The tight end has become the en vogue position for NFL teams of late. Who stand out as the best of the best currently playing?
#10 – Jordan Reed – Washington Redskins
He only played in nine games his rookie season but anybody who watched saw exactly the kind of threat Jordan Reed poses to defenses. Provided he learns to stay healthy for the Washington Redskins he will become their key to attack the middle of the field in between DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon.
#9 – Martellus Bennett – Chicago Bears
Fans often forget the job of the tight end in the NFL is not all about catching passes. One must be a good pass and run blocker as well. Martellus Bennett of the Chicago Bears is one of the best two-way players in the NFL. He rates highly as a blocker and has amassed 1,385 yards and 10 touchdowns the past two seasons.
#8 – Heath Miller – Pittsburgh Steelers
Few have been a model of consistency quite like Heath Miller of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 31-year old veteran is a solid blocker and has averaged 585 yards receiving over nine years. He’s also remarkably durable, missing just seven games in that time span and returning strong from a badly injured knee last season.
#7 – Jordan Cameron – Cleveland Browns
The mark of a great player is his ability to produce results when things around him are going less than ideal. Jordan Cameron proved that with the Cleveland Browns. Despite a myriad of turnover at the quarterback position he finished just shy of 1,000 yards and scored seven touchdowns last year.
#6 – Julius Thomas – Denver Broncos
Health was a major problem for Julius Thomas during the early part of his Denver Broncos career, but it didn’t stop him from continuing to work. It finally paid off in 2014 when he became a key cog in the offensive machine built around Peyton Manning, amassing 788 yards and 12 touchdowns.
#5 – Antonio Gates – San Diego Chargers
It’s so easy to forget about a guy like Antonio Gates because he’s been so good for so long. The San Diego Chargers, most notably Philip Rivers certainly hasn’t forgotten. The eight-time Pro Bowler finished his sixth season with at least 800 yards receiving. At age 33 he has a chance to reach both 10,000 yards and 100 touchdowns this season.
#4 – Jason Witten – Dallas Cowboys
Fathoming the fact that a Jason Witten hasn’t missed a game since 2003 is nearly impossible. The Dallas Cowboys stalwart gets it done year in and year out and will surpass 10,000 yards receiver provided that streak of durability holds. He also hasn’t finished with fewer than 850 yards since 2006.
#3 – Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots
Putting a proper placement on Rob Gronkowski is very difficult. When he plays, the New England Patriots offense goes to a different level. He is clearly a matchup nightmare both in the open field and the red zone. However, his ongoing injury issues have begun to affect his impact, missing 14 games the past two season.
#2 – Vernon Davis – San Francisco 49ers
No man should have the size and the speed combination that Vernon Davis does but it’s for real and the San Francisco 49ers star has used both to become dominant. In 2013 alone he averaged a gaudy 16.3 yards per catch and scored an absurd 13 touchdowns. To think he did all that and missed a game is an indication of how good he is.
#1 – Jimmy Graham – New Orleans Saints
As they say the proof is in the production. No tight end in the NFL has been more prolific over the past three seasons than Jimmy Graham of the New Orleans Saints. In that span he has averaged 1169 yards and 12 touchdowns per year. His basketball player size and deep speed give defenses headaches that start the moment they see him on the schedule.