Draft Kit '04: Tight End Report

Originally Published: July 20, 2004
By Scouts Inc.
Jason Langendorf
Somewhere, Mark Bavaro is snorting.

Tight end -- a position historically steeped in thick-necked maulers and tough guys, players who seemed born for a John Facenda-voiced soundtrack -- has gone glamour. Tony Gonzalez and Todd Heap led their respective teams in receiving in 2003, and Jeremy Shockey, Alge Crumpler and a legion of other young tight ends are changing the way folks think of the position in today's NFL.

But the truth is, gifted pass-catching tight ends have been around almost as long as the game -- certainly since the start of what is considered football's modern era. From John Mackey to Jackie Smith to Ozzie Newsome, the big guys have had a place in NFL passing games for decades. Even great players like Ron Kramer and Mike Ditka, remembered best for their grit and physical styles, could pluck and run.