The Best Pro Football Players In Mississippi History, Part Five: Tight Ends

Bryan FlynnAnalyst IJuly 8, 2009

8 Dec 1996:  Wesley Walls #85 of the Carolina Panthers in action  during a game against the San Francisco 49ers at 3Com Park in San Francisco, California. The Panthers defeated the 49ers 30-24. Mandatory Credit: Otto Greule Jr.  /Allsport

Mississippi has had great players at every position covered so far. From quarterbacks to offensive linemen there have been great players from every university in the state.

The position of tight end is no different. While there have not been a lot of great tight ends, there are a few that should be mentioned.

There might not be any future hall of famers on this list, but it does not mean the players were not some of the best to play pro football.

Here is the list of the best tight ends in Mississippi history to play pro football—once again not in set any order.


Rich Caster: New York Jets via Jackson State Tigers

Caster played college football at Jackson State from 1966-69. To this day Caster is still in Tigers history in career touchdown catches with 28 total touchdowns with 160 receptions and 3,638 yards.

The New York Jets drafted Caster in 1970 in the second round with the 46th pick.

Caster played 13 NFL seasons, mainly with the Jets. In that time, Caster had 322 receptions, 5,515 yards, and 45 touchdowns.

In his time with the Jets, Caster was named to three Pro Bowls (1972, 1974, and 1975). Later in his career Caster would switch to wide receiver.

In his final NFL season (1981-82) Caster played for the Washington Redskins when they beat the Miami Dolphins 27-17 to win Super Bowl XVII.

(Note: Caster also played wide receiver in his career, but was a three-time Pro Bowl selection at tight end.)


Jimmy Giles: Tampa Bay Buccaneers via Alcorn State Braves

Jimmy Giles played for the Braves during his college career. In 1977, Giles was drafted by the Houston Oilers in the third round with the 70th pick.

Giles would play one year in Houston before being traded to Tampa Bay, where his career flourished. Giles is generally considered to be the best tight end in Buccaneers history.

In 13 NFL seasons Giles would have 350 receptions, 5,084 yards, and 41 touchdown grabs.

Giles was selected to four Pro Bowls (1980-82, and 1985) while in Tampa Bay.


Wesley Walls: Carolina Panthers via Ole Miss Rebels

Walls played defensive end his first three years at Ole Miss. In his senior year he was moved to line backer and played tight end. He even started at both against the Memphis Tigers, but quickly found out it would be too much.

So Walls was moved to tight end permanently, and was named All-American his senior year. Walls played for the Rebels from 1986 to 1989.

In the 1989, the San Francisco 49ers selected Walls in the second round with the 56th pick. Walls was a back up to perennial Pro Bowl tight end Brent Jones.

In 1994 Walls left the 49ers to play for the New Orleans Saints for two seasons.

It was not until Walls joined the Carolina Panthers in 1996 that his career took off. While playing for Carolina, Walls would be named to five Pro Bowls (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2001), and first-team All-Pro selections (1996, 1997, 1999, and 2001).

While with the Panthers, Walls was the backup to punter Tim Walter. Walls would leave Carolina in 2003 and signed with the Green Bay Packers.

After the 2003 season Walls retired with 450 receptions, 5,291 receiving yards and 54 touchdown catches.


That concludes the best offensive players from Mississippi. Next in this series we start looking at the best defensive players from Mississippi.