With the NFL season quickly approaching, I decided that it’s finally time to get my blog up and running. Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be posting articles of my “Top 5” players at certain positions. The positions that I plan to write my articles about are quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends.
I hope that you, as the reader, find these articles to be interesting, informative, and enjoyable. If you disagree, or find a problem/flaw in my list, feel free to comment below and tell me what you think!
And without further ado, here are my Top 5 tight ends heading into the 2013 NFL season.
5.) Tony Gonzalez – Atlanta Falcons
— After being in the league for 16 years, Tony Gonzalez is still a big-time contributor to his teams offense. In 2012, the 37 year old vet was able to reel in 93 catches for 930 yards and 8 touchdowns. Gonzalez lead all Atlanta players in receptions last season, which is pretty incredible when you take his age into account. After the 2012 season, there was talk of “The Great Gonzo” retiring, but he ultimately decided to come back for another crack at a title with Matty Ice and company.
4.) Vernon Davis – San Francisco 49ers
— Vernon Davis was incredibly average, maybe even below average, during the 2012 regular season. The All-Pro tight end was only able to muster up 6 receptions over the final 6 games of the regular season. I placed VD at number 4 assuming that his playoff success carries over to the 2013 regular season.
In 3 playoff games, Vernon Davis was targeted 19 times, turning 12 of those passes into catches. Davis managed to pile up 254 yards, making his average reception 21.2 yards long.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Crabtree injury effects Davis. The injury to Crabtree, the teams leading receiver last year, will surely free up some balls to be thrown Davis’ way. But at the same time, it will also allow opposing defenses to put more defenders on Davis, possibly slowing and disrupting his production.
Davis is set to be one of the biggest boom or bust players in the league this year. If he plays like he did during the playoffs, than he’s a lock for the top 5 at the position. If he plays like he did over the final month and a half of the regular season, than he doesn’t deserve to even crack the top 15.
3.) Jason Witten – Dallas Cowboys
— It was a record setting year for Jason Witten in 2012. The 6’6” tight end hauled in 110 receptions last season, breaking a record that was previously set by Tony Gonzalez in 2004. The 11 year veteran was also able to tally up 18 catches in a single game last season, setting another record for the tight end position.
It’s safe to assume that Tony Romo will utilize the “Witten button” plenty of times next season. Witten accounted for more than 25 percent of Romo’s completions last season and has averaged 130 targets per year over the span of the last 4 years.
Simply put, Jason Witten is Tony Romo’s security blanket – he’s more like a security quilt (comfortable, reliable, and there when you need it). This is great news for Cowboys fans and even better news for people that have Romo or Witten on their fantasy squads.
2.) Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots
— If Gronk was able to stay healthy, he would have been ranked as the best tight end in all of football. The injury concerns are what ultimately lost him the number one spot on my list.
Gronkowski only played in 11 games last season, but he was a force to be reckoned with during those 11 games. He managed to grab 11 touchdown passes, that’s more than any another tight end in my top 5. Gronk also logged a 14.4 yard average, as he racked up 790 yards on just 55 receptions.
It is no secret that the Patriots offense is lacking weapons this year. Hernandez is in jail, Welker is watching Caddyshack with Peyton, and Brandon Lloyd is probably off rapping somewhere. The absence of Hernandez, Welker, and Lloyd means that Brady will most likely be looking Gronk’s way a lot more this year, which is kind of scary when you really think about it.
Let’s just hope the New England tight end gets healthy and comes back soon, because I, like most people, miss the Gronk spike.
1.) Jimmy Graham – New Orleans Saints
— Coming in at number 1 on my list is, none other than, Jimmy Graham. Graham, like the other players on this list, is virtually impossible to cover. He’s a freakish athlete that has the ability to attack the ball at it’s highest point, a trait that Drew Brees is undoubtedly a big fan of.
2012 was a down year for the 3 year pro, but was it a bad year? No, not at all. Was Graham able to catch 99 passes for 1,300+ yards like he did in 2012? No, but he was still on the receiving side of 85 passes, nearly 1000 yards, and 9 touchdowns.
The way that the Saints utilize Graham figures to change a little bit with the return of head coach, Sean Payton. Payton is an absolute mastermind when it comes to play calling, he will find a way to get the most out of Jimmy Graham’s abilities.
Well there it is, my list of the Top 5 tight ends heading into the 2013 NFL season. Did you agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments below.
And be sure to check back for my top 5 receivers, running backs, and quarterbacks!