by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Let’s take a look at a few of the early ADP trends among tight ends to try and determine if there’s potential value or not:
Jimmy Graham is going in the first round
He is significantly better than the rest of the tight end field, there is no arguing that. However, does he give you enough of an advantage to bypass a RB or WR at the end of the first round? It’s a question that we will be diving into as we get closer to draft day, but my gut reaction would be no. I just can’t see taking a player who, overall, is going to put up worse statistics based on his position alone. Maybe my stance will change, though, so time will tell.
Vernon Davis is going way too early
Thus far he’s been the fourth tight end coming off the board (ADP of 46.2). I recently wrote about how I felt he was going to be overvalued and in early drafts he clearly has been (you can read the article by clicking here). The position has too many upside players available significantly later to waste this fourth round pick.
Jordan Reed and Zach Ertz appear to offer value
Reed is currently the 9th tight end (89.0) and Ertz is the 11th tight end (124.2). Just consider that both could easily out produce Davis (who was more a function of his TD than anything last season), though they are available 50+ picks later. You had better believe that I will likely end up with one of these two on the majority of my teams this season.
Can we trust Eric Ebron
Rookie tight ends are often tough to trust, though thus far it’s not like you would have to make a major investment in him (TE13). While the Lions added Golden Tate to hopefully fill their need across from Calvin Johnson, is it really a stretch to think that Ebron ultimately emerges as the more important option?
He has that type of upside, and it is not going to be surprising to see Ebron lining up on the outside while Brandon Pettigrew fills the more traditional TE role. It’s that potential that makes Ebron well worth considering if you miss the top names, unless his draft day cost rises significantly over the next few weeks.
Antonio Gates being drafted as a TE2
Maybe most people feel like Ladarius Green’s role is going to expand, or maybe it’s the default rankings, but Gates is being selected as the 14th tight end early on (143.6). He’s not the player that he once was, but let’s not forget that he had 77 receptions for 872 yards and 4 TD last season. If I strikeout on my other targets, I’d be more than happy to select Gates this late in my drafts.
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Make sure to check out all of our 2014 rankings: