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Looking Back - Wide Receivers
by David M. Dorey
July 18, 2003
 
Quarterback Running Back Wide Receiver Tight End Kicker Defense

It would figure that the one position that gets drafted the best is the lowest scoring one.
Actual Drafted Tight End NFL PPG
1 11 Heap,Todd BAL 7.5
2 1 Gonzalez,Tony KC 6.9
3 5 Sharpe,Shannon DEN 6.8
4 4 Shockey,Jeremy NYG 6.3
5 NA Miller,Billy HOU 5.2
6 2 Pollard,Marcus IND 5.1
7 3 Franks,Bubba GB 5.1
8 19 McMichael,Randy MIA 4.5
9 21 Alexander,Stephen SD 4.3
10 20 Brady,Kyle JAX 4.3
11 17 Crumpler,Alge ATL 4.3
12 NA Mili,Itula SEA 4.1
13 NA Fauria,Christian NE 4.1
14 15 Conwell,Ernie STL 3.9
15 NA Jolley,Doug OAK 3.7
16 9 Lewis,Chad PHI 3.5
17 12 Walls,Wesley CAR 3.5
18 13 Stevens,Jerramy SEA 3.2
19 18 Becht,Anthony NYJ 3.1
20 NA Ricks,Mikhael DET 3.1
Drafted Actual Tight End NFL PPG
1 2 Gonzalez,Tony KC 6.9
2 6 Pollard,Marcus IND 5.1
3 7 Franks,Bubba GB 5.1
4 4 Shockey,Jeremy NYG 6.3
5 3 Sharpe,Shannon DEN 6.8
6 27 Chamberlain,Byron MIN 2.5
7 31 Jones,Freddie ARI 2.3
8 25 Wycheck,Frank TEN 2.7
9 17 Lewis,Chad PHI 3.5
10 23 Johnson,Eric SF 2.9
11 1 Heap,Todd BAL 7.5
12 18 Walls,Wesley CAR 3.5
13 19 Stevens,Jerramy SEA 3.2
14 38 Riemersma,Jay BUF 1.8
15 14 Conwell,Ernie STL 3.9
16 24 Dilger,Ken TB 2.8
17 11 Crumpler,Alge ATL 4.3
18 20 Becht,Anthony NYJ 3.1
19 8 McMichael,Randy MIA 4.5
20 10 Brady,Kyle JAX 4.3

Last season, the top five picks were all "rewarded" with good performances. The only disappointment in the batch, which is mild, was Marcus Pollard who came off a career year but posted more middle of the pack numbers for starting tight ends.

Fortunately there were no flops in those initial five picks but things quickly declined thereafter with Chamberlain, Jones, Lewis and Johnson all playing well below the acceptable level for even a back-up tight end.

Todd Heap was the nicest surprise of all - he stepped in when Shannon Sharpe left and turned in a great season leading all other tight ends since there were basically no other receivers in Baltimore last year. For the most part, those ends selected as fantasy backups hopefully were only used for bye week fillers because overall they were a big disappointment.

What actually happened last year was the official turning of the tight end soil - old guys like Wycheck, Walls and Lewis were major disappointments while youngsters Heap, Shockey, Miller and McMichael brought on the new wave of ends for the NFL.

What is notable as well is that team which used tight ends more than most did not fare well in the playoffs if in fact they even made the playoffs. Players like Heap, Gonzalez and Miller actually became a de facto receiver in their respective offenses and led their team.

The facts to take away from this is that newer tight ends - first or second year players - actually do make notable contributions at times and there is no escaping the fact that there is a very significant - and commonly accepted - top three tight ends each year and they are not major surprises. Six of the best seven tight ends last season were all picked as starters by virtue of being selected in the first dozen tight ends. If you must take one, the safest play is to take one of the first six.

Quarterback Running Back Wide Receiver Tight End Kicker Defense