by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
So far the tight end position has managed to avoid the injuries that other positions have seen, but that doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been movement in the rankings. Who has opened some eyes this preseason? Who has concerns that are growing? Let’s take a look at the rankings and see how things currently stand as the regular season grows near:
- Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots (1)
- Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs (2)
- Greg Olsen – Carolina Panthers (3)
- Jimmy Graham – Seattle Seahawks (4)
- Jordan Reed – Washington Redskins (5)
- Zach Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles (6)
- Tyler Eifert – Cincinnati Bengals (7)
- Kyle Rudolph – Minnesota Vikings (10)
- Martellus Bennett – Green Bay Packers (11)
- Delanie Walker – Tennessee Titans (8)
- Eric Ebron – Detroit Lions (9)
- Jack Doyle – Indianapolis Colts (12)
- Hunter Henry – Los Angeles Chargers (14)
- Austin Hooper – Atlanta Falcons (17)
- Jason Witten – Dallas Cowboys (19)
- Charles Clay – Buffalo Bills (20)
- C.J. Fiedorowicz – Houston Texans (16)
- Cameron Brate – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (24)
- Coby Fleener – New Orleans Saints (13)
- Jared Cook – Oakland Raiders (NR)
- Julius Thomas – Miami Dolphins (18)
- Evan Engram – New York Giants (22)
- Dwayne Allen – New England Patriots (25)
- O.J. Howard – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (15)
- David Njoku – Cleveland Browns (23)
Dropped Off The Rankings: Jesse James (PIT, 21)
- Delanie Walker has seen over 100 targets in each of the past three seasons, despite playing 15 games each year. However the receiving corps around him has taken a significant step up in talent heading into 2017, thanks to the additions of Corey Davis and Eric Decker, and that could mean fewer opportunities for the now 33-year old veteran. While he should still be a TE1, don’t assume that he’s going to be quite as impressive as he has been in the past.
- Regardless of the length of Ezekiel Elliot’s suspension, the Cowboys will be utilizing their passing attack more early on this season then they have in recent years. That should help to boost the stock of Jason Witten, who often gets overlooked though he shouldn’t be.
- It’s possible that Coby Fleener emerges as a post-hype sleeper, but his usage/results this preseason certainly haven’t given any indication of it. There’s still upside and he’s worth the flier, though there are better gambles to take.
- We all want to get excited about the upside of O.J. Howard, but generally rookie tight ends fail to produce and it’s possible that he’s utilized more as a blocker early on in order to get him acclimated to the NFL game (the presence of Cameron Brate helps in that regard). There’s upside, but don’t bank on Howard being a productive option in Year 1.
Make sure to check out all of our 2017 Preseason Rankings: