Yesterday we posted about what years the most tight ends were drafted into the NFL… today, we look at coaches who were drafted into the league as tight ends.
Due to the responsibilities of the position, many people refer to tight ends as one of the more knowledgeable positions on a football team. Depending on the style of offense run, a tight end may need to know pass routes, blocking assignments, and the ins and outs of the running plays as well. Having to keep track of all this allows them to have a different way of looking at the game.
Let’s take a look at players who were drafted into the NFL as tight ends and then moved on to be head coaches in the league.
1961 – Mike Ditka – Chicago Bears
Mike Ditka was drafted out of the University of Pittsburgh with the 5th overall selection in the 1961 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. As a coach, Mike Ditka was the leader of the famous 1985 Bears and would later take the reins of the New Orleans Saints franchise.
1977 – Brian Billick – San Francisco 49ers
Brian Billick would win a Super Bowl ring as head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, but in 1977 he was fresh out of Brigham Young University and was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers with their 11th round pick in the draft.
1983 – Mike Mularkey – San Francisco 49ers
Mike Mularkey would have a decent career with the Pittsburgh Steelers after having been originally drafted in 1983 by the San Francisco 49ers with their 9th round pick. He would go on to be the head coach of the Buffalo Bills.
1985 – Ken Whisenhunt – Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons used the 5th pick of the 12th round in 1985 to choose tight end Ken Whisenhunt out of Georgia Tech University. Whisenhunt would eventually take the Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl as a head coach.
Not coaches, but the following players drafted as tight ends would move on to work in the front office in the NFL.
1953 – Pete Retzlaff – Detroit Lions
Pete Retzlaff would have a great career with the Philadelphia Eagles after being drafted in the 22nd round of the 1953 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. He would also go on to be the President of the NFL Players Association and the General Manager of the Eagles.
1978 – Ozzie Newsome – Cleveland Browns
After being drafted with the 23rd overall pick in the 1978 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns, Ozzie Newsome would go on to have a Hall of Fame career and be regarded as one of the best pass catching tight ends ever. He would also go on to be the General Manager of the Baltimore Ravens.
1979 – Ted Thompson – Pittsburgh Steelers
Ted Thompson was drafted in the 10th round of the 1979 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers out of Brigham Young University. He would move on into the front office of the Green Bay Packers, eventually rising to be the General Manager.