I didn’t realize how many good tight ends there really was until I began researching for this list.
1. Rob Gronkowsi (New England Patriots)
2014 Stats: 82 receptions on 124 targets (7 drops) 1,124 receiving yards 13.7 YPC 460 YAC 12 touchdowns
Gronk is in the conversation as the most dominant skill position player in the NFL today. He’s also the heart and soul of the Patriots offense and that more evident then ever. He’s a great pass catcher and he’s also very good in run blocking, a trait that isn’t common among this era of tight ends. According to Pro Football Focus he also led all tight ends in yards run per route with 2.53
2. Julius Thomas (Jacksonville Jaguars)
2014 Stats: 43 receptions on 60 targets (4 drops) 489 receiving yards 11.4 YPC 176 YAC 12 touchdowns
Julius Thomas started off his 2014 season on a monster pace, grabbing 9 touchdowns in the first five games before an injury gave him trouble all season. The Broncos elected not to re-sign him so the pass catcher will be taking his talents to Jacksonville. I don’t know if Thomas will catch as many touchdowns as he did in Denver, but he will definitely be targeted a lot by second year quarterback Blake Bortles. After all, a tight end is a young quarterback’s best friend. Let it be known now that Thomas wasn’t brought in to help the Jaguars in the blocking department.
3. Jimmy Graham (Seattle Seahawks)
2014 Stats: 85 receptions on 121 targets (8 drops) 889 receiving yards 10.5 YPC 292 YAC 8 touchdowns
It’ll be interesting to see how Jimmy Graham changes the offense for the Seahawks. He’s a matchup nightmare in the redzone but he can honestly bully anybody on the field no matter where he is lined up. I’m expecting Jimmy Graham to rank in the top five in touchdowns at the end of the season.
4. Greg Olsen (Carolina Panthers)
2014 Stats: 84 receptions on 121 targets (3 drops) 1008 receiving yards 12 YPC 381 YAC 6 touchdowns
Olsen has accounted for at least 69 catches, 800 receiving yards, and five TDs in each of the last three seasons. Olsen has been Cam Newton’s most reliable target and he’s also been one of the more underappreciated pass catchers in the NFL. Crazy to think the Bears only got a third round pick for him.
5. Travis Kelce (Kansas City Chiefs)
2014 Stats: 67 receptions on 81 targets (4 drops) 862 receiving yards 12.9 YPC 503 YAC 5 touchdowns
There is a reason Kelce earned the nickname “Baby Gronk” in 2014. He’s shown his willingness to block (he’s pretty good at that) and according to Pro Football Focus, Kelce caught 82.7% of all balls thrown at him and although he is playing in a dink-and-dunk offense, Kelce is a monster after the catch. His 503 yards after catch led all tight ends in that category. He also ranked second among all tight ends in yards run per route with 2.26
Here’s to hoping Andy Reid will use Travis Kelce to the best of his abilities. With Anthony Fasano no longer in Kansas City, Kelce will get more opportunities. #FreeKelce
6. Martellus Bennett (Chicago Bears)
2014 Stats: 90 receptions on 125 targets (8 drops) 916 receiving yards 10.2 YPC 470 YAC 6 touchdowns
7, Jason Witten (Dallas Cowboys)
2014 Stats: 64 receptions on 87 targets (2 drops) 703 receiving yards 11 YPC 233 YAC 5 touchdowns
8. Heath Miller (Pittsburgh Steelers)
2014 Stats: 66 catches on 89 receptions (6 drops) 766 receiving yards 11.6 YPC 346 YAC 3 touchdowns
9. Charles Clay (Buffalo Bills)
2014 Stats: 58 receptions on 81 targets (2 drops) 605 receiving yards 10.4 YPC 260 YAC 3 touchdowns
10. Zach Ertz (Philadelphia Eagles)
2014 Stats: 58 receptions on 86 targets (2 drops) 702 receiving yards 12.1 YPC 230 YAC 3 touchdowns
Honarable Mention: Vernon Davis (San Francisco) and Antonio Gates (SD)