The AFC North blog will take a look at the top five division players at a position each day this week. This is a projection for the 2012 season, so predicted progress and decline has been factored into the rankings. The next position is the tight ends.
1. Jermaine Gresham, Bengals: He led AFC North tight ends in receptions (56) and touchdown catches (six) last season. Still, there's a sense he is being underused at a time when five tight ends caught at least 79 passes last season.
2. Ed Dickson, Ravens: He's got everything you want in a tight end: size, speed and athleticism. The next step is his consistency. He caught fewer than three passes in half of his games last season.
3. Heath Miller, Steelers: He's still the most complete tight end in the division. But he turns 30 during the season, and you wonder whether he'll give the Steelers more than 50 catches and two touchdowns like he's done the past two seasons.
4. Dennis Pitta, Ravens: He quietly made a big impact for the Ravens, ranking second on the team with 17 catches on third down last season. The Ravens don't have a tight end combination like the Patriots, but Dickson-Pitta is a solid one.
5. Evan Moore, Browns: The Browns might not need a tight end to block as much this season with Mitchell Schwartz at right tackle. And, with Ben Watson nearing the end of his career after three concussions in 2011, this could be a breakout year for Moore.