Season Preview: Top 5 Tight Ends

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Here is a list of the Top 5 Tight Ends in the NFL heading into next season:

1. Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers

Last season the San Francisco 49ers were finally able to get some things going after Mike Singletary officially had one full season under his belt as the new head coach. Not only did Singletary establish the 49ers as a force to be reckoned with on the defensive end of the football field, but he was able to get the offense going once again by resurrecting quarterback Alex Smith’s career.

With Smith back behind center and playing with a lot of confidence, the struggling San Francisco offense was able to get back on track and show some hope for the future.

Obviously, Alex Smith was a huge part of the 49ers success on offense, but it was the emergence of Vernon Davis that really got this offense going as he became the go to guy and quite possibly the new best tight end in the NFL.

Davis finished last season with 965 yards and 13 touchdowns on 78 receptions. Next season I believe this numbers will be even bigger!

 

2. Dallas Clark, Indianapolis Colts

The NFL season didn’t end the way Peyton Manning would have liked it to as the fell just short against the New Orleans Saints in the Super Bowl. Despite not being able to win their second Super Bowl title in three years, the Colts still put up one hell of an effort and were able to get right back on track even though they had to do it without future Hall of Fame wide receiver Marvin Harrison and popular head coach Tony Dungy.

The Colts offense is amongst the most dynamic in the NFL and they don’t even have a solid running game, but their passing game is second to none as they have one of the best wide receivers in the game in Reggie Wayne and arguably one of the best tight ends in Dallas Clark.

Last season was somewhat of breakout year for Clark as he finished with 100 receptions, 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns. I expect more of the same heading into next season as Clark will continue to play a big role in the Colts air attack.

 

3. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers

A few years ago, the San Diego Chargers had arguably the most dynamic offense in the NFL and they didn’t even have a go to wide receiver like many potent offenses do. Despite not having the go to guy like Randy Moss or Larry Fitzgerald, Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers still had some of the best offensive weapons in the game in the form of running back LaDainian Tomlinson and tight end Antonio Gates.

Last season was somewhat of a down year for Gates as wide receiver Vincent Jackson seemed to become Phillip Rivers new favorite target in the offense, but with Jackson out the first few weeks of the season, if not longer, I believe Gates will become a force to be reckoned with once again.

 

4. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys are always one of the best offensive teams in the league heading into every single season with quarterback Tony Romo behind center. Even though the Cowboys really struggle in the playoffs, during the regular season they are as tough to beat as any other team in the league.

One of the main reasons for the Cowboys dominance in the passing game over the past few years has been Tony Romo’s favorite target in Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten.

With the emergence of Miles Austin last season, Jason Witten took a back seat in the offense, but with teams adjusting to Austin this season, Witten is poised to have some huge numbers next season!

 

5. Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons

No tight end in the game has been more dominant or consistent over the past decade or so than perennial Pro Bowler Tony Gonzalez. Even though Gonzalez made a name for himself while playing for the Kansas City Chiefs, the AFC West’s worst team wasn’t going anywhere and it was time for the future Hall of Famer to move on.

As a result, Tony Gonzalez was traded to the Atlanta Falcons and finally had a franchise caliber quarterback to receive passes from in Matt Ryan.

Last season wasn’t really a great indication of things to come as the entire team was ravaged with injuries, but despite never really being able to get things going last year, Gonzalez still finished the season with some impressive numbers as he caught 83 passes for 867 yards and six touchdowns.

As long as Matt Ryan can stay healthy next season, I believe Tony Gonzalez will continue to be a huge threat in the passing
game and quite possibly the tight end with the best numbers at the end of the year.

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