The tight end position was interesting in 2015. There are two known studs in Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham. Graham was more miss than hit as he struggled to fit in Seattle’s offense. Gronk was Gronk, but somehow that was kind of above average. Has the position lost that lovin’ feelin’? Let’s take a look.
1. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots- Clearly the #1. He puts up WR1 numbers, and can easily win you a week. In the Patriots offense though, there are some weeks were he just get’s you a handful of points. I took him in the 2nd round, after the top 4-5 WRs were gone. Having said that, not sure I will target him in round 2 next year.
2. Greg Olsen, Panthers- Olsen has steadily crept up my depth chart over the years. As I appreciate the steadier player, I rank him 2nd. He’s tough, solid, and he has produced when Cam had no other targets. I’m hoping Benjamin comes back and is healthy for 2016.
3. Jordan Reed, Redskins- Reed has all the talent in the world, and now has a legitimate QB that will feed him the ball. Problem is, he doesn’t always stay on the field. Whether it’s health or discipline, he has let owners, and teammates down in the past. On talent, he is one of the best tight ends in football.
4. Kelce, Kansas City- A lot like Olsen, Kelce has crept up the board. Also like Greg, he is often the only target in the passing game. Jeremy Maclin came on late in the season and finally started producing with Alex Smith. Look for this to open up things for Kelce in 2016.
5. Julius Thomas, Jaguars- Thomas started off 2015 with a broken hand, which is never a good thing for a pass catcher, but not as devastating as a leg injury. Thomas came on late and put up some big numbers. He should be even better in 2016 with a year under his belt.
6. Gary Barnidge, Browns- The Browns are a mess. As I am writing this, we have no idea what the QB situation will be in Cleveland. Heck, we don’t know who the GM and coach will be. One thing you can count on, is Barnidge. He had a very nice season no matter who was passing him the ball. This gives me hope for next season.
7. Tyler Eifert, Bengals- Eifert and Dalton really got going in 2015, especially when both were healthy. Injuries put both out of commission at times. Hoping both get nice and healthy, and pick up where they left off.
8. Richard Rodgers, Packers- Rodgers was a little spotty with his production, but has the potential to rack up some points as long as Aaron Rodgers is throwing the ball. We will have to see what the Packers do in phase two*
9. Martellus Bennett, Bears? For now, Bennett is still a Bear. Will he be when training camp breaks? Remains to be seen. There is clear evidence that Marty is a “first half” performer. He gets off to fast starts and it’s downhill from there. Keep this in mind when drafting him.
10. Jimmy Graham, Saints- Even before his year was cut short by injury, Graham was not having a great season. It’s clear Seattle’s offense was struggling to fit him in. Seems crazy, but that’s how it was. Russell Wilson took off once Jimmy went down. With the injury and that fact in mind, it will be tough to look at him as more than a bottom ranked tight end.
In the mix: Delanie Walker, Titans- Delanie is more of a matchup player, but might get more consistent targets with Mariota in year 2. Antonio Gates, Chargers- Both he and Rivers are getting long in the tooth. When healthy he is a beast. Zach Miller, Bears- Miller is an interesting player. He has battled injuries most of his pro career. He came on in the 2nd half when Bennett fizzled and scored 5 TDs in 6 games. Jay Cutler really likes him.