ELF: Ranking the Top 5 tight ends

By Matt Bressington

There’s less than a month until the start of the third European League of Football season. Over the course of the last few weeks, I have been giving my opinion on positions around the league. Today, I will be looking at the tight end position and listing those I feel are the most elite or those who could be serious breakout players. As with any other positional groups, this one is much improved from previous years, seeing a large influx of young talent with experienced ELF veterans. Let’s get straight into it.

1. Adria Bottella Moreno

Moreno is the prototypical tight end build at 6’5″, 251 pounds. He is the best receiving TE in the league, and I don’t think there is much dispute about that. His long catch radius and physicality matched with his release and underrated blocking means he is my number one TE in the league. He can break off big plays after the catch and as mentioned, he isn’t afraid to get physical with players after the catch to continue his progress. The former Vikings’ Offensive Player of the Year and ELF All-Star in Vienna has made the move to Paris this offseason to team up with QB Zach Edwards and WR Kyle Sweet, giving him more opportunities to stand out among his peers.

2. Nicolai Schumann

A lot of people, including myself, are ecstatic to see the Berlin Thunder offense. I feel that Schumann is a largely underrated factor in an offense that has so much potential to be great. He has an excellent profile as far as his build goes standing at 6’3 250 pounds. Add to this the fact that the two-time ELF All-Star is furious in protection, and his hands are strong in both the pass and run contributions. With the ball in his hands, he will try to go through as many players as possible, he isn’t the type to try and use speed to go around the linebackers. Simply put, he’s strong, physical, and aggressive in all of his key movements as a TE.

3. Markus Schaberl

I am really happy to see Schaberl back in the Raiders system. I think it’s a great fit and keeps offenses guessing because of his 6’5 250 pound frame. He is the vertical threat that keeps the Raiders’ offense diverse and because of his big body, he has no problem going over the top of smaller defenders. He’s shown the ability to play in the backfield as a lead blocker in the run game. Overall, his blocking is fine with his length being a large factor, but in terms of explosiveness, there could be some improvement in his pop on initial contact.

4. Florian Bierbaumer

There’s no doubt that Florian Bierbaumer has incredible talent, but injuries cut his season short last season. People will argue that he is more of a wide receiver which is very fair, considering his excellent hands and vertical threat potential. However, given the lack of a natural receiving TE in Vienna, he could start games at TE, and I have no doubt he will thrive. For perspective, Frey had fewer yards than Bierbaumer in the receiving game and Bierbaumer only played three games. The injury is a concern, but given it happened at the start of last season he has had nearly a full year of rehab. I really hope he can come back to full potential because as far as length, hands and body control go he is unmatched. I can see him playing predominantly as a WR for the Vikings, but this inclusion is more of a theory of what the reigning champions could do with his talent.

5. Eden Thiede Palmer

Thiede Palmer is an athletic TE who is a prime NFL IPP candidate if he can continue to elevate his game in Prague. However, he is incredibly inexperienced. He has been included on this list because of what I believe he could be – Prague’s hidden offensive gem. I think highly of ETP, but it’s imperative that he soaks up all the knowledge and commits to the high ceiling he could get to. It’s a risk having him this high given his notable lack of European football in the past but finding a 6’6 255 pound frame with a 4.75 40 and 4.28 shuttle is very hard to find. He’s also a player who’s never had an offense around him of any quality. Durham and the London Blitz are not at the same level as ELF football so it’ll be interesting to see how he can adjust to the faster, more physically demanding league. There’s a risk in ranking him so high but I am willing to take it as I see him undergoing a drastic improvement in terms of his blocking fundamentals, vertical jumping and his route running.

Honorable Mentions

One of the top honorable mentions, Musketeers TE Brandon Camara, is one of my favorite signings of the season overall. He’s an explosive blocker and if it weren’t for his teammate, Moreno, he would be on the Top 5 list. Here’s hoping that Paris will run a two TE set as Camara has shown himself to be an athletic, physical player at the line of scrimmage. Milano Seamen TE Daniel Marshall is a former NFL IPP player who has gained experience in Poland and is looking to continue improving in Milano alongside the other UK players in that organization. Lastly, Helvetic Guards TE Igor Mašlanka is a long-time player in the ELF and an IPP player. He’s consistent and balanced and gives stability to the new franchise.

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