Tier 1 – Everybody is jumping Jimmy ahead of Gronk this year, but I don’t see why. One of the best play callers in football is taking a year off from Sainthood, and Brady has as much man-love for Gronk as his fantasy owners do. Still, these guys are in a tier all to themselves.
Tier 2 – Wouldn’t mind any of these guys. Honestly if I don’t get Gronk or Jimmy in the first couple rounds, I’m waiting a long time to grab my next TE, but all of these guys would be nice. Sure, Hernandez is 2nd fiddle to Gronk, Gates is hurt often, Finley had a down year in 2011, and Witten’s spleen is lacerated – but all these guys have a chance to be right behind the Tier 1 guys, and for a much more reasonable draft pick. Davis is just a beast, if the Niners know what’s good for them he’ll be their most targeted receiver.
Tier 3 – Davis doesn’t even rank as a starter in most fantasy leagues (consistently outside of the top 12) but I’m going to go ahead and guarantee Top 10 for the troubled USC product. RG3 will find him… Speaking of low ranks, Greg Olsen is getting no love either. He’s another Top 10 lock for me. Bennett is a nincompoop – true, and for that he will likely go undrafted. But I’m putting him in my 3rd tier because I think he could be great. Not good, great. Worth the risk as an end-game TE starter? You bet! Brandon is nothing flashy but all kinds of solid and consistency. Tony Gonzalez has to slow down some time, right? Gresham slips onto this list, he’s easily the 2nd best receiver in Cincinnati and a lot of attention will be paid to A.J. Green.
Tier 4 – Love Cook’s upside. Keller should be better than his QB allows him to look. Daniels could be back to form after healing up last year and taking back the #1 TE spot all to himself in Houston. Celek is still solid, and Boss is sneaking up my lists as a big target taking advantage of all the attention paid to Bowe on the outside and the Charles/Hillis combo in the backfield.
Tier 5 – Winslow is very competitive and Pete Carol could get the most out of him. But Zach Miller is very talented as well, both make this list. The highest upside play on this list may very well be Lance Kendricks who struggled to meat lofty expectations in year 1 – but he’s fallen off the radar in year 2, and all the talent is still there. I like Tamme (Peyton’s go-to TE?) and Dwayne Allen as well (very underrated all around TE), but hopefully you’re not rostering these guys unless you’re in a deep league and hoping for good luck.
New Orleans Saints: Patrick Robinson had some very productive years at Florida State, he also struggled to pick up interceptions in his final seasons. Still, the kid is a playmaker, and he’s not afraid of taking a chance and trusting himself – weird – sounds like every other corner – but this kid can get it done at a high level. Charles Brown is a great pick-up at the end of Round 2 by the Saints, he didn’t flourish in 2009 but a lot of that had to do with some questionable quarterback decisions and interesting playcalling. This kid has a lot of talent, and was a great pick by New Orleans. Jimmy Graham has loads of talent, and should turn into a solid player the longer he plays the game (he was a pretty good college basketball player as well). I can’t believe there were so many solid defensive line prospects in the late rounds of the draft, but plenty of good teams picked up good players there. Al Woods is a late 2nd to early 3rd guy talent-wise but he was snagged in the 4th. Sean Canfield might not rate out as an elite pro, but I think he’ll make a living in the NFL. He’s very accurate, picks up defenses well, and makes very good decisions. A good pick near the end of the draft. B+ Back to the 2010 NFL Draft grading team list.