with the Dolphins, Gesicki had 126 receptions for 1,483 yards and 8 touchdowns. Unfortunately for Gesicki, he hasn't been able to replicate that performance over his last seasons, one of which was with the Patriots, as he combined for only 606 yards over the 2022 and 2023 seasons.

I still believe in the talent of Gesicki, but he's got to prove it on the field again. He'll get a great chance to produce with Joe Burrow and could revive his career in Cincinnati.

3. Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers

It was a disappointing 2023 season for Freiermuth.

After a sophomore season where he had 63 receptions for 732 yards, Freiermuth put up only 32 receptions for 308 yards during 2023. He only played in 12 games last season, as he dealt with some injuries. A big part of that disappointing season was mediocre quarterback play and a bad offensive coordinator. With a new quarterback and offensive coordinator in 2024, Freiermuth could bounce back in a big way.

Fans know about Freiermuth's talent in the receiving game. While he's not a great blocker, he can be a game-changer with the ball in his hand, and that should be a top priority for Arthur Smith in 2024. Freiermuth could jump to second on this list with a strong 2024 season and fans should fully expect him to do that.

2. David Njoku, Cleveland Browns

Njoku finally broke out for the Browns in 2023.

The former first-round pick had put together some good but not great seasons across his first six seasons entering 2023. He finally put it all together last season, putting up 81 receptions for 882 yards and 6 touchdowns en route to his first Pro Bowl appearance. All of those numbers were career highs for Njoku.

Njoku had always had the talent, but couldn't put it all together in the NFL prior to last season. With his breakout season now under his belt, the next step for Njoku will be to become a consistent presence. If he struggles to repeat his success in 2024, there will be more questions about Njoku's status as a top tight end in the NFL. But for now, it would be foolish to put him lower than second on this list after his 2023 season.

1. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

Mark Andrews is the best tight end in the AFC North and one of the best tight ends in the entire league.

Injuries limited him to 10 games last season, but Andrews still caught 45 balls for 544 yards and 6 touchdowns during that time. A three-time Pro-Bowler and one-time All-Pro tight end, Andrews combination of route running, hands, blocking and overall knowledge of the game make him one of the games best at his position.

He's become Lamar Jackson's go-to option in the passing game, which means his numbers should continue to be consistent going forward. Assuming Andrews is able to stay healthy, I expect him to be back in the All-Pro discussion and resume his position as a top-five tight end in the NFL. He's easily number one on this list and should remain here for a couple of years.