The NFL’s best tight ends

These days, almost every team dreams of drawing up plays catered to a dominating, game-changing tight end.
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Last month Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph told the Twin Cities Pioneer Press that he believed he was the NFL’s best tight end. Too much emphasis is placed on fantasy football and people are blinded by splashy receiving statistics, Rudolph claimed.

Rudolph’s theory holds no water in today’s NFL, where almost every team dreams of drawing up plays catered to a dominating, game-changing tight end. If he is versatile enough to provide blocking help, that’s a bonus. But a receiving juggernaut that forces opposing defensive coordinators to change their schemes is the ideal in the modern NFL. With that sentiment in mind, here are the NFL’s 10 best tight ends. (You might want to look away, Kyle.)

Just missed the cut

Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars: Thomas regressed pretty dramatically when he moved from having Peyton Manning under center in Denver to Blake Bortles in Jacksonville, but a broken hand to start last season and a new system to learn didn’t stack the odds in Thomas’s favor. Still, the back-to-back 12 touchdown seasons he had in Denver before signing with the Jags was no fluke, and as the Jags continue to grow their offense, Thomas should be an active participant.

Next big thing

Ladarius Green, Pittsburgh Steelers: Green has been the next big thing for all four years of his career. And by big, think hulking 6' 6", physical juggernaut oozing with talent big. Overshadowed by ageless wonder Antonio Gates in San Diego, Green has a fresh start in Pittsburgh, which runs one of the most tight end-friendly schemes in the league.