NFL Top 10 Tight Ends 2011
The most versatile offensive position in the game owns a serious crop of talented players. A majority of NFL teams have a tight end who is athletic enough to be considered a genuine weapon. Here are the top 10 heading into 2011. This list is based largely on film study from the 2010 season, though recent history was also taken into account. (Last year’s rankings in parenthesis)
10. Kellen Winslow, Bucs (7)
Was a smooth tight end/slot receiver hybrid even before players of that ilk became the norm. It’s a little curious that he’s not more of a staple in Tampa’s week to week gameplan.
9. Chris Cooley, Redskins (9)
Laudable underneath receiver and major positive factor as an edge blocker in Washington’s run game.
8. Heath Miller, Steelers (8)
Overzealous Steeler fans always carp that their tight end should be No. 1. Not even close, though there’s something to be said for having soft hands and superb blocking mechanics.
7. Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars (NR)
Size, athleticism and flexible movement skills make him a tough matchup. A little too much discrepancy between his effectiveness in space (which is excellent) and traffic (which is “meh”).
6. Tony Gonzalez, Falcons (2)
Has eroded into a plodder, but wisdom and well-honed tools compensate.
5. Jason Witten, Cowboys (6)
He does everything you want in a tight end, but the truth is, he doesn’t create matchup problem – he just capitalizes on matchup problems around him.
4. Dallas Clark, Colts (5)
His versatility is a key element to the NFL’s most successful passing attack.
3. Vernon Davis,49ers (3)
Fervid blocker and athletic receiver. The only thing tougher to defend in the Bay Area than his seam routes is Barry Bonds’character.
2. Jermichael Finley, Packers (10)
Yes, he missed the majority of last season. And yes, thus far, injuries have been knocking other guys down in the rankings. Don’t care –his raw athletic talent is too immense.
1. Antonio Gates, Chargers (1)
Why do you think San Diego’s passing game survived a rash of injuries last season?
On the cusp:
Zach Miller, Raiders; Brandon Pettigrew, Lions
Dropped from list:
Owen Daniels, Texans (4)
Still must prove he can fully bounce back from ’09 knee injury.
Youngster who could burst onto this list next year:
Tony Moeaki, Chiefs
Everyone trumpeted the two rookie tight ends in New England last year (Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez), and rightfully so. But Moeaki was more valuable to his team given how Kansas City’s offense was designed heavily around his movement run-blocking abilities.| fantasy tight ends 2011, nfl best tight ends, NFL tight end rankings