Our offseason ranking series continues with a look at the league’s best tight ends entering 2015.
1. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots — This isn’t even close. Gronk led all NFL tight ends with 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2014, and the 26-year-old should only get better now that he’s back in the rhythm he originally established with one of the best seasons ever at that position in 2011.
2. Jimmy Graham, Seattle Seahawks — Even in a bit of an “off year,” the 28-year-old put up 889 yards and 10 touchdowns with the Saints in 2014. Now that he’s got a fresh start in Seattle, look for Graham to get back to his pace from 2013, a year in which he had 1,215 yards and a ridiculous 16 touchdowns.
3. Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears — The tragically underrated Bennett led all NFL tight ends with 90 catches while surpassing the 900-yard mark in 2014. And it was no fluke. The 28-year-old’s numbers have climbed across the board in three consecutive seasons.
4. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers — After back-to-back 800-yard seasons, Cam Newton’s savior hit the 1,000-yard plateau in 2014, which places the 30-year-old in a very exclusive group at that position.
5. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs — His numbers haven’t exploded yet, but Kelce caught 77 percent of the passes thrown his way in 2014. Coming off an 862-yard campaign in his first season as a starter, you know the 25-year-old is about to become a star.
6. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers — The 35-year-old isn’t quite as productive as he used to be but he still posted 12 touchdowns in 2014, which was only one short of his career high. And only six tight ends had more receiving yards than Gates.
7. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys — The 33-year-old has seen his numbers drop off in back-to-back seasons, but he was still one of only 12 tight ends to go over 700 yards while also catching a very solid 71.1 percent of the passes thrown his way last year.
8. Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers — Miller is by no means a finesse tight end, but the 32-year-old gets the job done year in and year out. He’s had at least 500 yards in eight consecutive seasons and he caught 72.5 percent of the passes thrown his way last year.
9. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles — Like Kelce, Ertz arrived on the scene in his second NFL season with a 700-yard campaign. As the 24-year-old becomes even more involved as a regular, he’ll only move up lists like these.
10. Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans — Another underrated presence, the 30-year-old Walker ranked fourth among all tight ends with 890 receiving yards in 2014. It was a late breakout season and he’ll still have to prove it wasn’t an aberration, but that’s still a high enough total to capture the last spot.