Drafting running backs and wide receivers is tough. Necessary, but tough. There’s a whole slew of strategy in drafting certain running backs and wide receivers early in the draft. Either you get who you want, or scramble to find someone when your choice is taken. Running backs and wide receivers are a tough test.
That’s why, when it’s time to choose tight ends, I breathe a sigh of relief. Choosing a tight end is a fun time for me, and it should be for you, too. Now, there’s usually someone who takes Rob Gronkowski in the first round. And that’s okay. If you want to be that someone, I say go for it. But in today’s game, there are more choices at tight end that could yield better results. Names like Jordan Reed, Travis Kelce, Greg Olsen and Delanie Walker appear in the early rounds of draft strategies. If you aren’t able to grab a big-time tight end because you’re grabbing running backs and wide receivers (and maybe quarterbacks), don’t worry. Be happy. There is a select choice of tight ends you could take later in the draft. In this article, we will look at teams that have competing (and productive) tight ends.
With the addition of Jared Cook during the offseason, Oakland provided Derek Carr with another offensive option at tight end. During his time with Green Bay last year, Cook had 51 targets for 377 receiving yards and one touchdown with a productive playoff game against Dallas (11 targets for 103 yards and one touchdown). Cook had productive seasons with Tennessee and St. Louis with several quarterbacks during the years at each team. With journeymen quarterbacks like Matt Hasselbeck, Jake Locker, Sam Bradford and Austin Davis, or a Hall-of-Fame quarterback like Aaron Rodgers, Cook can put up decent numbers. Clive Walford was Oakland’s top tight end last year and put up numbers similar to Cook’s 2016 numbers (52 targets for 359 receiving yards and three touchdowns). Walford put up similar numbers in 2015 as well. While Walford looks like a nice, consistent tight end, Cook has had success with several quarterbacks.
Take Jared Cook.
Los Angeles Chargers
Antonio Gates has had a long, storied career with the Chargers. He’s had several seasons of 80-plus targets, 750-plus receiving yards, and seven-plus touchdowns (he scored 12 touchdowns in 2014). In 2016, Gates had 93 targets for 548 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Gates will be 37 years old for the 2017 season, but he’s not slowing down. Hunter Henry, on the other hand, is young (2016 was his rookie year), but he put up numbers similar to Gates’ 2016 numbers (53 targets for 478 receiving yards and eight touchdowns). Gates is Mr. Dependable and Henry looks like a great, new tight end option for Philip Rivers. I’m usually concerned for a player’s sophomore year, but it looks as though Gates will be used for third-down or red zone attempts in 2017. Although Gates has put up great numbers with the Chargers, Hunter Henry has proved he can take over as the No. 1 tight end.
Take Hunter Henry.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Austin Seferian-Jenkins has had trouble on and off the field. Between an injury in 2014 and a DUI arrest in 2016, Seferian-Jenkins did not establish himself in Tampa Bay. It didn’t come as a surprise that Tampa Bay released him in 2016. It did come as a nice surprise that Cameron Brate became the top tight end and had productive numbers. In 2016, Brate had 81 targets, 660 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. He was a favorite for Jameis Winston and he should continue to be for the 2017 season. Tampa Bay’s first-round pick in the 2017 draft was O.J. Howard, a tight end from Alabama. It’s hard to compare his college statistics to future statistics, but it’s obvious Tampa Bay will want to use him right out of the gate. Howard will have a chance to prove himself, but Brate should see a majority of the targets.
Take Cameron Brate.