I have never really understood why Tight Ends are so undervalued and not taken higher in the NFL Draft. After all they can do almost anything from blocking to catching and scoring TDs. With more and more teams going to two Tight End packages, talent at the position continues to get better. So today I present you with my Top 10 Tight Ends. Enjoy!
1) Rob Gronkowski (Patriots): Over the last three years Gronkowski has scored 38 TDs, and to top that off he is only 24. Gronkowski is amazing in the redzone due to his unique combination of size, strength and speed. With the Patriots losing so many key pieces including Aaron Hernandez at Tight End, Gronkowski should have an even bigger effect than he did last year. The only question with Gronkowski is his health; however, even with him missing 5 games last year he still led all Tight Ends in TDs.
2) Jimmy Graham (Saints): Graham took a step back in 2012, but so did the Saints organization as a whole. With head coach Sean Payton back the Saints should return to a playoff level team and I'd expect Graham to return to his 2011 form. Graham scored 9 TDs last year, second to only Gronkowski. Graham is probably the safer bet of the two; however he probably won't put up quite as good of stats as a healthy Gronkowski would.
3) Tony Gonzalez (Falcons): The old veteran continues to put up great numbers, even with a team loaded with offensive talent like the Falcons are. Gonzalez is probably coming towards the end of his Hall of Fame career but he still had seven 10+ Fantasy point games. Over the last 4 years Gonzalez has scored 27 TDs and is still one of Matt Ryan's favorite targets. Overall he is a great player and a lot safer injury wise compared to the first two on this list.
4) Jason Witten (Cowboys): Last year Witten had the more receiving yards than any Tight End in the league, so you think he'd be higher on the list. The reason he isn't is because TDs; Witten only scored 3 last year, tied for 23rd in league, which isn't that good. Despite that fact, Witten put up fairly good numbers last year and you can expect him to do the same this year as well.
5) Vernon Davis (49ers): Davis has had two less than stellar years in a row after being one of the top Tight Ends in the league a few years back. However, I think that will all change this year especially with Michael Crabtee, their leading receiver from last year, being gone at least the first six weeks. Davis could be a Wide Receiver due to his speed, but lines up at Tight End for the 49ers. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Davis scores 7+ TDs, and I think he is very capable of doing so.
6) Kyle Rudolph (Vikings): Rudolph scored 9 TDs last year, just as many as Jimmy Graham. However, he had far less catches with only 53. Rudolph is only 23 and is already arguably one of the Vikings top receiver now that Percy Harvin has left. Rudolph should have more than 53 receptions this year, but I doubt he will get 9 TDs again.
7) Owen Daniels (Texans): Daniels had his best year yet last year with 6 TDs and is looking to improve on it this year, which I believe he can do. James Casey, a FB/TE who had 3 TDs is now gone so Daniels may be able to add a TD or two to last year's tally. Daniels is by no means a spectacular Tight End but yet a solid one who you can trust week in and week out to get you decent points at the Tight End position.
8) Greg Olsen (Panthers): Olsen had his best year last year since joining the Panthers. He is easily the Panthers #2 offensive target behind Steve Smith and has the ability to score 8+ TDs like he did with Chicago a few years back. Olsen should continue to grow as he is just entering his prime. Expect a great season from him.
9) Brandon Myers (Giants): Myers is finally part of a good offense in New York and this should be very beneficial towards him. Expect his 4 TDs from last year to turn into 7+ TDs this year. With New York losing Martellus Bennett, their old Tight End, I think Myers has a very good chance to succeed often and early. Look for him to be a sleeper as well as you may be able to pick him up in the 11th round or later.
10) Jermichael Finley (Packers): When at the top of his game, Finley is easily a Top 5 Tight End. Just look at his stats from 2011 to see. Finley has the potential to score 8 TDs like he did in 2011, due to his size and speed. What hurt him last year was dropped passes, something that fellow teammate James Jones knew a lot about as well until he seemed to turn the corner last year as well. I think Finley will have a bounce back year and that why I think he is a Top 10 Tight End.
So that rounds out my Top 10 list of Tight Ends. However, there is so much talent at the TE position so I had to make a honorable mentions list (these are great backups)...
-Martellus Bennett (Bears): Bennett had a great start to the year last year with the Giants before slipping a bit at the end. Now in Chicago he has a new chance to shine.
-Jared Cook (Rams): I really like Cook's potential and feel he should progress this year.
-Coby Fleener (Colts): You have to think that the Stanford alumni has an advantage playing with another Stanford alumni in Luck at QB. I think he'll have a breakout year.
-Jermaine Gresham (Bengals): Gresham is still young and on a very talented Bengals team. He should score 5 TDs and is a very good backup.
-Heath Miller (Steelers): Normally a Top 10 Tight End, however Miller is hurt and is return table is not clear making him a risky pick.