A New Trend in Drafting a Tight End?

New England Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski is big part of the evolution of the tight end position.

By Mark Kaplan- @Da_Tru_Guru

In years past, the best Tight Ends were never drafted in the 1st or 2nd round in drafts. However, that
has changed this year thanks to Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham, but are they worth that high of a

Here are their stats from last year:

Rob Gronkowski- 1 Rush TD, 90 Rec for 1,327 YDs, 17 TD

Jimmy Graham- 99 Rec for 1,310 Yds, 11 TD

The first thing I notice is that when you take out TDs, they have the exact same stats. Touchdowns
vary year to year, receptions and yards are a lot easier to predict/ don’t change a lot from year to year.
Simply put, I could see Gronk putting up similar numbers in receptions and receiving yards (even though
look for a decrease in yards), but it is very hard to assume he will score 18 TDs this year. Let’s look at
average draft position from previous year’s drafts to determine where these guys should be drafted this

When we look back at the previous year’s Average Draft Position for TE’s we clearly see that even the
most dominate TE’s weren’t drafted till the 3rd or 4th round in most leagues. Here are the top 2 Tight
Ends drafted the previous year and what their stats the year before that was. In other words, Antonio
Gates was the number 1 TE taken in drafts last year (2011) but his stats will be from 2010.


Top 2 TEs taken in 2011 (stats from 2010).


Antonio Gates- 50 Rec for 782 Yds, 10 TD in only 10 games


Jason Witten- 94 Rec for 1002 Yds, 9 TDs

(all ADPs were found on myfantasyleague.com and were based on where each player was taken in PPR
leagues on that site)

I chose Witten instead of Jermichael Finley because J- Mike was injured the year before and people
drafted him on hype and not based on his stats. If Gates played in 3 more games in 2010 his stats would
be very similar to Grahams output in terms of fantasy points because Gates would’ve had closely to 300
more Receiving yards and 2 or 3 more TDS. While that is clearly hypothetical, a line of 1000 Receiving
yards and 12 to 13 TDs is almost Identical to what Graham produced last year and that is why he was
as the # 1 overall TE. However, Witten’s stats are great too, but Graham would’ve still out scored
him by about 40 points.


Top 2 TEs taken in 2010 (stats from 2009)

Dallas Clark- 100 Rec for 1106 Yards, 10 TDs


Antonio Gates- 79 Rec for 1157 Yards, 8 TDs


Vernon Davis actually led TEs in touchdowns in 2009 with 13 (had 78 Receptions for 965 Yds), but
was taken 4th amongst TE that year. In 2010, Vern had 56 Rec for 914 yards but only 7 TDs. Again, the
receptions were down a bit but the yards were pretty much the same. The big difference was that he
scored 6 less TDs the next year. Last year, Jimmy Graham had roughly 200 more receiving yards, but only
had 1 more TD than Dallas Clark had in 2009. That’s roughly a 25 point swing. This year, Graham is being
drafted 15-20 spots ahead of where Clark was drafted in 2009. A 25 point swing shouldn’t affect 15 to
20 draft spots. It would’ve been ludicrous to draft a Tight End anywhere in the first 2 round in previous
years, what makes this year any different?

The reason why I used Graham in those comparisons more than the Gronkster is because I think
he will get a lot closer to his numbers last year than Gronk will. The Patriots vastly improved their
Wide receiving core this year by signing Brandon Llyod and Jabar Gaffney, which means less targets/
touchdown opportunities for Gronkowski. Both Graham and Gronkowski put up some huge numbers for
TEs last year, but that doesn’t mean they should be drafted a lot higher (20 to 25 spots) then where the
top TEs were drafted in the past. Even when Antonio Gates was going league domination on the NFL he
still wasn’t taken till the 3rd or 4th round in most drafts. As much as I think it is pure craziness to draft a
TE in the 1st or 2nd round, I love it as an opposing owner because I know that owner is making the wrong
pick. Buck the trend and don’t be that person that drafts a TE in the first or 2 nd round.

2011 ADP for TEs (all ADPs were found on myfantasyleague.com and they were based on where each
player was taken in PPR leagues on that site)

1.Gates, Antonio SDC TE-36.39

2.Finley, Jermichael GBP TE-45.17

3.Witten, Jason DAL TE-45.84

4.Clark, Dallas IND TE-52.35

5.Davis, Vernon SFO TE-57.98

6.Graham, Jimmy NOS TE-73.47

7.Daniels, Owen HOU TE-74.07

8.Lewis, Marcedes JAC TE-93.80

9.Gronkowski, Rob NEP TE-99.32

10.Winslow, Kellen TBB TE-102.77


1.Clark, Dallas IND TE- 35.85

2.Gates, Antonio SDC TE-39.42

3.Finley, Jermichael GBP TE -46.41

4.Davis, Vernon SFO TE-48.26

5.Witten, Jason DAL TE-50.28

6.Celek, Brent PHI TE-62.48

7.Gonzalez, Tony ATL TE-66.24

8.Daniels, Owen HOU TE-84.30

9.Cooley, Chris WAS TE-92.66

10.Winslow, Kellen TBB TE-95.02


1.Witten, Jason DAL TE-37.17

2.Gates, Antonio SDC TE-45.82

3.Gonzalez, Tony ATL TE-48.73

4.Clark, Dallas IND TE-53.84

5.Olsen, Greg CHI TE-68.85

6.Cooley, Chris WAS TE- 76.11

7.Daniels, Owen HOU TE-81.87

8.Winslow, Kellen TBB TE-87.28

9.Carlson, John SEA TE-101.83

10.Shockey, Jeremy NOS TE-112.96

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