Tight ends are some of the game’s most versatile athletes. They’re big and strong enough to block defensive ends and line backers, but athletic enough to run by safeties to catch the football. In recent years the game of football has changed and tight ends are evolving with it, becoming some of the league’s best pass catchers. We’re going to take a look at the best five tight ends in the game:
- Rob Gronkowski
Gronk is about as big, strong and fast as any player in this league. He’s a physical freak and one of the best route runners at the position. Gronk is also blessed to play with the best quarterback of all time. Tom Brady throws the ball like no other. When Gronk is open, Tom will find him. This year he’s found him to the tune of over 1,000 yards and another season of double digit touchdowns.
- Jordan Reed
A matchup nightmare when healthy, Reed may be the fastest tight end in the league. Jordan is currently leading tight ends in receptions and second among the position for touchdowns. The question regarding Reed has never been his ability, but instead his health. Now we are seeing for the first time what he can do when healthy for a full season, and it’s frightening.
- Greg Olsen
Olsen acts as a safety valve for Cam Newton and the undefeated Carolina Panthers. With the team’s lack of talent on the outside, Olsen has taken over the spot as the number one receiver on the team. Though Olsen is among the best receiving tight ends in the league, what sets him apart is his ability to block. Olsen is a big reason his Carolina Panthers are the number one rushing offense in the league.
- Gary Barnidge
As a journeyman for nearly his whole career, Barnidge never garnered much attention. But in his 8th NFL season, the Barn Dog’s time has come. On pace for over 70 catches for 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns, Barnidge has been successful with a revolving door of quarterbacks throwing the ball to him. Gary also is a fighter in the trenches and is one of the most physical blocking tight ends in the league.
- Jimmy Graham
Though he switched teams and his season was cut short due to injury, Graham is still among the best playmakers in football. This star had a slow start to his inaugural season as a Seahawk, but that was not entirely his fault. Learning a new offense that focuses on the run, and subpar play from Russell Wilson all contributed. With his season being cut short, it was his worst since being a rookie, but with his talent there is no doubt he will come back stronger than ever.