Tight ends are one of the hardest positions in the league to put in order because of their various responsibilities. Ten years ago, it would have made sense to weight a tight end’s receiving ability equally with his blocking ability. In today’s game, however, a tight end is now a receiver first and a blocker second. It’s also more possible than ever to be a “successful” tight end without being a particularly good blocker. With that, let’s get straight to ranking the top 5 tight ends in the NFL today.
5. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers
Anotonio Gates is a nightmare for opposing defenses. He’s a big receiver that is able to go up and battle for difficult catches. If he’s being covered by a defensive back, he’s too big to be adequately covered. If he’s covered by a linebacker, he’s too fast and still to big to be covered. He’s an asset on any NFL roster.
4. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
Jason Witten is a great receiving tight end, and he’s one of the toughest players on the football field. That simple truth is show in its fullest extent below.
3. Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers
Davis, like all the guys on this list, is a great receiver. Last season, he had nearly 800 receiving yards which was his lowest total since 2008. Davis is at the top of his game, and it doesn’t appear that he’ll be going away any time soon.
2. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
Graham had 99 receptions in 2011 to go along with 1,310 yards. He’s one of the few tight ends in the league that is more important than most of the wide receivers on his team. Drew Brees put up huge numbers last year, and that was in no small part due to Graham, and at just 25 years old, he’ll be a great tight end for years.
1. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
It’s hard to determine whether Gronkowski’s success is due more to his own skill or Tom Brady’s ability to make the best out of the players around him. It’s because of that predicament that I didn’t include Aaron Hernandez on this list, but I couldn’t ignore Gronkowski’s outstanding numbers as well as his resiliency. He wasn’t himself in the Super Bowl, and it hurt the Patriots in a noticeable way. They’ll be glad to have him back at 100%