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Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Ranking the AFC West tight ends

By Bill Williamson

Antonio Gates
San Diego veteran Antonio Gates remains one of the NFL's elite tight ends.
We are continuing our AFC West positional rankings with the tight ends. It’s a group that is great at the top and young and workmanlike after that. Here we go:

1. Antonio Gates, San Diego: Gates is getting older and health has been an issue. But he is still the class of this division.

2. Tony Moeaki, Kansas City: It will be interesting to see if Moeaki can quickly rebound from missing his second season with a torn ACL. He had a terrific rookie season. I think he has star potential.

3. Jacob Tamme, Denver: I went with Tamme over his teammate because Tamme already has a relationship with Peyton Manning from their Colts’ days.

4. Joel Dreessen, Denver: We will see a lot of Tamme and Dreessen. Both are professionals who are capable of making big plays.

5. Kevin Boss, Kansas City: Boss is best suited as a second option, and he is a good one. Moeaki-Boss is a nice combination.

6. Randy McMichael, San Diego: A gritty, hard-nosed veteran who the San Diego coaching staff loves.

7. Brandon Myers, Oakland: He’s a good player who is limited in the receiving game.

8. Julius Thomas, Denver: The Broncos love the potential of this former college basketball player. Injuries robbed him of most of his rookie season, but he showed preseason flashes.

9. David Ausberry, Oakland: A converted receiver who gets a chance to show what he can do for the Raiders at one of their most vulnerable positions.

10. Richard Gordon, Oakland: A blocker who will be given a chance to develop for the Raiders.

11. Ladarius Green, San Diego: Don’t expect much from this fourth-round pick right away, but I can see him being given an opportunity or two. The Chargers think he can be Gates’ eventual replacement.