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Friday, March 25, 2011
Where does Vernon Davis rank among TEs?

By Mike Sando

Our positional power rankings continue next week with tight ends.

The San Francisco 49ers' Vernon Davis will surely rank among our top 10, but how high should he rank on the list?

Davis
I'm inclined to rank him among the top five. These rankings aim to reflect not only past performance, but what we should expect from players in the coming season. Your thoughts?

Trent Baalke, the 49ers' general manager, had this to say during the NFL owners meeting about how Davis will fit in Jim Harbaugh's offense:
"The good part is, it was a tight end-driven offense that Stanford ran and a lot of the power game stuff that he ran, which is a lot of the things we did a year ago. We certainly feel good about the tight end position and the three guys that we have currently at that position. It'll be interesting how [Harbaugh] puts this all together with the combination of the tight ends, the fullbacks and the weapons we feel we have at the wide receiver position as well."

The chart, based on information from Pro Football Reference, ranks tight ends by touchdown receptions since 2008. I've listed the top five overall, plus the highest-ranked tight ends for NFC West teams during that time.

Among the top five, all but Davis have played with Pro Bowl quarterbacks. Davis has emerged as more of a receiving threat in recent seasons. He shined in pass protection at times when Mike Martz was coordinator, and he can be a good run-blocker as well. But it's his ability to strike with the big play that separates him from most tight ends in the passing game. I'll be interested in seeing how he evolves under Harbaugh.