Tight end is a position that you never really know what to expect from week-to-week. It’s not uncommon to see a relatively obscure fantasy option breakout with a big game one week and then fade back into the background the next.
With that type of uncertainty, throwing a rookie into the mix complicates things even more. It’s hard to trust a rookie regardless of the position, but at tight end it’s significantly worse.
That doesn’t mean that we should ignore this year’s rookie class, however. Let’s take a look at the top three options available to you:
1. Jermaine Grisham – Cincinnati Bengals
Drafted in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Grisham seemingly becomes the missing link in the Bengals offense. Last season J.P. Foschi was the Bengals leading receiver from the tight end position, with 27 catches for 260 yards and two touchdowns.
Grisham should easily surpass those numbers, catching 66 yards for 950 yards and 14 TD for Oklahoma in 2008. He did miss the entire 2009 season with a knee injury, but that clearly did not scare off the Bengals.
With Carson Palmer throwing him the ball…
With Chad Ochocinco, Antonio Bryant & Andre Caldwell getting attention on the outside…
With Cedric Benson drawing extra defenders in the box…
Grisham is in a tremendous position and could be in line to have a huge rookie campaign as he slides into a high-powered offense. Not to mention, at 6’5″, he should be a go to option in the red zone and a potential touchdown machine.
2. Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots
Like the top rookie tight end, he too missed the 2009 season, but his problem was with his back. Still, a tight end with good hands, who is 6’6″ and has Tom Brady tossing him the ball? Concerns or not, he’s worth paying attention to.
The Patriots lost both Benjamin Watson & Chris Baker in the offseason, so Gronkowski will battle veteran Algie Crumpler and fellow rookie Aaron Hernandez for playing time. It appears that he’s in a good position to see plenty of snaps, and therefore have plenty of opportunity to excel.
Watson was third on the Patriots in yards with 404 last season. It’s not inconceivable to see Gronkowski pick up that slack and then some.
3. Ed Dickson – Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens followed the path of the Patriots, drafting not one, but two tight ends in this year’s draft (they also drafted Dennis Pitta). Whichever one wins the second tight end spot behind Todd Heap could be in for a nice season and at this point, Dickson appears to have the inside track.
With Ray Rice in the backfield, the Ravens easily could line up in several two tight end sets, only to allow Joe Flacco to distribute the ball through the air. With the type of offense they possess, it’s not unthinkable to see Dickson put up some solid numbers.
I know it’s a bit of a stretch, but that shows a little bit about how shallow the rookie TE class is. There’s potential elsewhere, if injuries open doors, but outside of the top two it is unlikely that any rookie tight end makes much noise in 2010.
What are your thoughts on the rookie tight end class? Who has the best chance of making an impact? Is there anyone I missed?
Make sure to check out our 2010 rankings: