Tight ends are an interesting position on an NFL team. On most plays there are multiple players at a position on the field, like running backs, offensive linemen, wide receivers, defensive linemen, linebackers, and defensive backs. Generally speaking though, quarterbacks and tight ends are usually the only position that is represented on the field by just one player. Of course, in short yardage situations it is common to have more than one tight end out there, but not as a rule.
Because of this, less tight ends are selected than other positions when it comes time for the yearly NFL Draft. So, what is the most tight ends ever taken in one NFL Draft? The answer to that question is 26, and it happened in three different years.
The first tight end selected in the 1971 NFL Draft was Jan White by the Bills with the 3rd pick of the 2nd round. Notable names picked at tight end that year included Larry Brown, John Andrews and Earl Thomas.
The first tight end drafted in 1973 was Charle Young with the 6th overall pick by the Philadelphia Eagles. Other tight ends taken that year that would go on to have decent careers or better included Paul Seymour, Billy Joe Dupree, and Terry Nelson. Interestingly, the second to last tight end taken that season was drafted in the 17th round by the Minnesota Vikings. He was Dave Winfield who would go on to have a Hall of Fame baseball career.
The 16th pick in the first round of the 1975 NFL Draft would be used by the New England Patriots on Oregon tight end Russ Francis. Francis was the first tight end taken that year, and some of the other known names picked after him at the position in that draft included Oscar Roan, Walter White, Greg McCrary, and Jim O’Bradovich.