Vernon Davis and NFL's top tight ends

May, 18, 2012
5/18/12
2:37
PM ET
Eight of John Clayton's 10 best tight ends have one thing in common: a Pro Bowl quarterback.

Vernon Davis, ranked fifth, was an exception.

We hear quite a bit about tight ends taking pressure off quarterbacks, but it's tough for any tight end to produce at an elite level without a high-producing quarterback. Zach Miller might have landed on this list a year ago, but his production fell sharply with Seattle last season -- more a reflection of quarterbacks and the offense than of Miller.

Davis' 26 touchdown receptions since 2009 rank second only to Rob Gronkowski (27) among NFL tight ends. He has always had a strong rapport with Alex Smith.

Davis' playoff production sets him apart from most tight ends. He had 10 receptions for 292 yards and four touchdowns in two postseason games.

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