NFL’s Top 20 Tight Ends: Is Jason Witten the League’s Best?
There is simply no doubt about it–Witten is the best all-around tight end in the NFL. Few tight ends excel at both catching the football and blocking, but Witten is one of the league’s best in both areas. We gave him the third-highest grade of any player on the Cowboys last season.
2. Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons
At 34 years old, Gonzalez can still get the job done. He isn’t as dominant in the blocking department as Witten, but he could be the most athletic tight end in the league. Plus, have you seen his wife?——–>
3. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers
Some may rank Gates higher, but he has a long way to go before his blocking ability matches his pass-catching skills.
4. Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers
We feel confident in saying Davis is not a one-year wonder. Other than leading the NFL in touchdown receptions last season, he has also developed into a solid run blocker and a good leader.
5. Dallas Clark, Indianapolis Colts
Why is Clark so low on our list? Because he is still a below average blocker and has the benefit of playing with Peyton Manning.
6. Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers
Our first big surprise. We’re telling you right now, Finley is going to be a star. All of the tools are there, including a top-tier quarterback for the next 10 years.
7. Todd Heap, Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens may not like Heap that much (after drafting two tight ends this year), but we sure do. Like Witten, he is strong in all aspects of playing the tight end position.
8. Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers
Miller has always put up mid-range numbers in the passing game, but he’s also always been one of the league’s best blocking tight ends. By now you see how much we value blocking as part of a tight end’s arsenal.
9. Kevin Boss, New York Giants
This hurts us to admit, but Boss is a top 10 tight end in the NFL. His pass-catching skills aren’t outstanding, but his run blocking ability is superb.
10. Kellen Winslow, Tampa Bay Bucs
Winslow is unquestionably one of the league’s most athletic tight ends, but he is also a bit of a headcase who doesn’t appear to always give maximum effort.
11. Owen Daniels, Houston Texans
Daniels was leading the league in most receiving categories (among tight ends) before getting injured last season. He isn’t going to “wow” you with his athleticism, but hey, neither will Witten.
12. Zach Miller, Oakland Raiders
Miller has been a “sleeper” pick in fantasy circles for years, but he has yet to have that “breakout” season. Perhaps catching passes from someone other than JaMarcus Russell will do the trick.
13. Anthony Fasano, Miami Dolphins
The ex-Cowboy doesn’t receive a ton of pass-catching opportunities in Miami, but he is one of the primary reasons their ground game flourishes.
No, this isn’t a joke, and no, this isn’t a “homer” pick. Bennett has all the talent in the world, and it is just a matter of time before he utilizes it. The reason he is so high on this list, though, is that he was one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL in ’09. His “B-” overall grade will improve this season.
15. Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles
We can only imagine the anger from Eagles fan if they see Bennett rated ahead of Celek, but we whole-heartedly believe Bennett would do just as well as Celek if placed in the Eagles’ tight end-friendly offense.
16. Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville Jaguars
Lewis has quietly developed into one of the NFL’s best blocking tight ends.
17. Jeremy Shockey, New Orleans Saints
Is there a player in the league who is harder to like than Shockey? Sure, he appears to play hard, but unathletic people generally make everything look hard.
18. Greg Olsen, Chicago Bears
Olsen has yet to live up to expectations. That task just became a whole lot harder with new offensive coordinator Mike Martz in town.
19. Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit Lions
Pettigrew showed flashes in his ’09 rookie season before going down with an injury. He will have to battle newly-acquired Tony Scheffler for touches this year.
20. Chris Baker, New England Patriots
There are a ton of talented tight ends left (Dustin Keller, Visanthe Shiancoe, Tony Scheffler, John Carlson, Chris Cooley), but all of them are terrible blockers. Baker is not.