Most Underappreciated TEs of the 2000’s
Tight ends have become a different breed since guys like Gronk and Jimmy Graham came into the league. They are now gigantic athletes that can out jump anyone, and do more receiving than blocking. This has caused the guys that were great dual threats through their whole career to fly under the radar because their stats can stack up against those guys. But that doesn’t make them any less of a great football player, because paving the way for their running backs is just as important as getting in the end zone.
- Less than 3 Pro Bowl Appearances
- 4+ years as a starter
Chris Cooley was a straight up beast. From 700+ yard seasons, to paving the way for Clinton Portis. Chris Cooley even convinced you to pick him on your fantasy team by punching through plywood to catch a pass. He had 2 Pro Bowl appearances. That doesn’t even include the year he had 77 catches for 849 yards and 3 TDs. Cooley was the perfect H-Back type versatile tight end of his era.
Marcedes has had a long and hard career. He has turned from a red zone receiving threat, into mainly a blocking tight end. 14 years and still going is an impressive career in today’s NFL at the TE position. His one Pro Bowl season included 700 yards and 10 TDs in 2010. How long Lewis’ career has lasted in itself lands him on this list. Keep doing your thing Marcedes.
Todd Heap came on the scene hot, with Pro Bowl appearances in years 2 and 3 in the NFL. But then never to be seen again there, he still was a reliable option through his whole career. 5869 yards and 42 career TDs, and he had to deal with some bad QBs before Steve McNair came to Baltimore. He was the perfect pacifier for his bad QBs, and Jamal Lewis didn’t have all of those years of success on his own.
People forget about Pollard because of the illustrious career of Dallas Clark after him. As soon as Peyton Manning came to Indy his career started to take off. In 2001 he racked up 47 catches for 739 yards and 8 TDs and still didn’t find himself in the Pro Bowl. He racked up 3391 yards and 35 TDs in his 10 years as a Colt, which was very impressive in the era he played. He even had a solid year at 33 as a Lion with 516 yards and 3 TDs.
Celek stuck around just long enough to find himself a Super Bowl ring. Mike Vick LOVED throwing to this dude. He had a big 2009 with 76 catches for 971 yards and 8 TDs. Celek was so great because he looks like your typical lead blocking tight end. 6’4″ 261 and he was far from fast. But he knew how to find himself open when his QB needed him, and Celek deserves way more respect for that.
Owen Daniels was the horse that just kept on chugging along. As soon as you forgot about this guy, he found himself in your end zone. The Texans needed someone to help jump start their franchise after a start full of mediocrity, and Daniels brought it. 4617 yards and 29 TDs as a Texan and 2 Pro Bowl nods took a lot of pressure off of Andre Johnson, and gave them a big time red zone target and chain mover. He even pulled off over 1000 yards and 7 TDs in his last two seasons in Baltimore and Denver, and managed to devastate the Pats a couple times in the playoffs.
McMichael was a big time receiving tight end before they could be found all over the place. In 5 years as a Dolphin he had 3096 yards and 24 TDs. You could find this guy open anywhere on the field. He was fast, a good route runner, and he could throw a shoulder to get some DBs off of his back. He was on some really bad Dolphins teams and that’s why a lot of people forget about how successful of a receiver he was.
Miller was a guy that was just always there. He found himself in 2 Pro Bowls, and paved the way for many average running backs and made them look much better than they really were. Miller was always right where Big Ben needed him. 45 career TDs makes you think “oh yeah I remember that guy.” But he’s never at the top of anyones list. He was the perfect dual threat.
Ben Watson has gotten it done forever. He has been successful on so many different teams throughout his career. He came into the league as a speedy receiving TE. But he adapted into being more of a blocking tight end by the end of his career. 15 long years, 4 teams and over 6000 yards. Watson never found himself in a Pro Bowl, but was the definition of consistency.
-Jake Kobierski (TheRealKobe83)