I am not going to lie, this is clearly a homer pick and purely based on the potential. After spending his entire career as a backup to Jason Witten in Dallas and seeing flashes of what could be, I expect Eli Manning to turn Marcellus into a top tier guy very quickly. Let’s be honest, the dude made Kevin Boss a few years back and even Jake Ballard in one season name worthy.
9. Jermichael Finley (GB)
Should be much higher on this list especially with a QB in Aaron Rodgers delivering the ball to him but injuries have slowed down his growth from being a top tier TE in the league. 2012 will answer alot of questions on Finley.
8. Brent Celek (PHI) –
In my opinion the most underrated TE in the league and definitely a Michael Vick security blanket. While players like DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin get all the limelight with that receiving core, Celek is one of the more reliable guys in the league.
7. Tony Gonzalez (ATL)
2012 will be the swan song for Tony Gonzalez as he plans on retiring after this season. What’s even more impressive is even playing 15 years in the league, Gonzalez has been beyond productive even in his later years and has only missed 2 games in 15 seasons. First ballot hall of famer no doubt.
6. Antonio Gates (SD)
Reports out of camp are that Antonio Gates is the healthiest he has ever been and that he has looked back to form in training camp. If so then San Diego will be right back in the thick of things in the AFC West and expect the Phillip Rivers bounce back. A return to elite status is in order for Antonio Gates.
5. Vernon Davis (SF)
Even with the on again off again question mark in QB Alex Smith, Vernon Davis has continued to find a way to remain elite.
4. Jason Witten (DAL)
Tony Romo’s BFF remains one of the best pass catching TE’s in the league and a game changer for the dangerous Cowboys offense.
3. Rob Gronkowski (NE)
Record setting year for the Gronk last season with 17 TE. Expect him to remain a huge factor and a favorite target for Tom Brady.
2. Aaron Hernandez (NE)
To me the most dangerous player on the entire Patriots offensive attack. Always used in many formations on the Pats offense including the backfield is the reason I have him ranked just ahead of Rob Gronkowski.
1. Jimmy Graham (NO)
While it is early in his career he is already the most athletic player I have ever seen at his position. And with Drew Brees at the controls, he’s only going to get better.