The Top 10 Tight Ends in the NFL, 2000-2009
I am finally nearing the end of this long journey, ranking every position for the decade that was in the NFL. This week, tight ends are up. Unfortunately the only aspect of the tight end's game that is easy to gauge is the receiving. There is a lack of appreciation for the other aspect of their game, the blocking. But I did my best to add that to the mix in my list.
The just misses for this list were Randy McMichael, Shannon Sharpe, Kellen Winslow Jr. and a few others who just didn't have enough time in to compete with the ten I ended up with.
As always comments are appreciated, whether in agreement with my content or not. So without further a due, here are my top 10 tight ends from the last decade in the NFL.
No. 10 Dallas Clark
For much of the decade I thought Clark was one of the more overrated players at the position. His blocking was suspect and his numbers weren't that great considering the heavy pass offense and who was throwing him the ball. He, however, took a hug step forward in 2009, catching 100 passes for 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns helping the Colts reach their second Super Bowl in four years.
His stats for the decade include 356 catches for 4,188 yards and 41 touchdowns. In 2009 he enjoyed his first nod to the Pro Bowl and the All-Pro teams.
No. 9 Heath Miller
Yes, I am a Steeler fan. But let me tell you this about Heath Miller: there isn't a weakness in his game. His blocking, hands, route running, and run after the catch are all top notch and his numbers aren't that bad considering he played in a run heavy offense the first few years of his career.
In his five NFL seasons Miller has 244 catches for 2,721 yards and 27 touchdowns. He has helped Pittsburgh to two Super Bowl wins.
No. 8 Chris Cooley
Another guy in the Dallas Clark mold, maybe a little bit better of a blocker. Unfortunately for Cooley he hasn't gotten to play on anything even resembling a top NFL offense for most of his career, that however has not stopped him from producing.
His stats for the decade include 342 catches for 3,789 yards and 30 touchdowns. Cooley has been to two Pro Bowls and named a first team All-Pro one time in his career.
No. 7 Desmond Clark
This guy has been terribly underrated his entire career. Clark is a stout blocker, with soft hands and the ability to punish defenders in the open field. The fact that after the age of thirty he was able to keep a first round pick on the bench for most of two seasons is a testament to his ability.
His stats for the decade include 322 catches for 3,579 yards and 27 touchdowns. He has played for the Broncos, Dolphins and Bears during his career.
No. 6 Jeremy Shockey
Jeremy Shockey was a dynamic reciever most of his career, but has seen a bit of a decline the last three years, partly due to some injury issues as well as changing teams in 2008.
His stats for the decade include 469 catches for 5,280 yards and 30 touchdowns. He has been to four Pro Bowls and helped the Saints win their first Super Bowl following the 2009 season.
No. 5 Alge Crumpler
When Crumpler was one of the better receiving tight ends in the league his blocking skills in the run heavy Atlanta offense were under appreciated. Now in the twighlight of his career they are what keeps him the league.
His stats for the decade are 367 catches, 4,691 yards and 36 touchdowns. Crumpler has been to four Pro Bowls in his career and is the brother and son of former NFL players.
No. 4 Todd Heap
Heap started off his career as one of the top tight ends in the league, a few devastating injuries hurt his production in the middle, but he has had a bit of a resurgence lately.
His stats for the decade are 427 catches for 4,893 yards and 36 touchdowns. Heap has been to two Pro Bowls in his career.
No. 3 Jason Witten
Witten is a dynamic receiver and a solid blocker and has been since he came into the league in 2003.
His stats for the decade are 523 catches for 5,965 yards and 27 touchdowns. Witten has been to six Pro Bowls and was named a first team All-Pro in 2007.
No. 2 Antonio Gates
There are about 20 former college power forwards who can thank Gates for getting them a try out with an NFL team. Gates is that rare guy who can play in the NFL without any college football experience. Since coming into the league in 2003 Gates has the most touchdowns by any tight end and is second or third in pretty much every other category.
His stats for the decade are 479 catches for 6,223 yards and 59 touchdowns. Gates has been to six Pro Bowls and is a three-time first team All-Pro.
No. 1 Tony Gonzalez
No surprise here. There is only one tight end who looks Hall of Fame bound out of this decade and it's Tony G.. One of the unnoticed stats for Gonzalez is the fact that he has only missed one game this entire decade.
His amazing stats for the decade are 831 catches for 9,969 yards and 67 touchdowns. He has been to nine Pro Bowls and has been named first team All-Pro four times.