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Ben Sinnott

Can Sinnott make a rookie impact for Commanders?

There’s a tendency to get too excited about rookies. Especially at tight end. While some of these players selected in the second, third and fourth rounds will hit, a lot more of them won’t make much of an impact – especially in their first season.

Ben Sinnott, as today’s example. Washington selected him with the 53rd pick, and there’s some chance he’ll be starting as a rookie. But I’m not ready to say that Sinnott “likely” will start. They’ve got Zach Ertz, along with some other returning tight ends. Ertz has played with this offensive coordinator (Kliff Kingsbury) in the past.

In Arizona two years ago, recall, the Cardinals selected a tight end who’s better than Sinnott at about that point of the draft: Trey McBride. McBride didn’t play much until the final month of his rookie season. Kingsbury went with Ertz instead.

It remains to be determined, but I would think Ertz probably will be starting ahead of Sinnott in Week 1. (And perhaps a sneaky decent pick; Ertz averaged top-10 numbers with Kingsbury in Arizona.)

As supporting documentation, consider the chart below, showing first-year production for rookie tight ends. The chart includes no players selected in the first round, and it also includes no players selected in the first half of the second round. Expectations are higher for those kind of guys. (Sam LaPorta and Michael Mayer, as recent examples.) I’m instead listing tight ends selected in the second half of the second round, along with those picked in the first half of the third round. That’s picks 49 thru 80 – what we’ll call prospect-type tight ends.

In the 32-team era, there have been 39 of these prospects. Only a third of them (13) in their first season finished as the most productive tight end on their own team. Those guys are tagged with black dots. Only five also finished with top-20 numbers (PPR scoring), and I’ve awarded an extra dot for that production.

Note that none of the 39 tight ends listed here posted top-12 numbers in their first season. (Travis Kelce went on to become maybe the best tight end ever, but he was one of five of these tight ends who didn’t catch any passes in his first year.)

If obtaining a top-20 tight end is your goal, the odds suggest you have about a 1 in 8 chance when selecting a player in this neighborhood of the drafts. There’s before factoring in other variables – the quality of the team, the style of the offense and the other players in his way. (It could be argued that Sinnott is in a favorable situation here, with Ertz being a 33-year-old at the very end of his career.)

But the odds aren’t great. Unless I see Sinnott doing something of note in the preseason, I won’t be drafting him onto any of my teams.

2018• Dallas Goedert, Phil.4933334490.420
2014• Jace Amaro, NYJ4938345284.524
2019Irv Smith, Min.5036311279.133
2019Drew Sample, Cin.5253008.092
2014Troy Niklas, Ari.5233806.893
2024Ben Sinnott, Was.5314126026.655
2006Anthony Fasano, Dall.5314126026.655
2021•• Pat Freiermuth, Pitt.55604977153.713
2002•• Doug Jolley, Oak.5532409284.918
2015Maxx Williams, Balt.5532268164.839
2022Trey McBride, Ari.5529265161.540
2013Vance McDonald, S.F.558119019.962
2023Luke Schoonmaker, Dall.58865226.567
2006• Tony Scheffler, Den.6118286470.926
2003• L.J. Smith, Phil.6127321165.128
2008Martellus Bennett, Dall.6120283472.330
2023Brenton Strange, Jac.61535114.579
2004Kris Wilson, K.C.61000.0--
2003Teyo Johnson, Oak.6314128132.843
2013Travis Kelce, K.C.63000.0--
2012• Dwayne Allen, Ind.64455213115.625
2009Richard Quinn, Den.64000.0--
2014C.J. Fiedorowicz, Hou.65428112.880
2002• Matt Schobel, Cin.6727212260.230
2015• Clive Walford, Oak.6828329378.931
2004Ben Hartsock, Ind.6843307.387
2003•• Jason Witten, Dall.6935347175.720
2011Rob Housler, Ari.6912133025.355
2019Josh Oliver, Jac.6931504.599
2010Ed Dickson, Balt.7011152132.253
2005•• Alex Smith, T.B.7141367289.719
2006Leonard Pope, Ari.7216161032.149
2022• Jelani Woods, Ind.7325312374.235
2019Jace Sternberger, G.B.75000.0--
2008Brad Cottam, K.C.76763013.372
2003Mike Seidman, Car.7653508.577
2007Matt Spaeth, Pitt.77534326.455
2023• Tucker Kraft, G.B.7831355278.529
2012Michael Egnew, Mia.78000.0--
2022• Greg Dulcich, Den.8033411286.130

—Ian Allan

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