Thursday, August 18, 2011
Vernon Davis on best tight end in NFL
By Mike Sando
Antonio Gates finished second to Jason Witten in our offseason power rankings for tight ends.
The fourth tight end on the list, Vernon Davis, cast his vote for Gates during a recent appearance on the Doug Gottlieb Show.
"The thing that sets him apart is his consistency to make plays, play after play," Davis said. "Everybody talks about him not being a good blocker, but they don't look at the other side, his consistency."
Davis said he sees the position continually evolving away from bigger tight ends to those with the athletic ability to challenge defenses in the passing game. We're seeing that in the NFC West with Davis, Delanie Walker, Zach Miller and rookie draft choices Lance Kendricks and Rob Housler, among others. A quick check through the NFL rosters I maintain showed no more than 10 tight ends listed at 270-plus pounds.
"The position has evolved tremendously," Davis said. "I say that because you don't have these 6-6, 6-7, 275-pound guys any more. We're normally around 6-3, 6-4, 240-250 pounds and can move fast. That is what it's about nowadays. Teams are looking for that tight end that can really stretch the seam and can run with the football in his hand."
Along those lines, I recently asked 49ers receiver Braylon Edwards to compare Davis to Edwards' former teammate in Cleveland, Kellen Winslow Jr. Edwards offered these thoughts:
They are both extremely talented. 'K2' is, before I got here, the best I played with. Watching him, he was, before his motorcycle accident, probably would have been the best pass receiving tight end of our era. But he is still doing his thing.
"Vernon is faster than Kellen and I think he is a little stronger in the blocking game than Kellen. I think that is the big difference between the two. They both run good routes, they both have extremely good hands, good size, but I think the big thing is, Vernon is a blocker. I’ve seen him on film and he takes that to heart and he destroys guys play after play after play. I think that is the difference between him and a lot of tight ends."
Davis leads NFL tight ends in touchdown receptions over the past two seasons with 20.
Earlier: Why I ranked Davis third among NFL tight ends, and what Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. thinks of him.