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Top 20 Tight End Rankings
1) Jimmy Graham (NO) – Graham and Gronkowski are in a class all of their own for current NFL tight ends, but since Gronk has so many injury concerns is the safer of the two players. Graham can and has put up elite level wide receiver numbers.
2) Rob Gronkowski (NE) – Quite possibly an even more productive of a fantasy player when healthy than Graham is, but injury concerns make him the much bigger risk to draft.
3) Julius Thomas (DEN) – You could make a case for Thomas or Davis as the number three tight end, but with the departure of Eric Decker I think Thomas could see even more production than he saw last season.
4) Vernon Davis (SF) – Davis outscored Thomas last season, but could be losing production to Michael Crabtree in 2014 while Thomas could see more with Decker gone.
5) Jason Witten (DAL) – While he is not likely to put up the numbers that the four names in front of him will, Witten is still one of the safest picks at the position. Witten rarely misses games and has at least 800 yards in seven straight seasons. Touchdown catches may not be as consistent but he did have the second highest total of career last season with eight.
6) Jordan Cameron (CLE) – Cameron was one of the best tight ends in the game for the first few weeks with Brian Hoyer as quarterback but fell off quite a bit once Hoyer went down for the year. Hopefully Hoyer can stay healthy in 2014 and help Cameron take another step forward.
7) Dennis Pitta (BAL) – Pitta is possibly the second best option in Baltimore behind Torrey Smith and could have a career year in 2014. He saw 93 targets with seven touchdowns in 2012 when he played 16 games; this year I see him getting over 100 targets as he becomes an even more integral part of the Ravens passing game.
8) Greg Olsen (CAR) – Olsen is not going to blow you away with his numbers, but is a very consistent player with more than 1600 yards and 11 touchdowns over his past two season in Carolina. However, I’m not quite sure if him being the best receiver on the Panthers roster with Smith and LaFell no longer there is going to be a good or a bad thing for Olsen.
9) Kyle Rudolph (MIN) – After a season marred by injury in his third year, Rudolph looks to bounce-back in 2014 with a new quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater. A great red zone threat, Rudolph could easily have a career year in front of him now that he has a quarterback who knows how to throw an accurate football. Matching his second year total of nine touchdowns is going to be tough to match, but he should see a high in yards and could easily have 6-8 touchdowns if not more.
10) Eric Ebron (DET) – A talented pass-catching tight end now playing for a team that desperately needed a tight end and has MAtt Stafford as a quarterback; things worked out pretty well for Ebron. I may be drinking the Kool-Aid at the moment as I rank Ebron 10th overall, but I do think he is going to be a top-12 tight end in 2014.
11) Jordan Reed (WAS) – Reed had a pretty productive rookie season scoring three touchdowns on 499 yards in only nine games. With DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon attracting the majority of attention he could see a nice boost in production if he can stay on the field.
12) Ladarius Green (SD) – Green was second fiddle to Antonio Gates for much of last season but came on strong in the second half of the season, including scoring all three of his touchdowns in the final three games he started (he missed three games to injury). I, and many others expect Green to usurp Gates as the go-to tight end for the Chargers in the coming season.
13) Zack Ertz (PHI) – It was a fairly pedestrian rookie season for Ertz who had over 400 yards and four touchdowns on the year, but is poised to take a step forward in the potent Eagles offence that is now without DeSean Jackson. I don’t see Ertz taking a massive leap forward, but can improve enough to compete for a top-10 tight end ranking. I think Ertz could go for about 700 yards and six touchdowns in his sophomore season, which would have put him into the top-10 in 2013.
14) Charles Clay (MIA) – Clay surprised most people as he finished as the number six tight end in 2013 and is currently in talks to extend with the Dolphins who are reportedly interested in the bruising TE long term. Perhaps my Dolphins homerism has me over ranking him for the time being.
15) Martellus Bennett (CHI) –
16) Delanie Walker (TEN) –
17) Tyler Eifert (CIN) –
18) Heath Miller (PIT) –
19) Jermichael Finley (GB) –
20) Antonio Gates (SD) –