Wednesday, March 30, 2011
AFC North TE rankings
By James Walker
This week ESPN.com ranked the NFL's best tight ends, and no one in the AFC North made the cut. But the division has a solid group at the position with no weak links.
Here is how we rank the AFC North's tight ends:
1. Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers
Stats: 42 receptions, 512 yards, two touchdowns
Skinny: On Tuesday I made the case that Miller deserves to be in the top 10, but he finished at No. 13. Injuries and starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s four-game suspension hurt his numbers. But Miller remains one of the league’s most well-rounded and dependable tight ends. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Miller had the most receptions (42) last season at the position without a drop.
2. Ben Watson, Cleveland Browns
Stats: 68 receptions, 763 yards, three touchdowns
Skinny: Watson was Cleveland's best receiving threat last year, as the team's receivers continue to struggle. He served as quarterback Colt McCoy's safety valve and has a chance to thrive in coach Pat Shurmur's new West Coast offense.
3. Todd Heap, Baltimore Ravens
Stats: 40 receptions, 599 yards, five touchdowns
Skinny: Heap, a 10-year veteran, is on the downside of a productive career, but he continues to make plays for Baltimore. Heap proved he can still stretch the field with an average of 15.0 yards per reception in 2010. The Ravens drafted two tight ends (Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta) last year to eventually replace Heap once he slows down.
4. Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati Bengals
Stats: 52 receptions, 471 yards, four touchdowns
Skinny: Gresham had a strong rookie showing for Cincinnati. The former first-round draft pick was tied for third on the Bengals with 52 receptions. I would like to see more opportunities down the field for Gresham. He averaged just 9.1 yards per reception in 2010. But expect Gresham to move up this list as early as next season.