NFL Best of the Decade- Part 4- Tight Ends
The tight-end position has been revolutionized once again this decade. While blocking is still a major factor, speed and catching the football has become an important factor. For example at the scouting combine, Vernon Davis ran a 4.4 40-yard-dash, simply astonishing.
I’ve blabbled enough, here are the to 10 tight ends of the decade!
Top 10 Tight Ends of the Decade
1. Tony Gonzalez- As a tight-end, he was the best receiving tight-end of the decade. He reset the standard for a tight-end in the NFL. He holds various NFL records for a tight-end including touchdowns, yards, and receptions. He was also a very effective blocker, part of the reason why Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson had stellar seasons in their stints with Kansas City.
2. Antonio Gates- The best athlete at the position of the decade. As a pass catcher, he is too fast for linebackers, and too big for defensive backs. As a college athlete, Gates played basketball for Kent State. In many of his receptions in the NFL, Gates uses his basketball background by “boxing out” defenders as he goes for the ball.
3. Jason Witten- As a blocker, he is adept in both the running and passing game. He is just as good a receiver. He’s tough to cover, and when he’s in the open field he knows how to deliver a blow.
4. Jeremy Shockey- As a Giant, Shockey always played with a chip on his shoulder. He is the epitome of a hard-nosed football player. Great blocker and receiver. He really excelled lining up in the slot, running the seam.
5. Alge Crumpler- He was a rare athlete at his size. He had huge legs that helped him quite well in the running game. He was like adding another offensive lineman to the line of scrimmage. As a receiver he can go get it in the end-zone.
6. Todd Heap- If the Ravens actually had a quarterback during the decade, Heap’s numbers could have been great. Still, he was one of the top pass catchers at the position. He was the main target in the passing game for the Ravens for many seasons.
7. Chris Cooley- He played more of an H-back, but Cooley could really block well. In the running game, he can clear a hole and seal the edge. He could go get out, run good routes and catch the football. Some say he has great hair.
8. Dallas Clark- A great target in the passing game, and a huge asset for Peyton Manning. Similar to Gates, Clark is too quick for linebackers, and too strong for defensive backs. He runs the slot very well.
9. Kellen Winslow II- The son of the sensational Hall-of-Fame tight end Kellen Winslow of the San Diego Chargers from the 1980’s. He plays a lot like his father did. In 2005, Winslow suffered a horrific knee injury to his right knee in a motorcycle accident. He wound up missing the entire 2005 NFL season. I’m curious to what could have been if it wasn’t for that crash.
10. Shannon Sharpe- Arguably the top tight-end in the 1990’s makes the top ten in the 2000’s. Sharpe is most notably known in the decade for his 2000 Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl run. He had two extroardinary touchdown catches. The first came on a 58-yard juggling score against the Broncos in the Wild-Card round. In the AFC Championship Game against Oakland, he scored the only touchdown of the game on a crushing 96-yard touchdown reception.
Honorable Mention- Randy McMichael, Freddie Jones, Frank Wycheck, Bubba Franks, Heath Miller
Some Names to Throw Out for Next Decade- Vernon Davis, Owen Daniels, Dustin Keller, JerMichael Finley, Brandon Pettigrew, Brent Celek, Fred Davis, JerMaine Grisham, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez.