Tight ends are tricky. There’s really no secret when going about drafting one.
You want to get your hands on one of the top five TE’s, especially if you lack in the receiver department, otherwise you just need to sit back and snag any one of the next 10 to 12 guys.
Really, for the most part, you're not going to be any better off than anyone else in your league.
For my money, I love my leagues to have a flex option where tight ends are just an option. However, if you happen to be in a tight end mandatory league, this is the list you want to go by.
Like I said, after the top five names, don’t go and rack your brain trying to pick from that next group on the list.
1. Antonio Gates—He’s the most dominant TE in the league.
2. Jason Witten—Witten did finish No. 1 overall among TEs, but Gates did miss five games.
3. Dallas Clark—I really don’t see Clark’s productivity dropping off if Kerry Collins is in there.
4. Jermichael Finley—If he can stay healthy he will be in the top four among TEs.
5. Vernon Davis—A great security blanket for Alex Smith.
6. Brandon Pettigrew—Third in targets and receptions, according to espn.com.
7. Marcedes Lewis—He’s arguably the top option in the Jacksonville Jaguars offense.
8. Owen Daniels—He’s coming back from injury, but he is the second receiving option in a potent Houston Texans offense.
9. Kellen Winslow—How do you not love you some K2? He’s a f’n soldier!
10. Visanthe Shiancoe—Look back at Donovan McNabb's history—he loves tight ends!
11. Jimmy Graham—Graham has all the tools in the world to be great. The only negative on this guy is that he is in that Saints offense—too many options.
12. Ben Watson—He and Colt McCoy built a nice little combo last year.
13. Rob Gronkowski—He has Tom Brady throwing him the ball, but so many other options on that squad.
14. Tony Gonzalez—He’s another year older and may have dropped down on the list of Matt Ryan’s progressions, with the drafting of Julio Jones.
15. Dustin Keller—I can’t figure out why people hate on Mark Sanchez—it’s only the start of his third year! Keller will have a solid season.
16. Heath Miller—He and Big Ben are always on the same page.
17. Aaron Hernandez—Reference No. 13 on this list.
18. Jared Cook—Wait and see if he gels with Matt Hasslebeck.
19. Chris Cooley—I love Chris Cooley! I just don’t love his QB options.
20. Kevin Boss—I remain confused as to why he would leave the New York Giants for the soap opera that is the Oakland Raiders, but the guy can play.
21. Travis Beckum—Will do a solid job for Eli Manning and the Giants, filling in for the departed Kevin Boss.
22. Jermaine Gresham—I like Gresham, but I just don’t like having my tight ends relying on rookie quarterbacks getting them the ball.
23. Greg Olsen—You can’t ever go wrong with a tight end from the “U.” I want to put him higher, but have to remain skeptical with a rookie quarterback starting the season—with all the missed time to due to the lockout.
24. Todd Heap—Heap could be a nice sleeper pick this year. He’s also going to help open things up for Larry Fitzgerald by stretching the middle of the field.
25. Zach Miller—He cracked this list, barely, on his talent alone. It’s definitely not because of the Seattle Seahawk’s star quarterback. Before I am willing to put him where most experts think he should be, I need to see that he and Tarvaris Jackson are on the same page.
Side note: According to Adam Teicher of KansasCity.com, the Kansas City Chiefs lost their No. 1 tight end, Tony Moeaki, for the season. Moeaki injured his left knee and was put in injured reserve. Leonard Pope will now slide into that No. 1 TE spot.
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