Over the last ten to fifteen years, the tight end position has changed dramatically. In the past, a tight end's main focus was blocking, but it has transformed into a position of athletes and playmakers.
Jimmy Graham, who played college basketball at the University of Miami, caught 99 passes for 1,310 yards, while Rob Gronkowski caught a record 17 touchdown passes in 2011.
Although there might not be any Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski-like tight end sleepers in 2012, there will be plenty of players that make a name for themselves in the upcoming season.
Since Brandon Pettigrew was drafted with the 20th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma State, the Lions immediately had high expectations for the 6'5" tight end.
After Calvin Johnson's historic season in 2011, look for opposing defenses to focus their attention on Johnson and open the door for Pettigrew.
When Dallas Clark went down in 2010, Tamme stepped in and had immediate chemistry with Manning. If there is one guy that Manning will be comfortable throwing the ball to in 2012, it will be Tamme.
Jermaine Gresham is another tight end that was drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft back in 2010. After turning just 24 in June, Gresham still has loads of potential to unlock, and at 6' 5", 260 pounds, he is a guy that is impressively athletic for his large frame.
The combination of defenses aiming more focus toward Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green and quarterback Andy Dalton adding a year of experience to his resume, has Gresham primed for a breakout season in 2012.