There was the Gonzalez, Gates, and Witten debate. Which we all still can’t figure out, but now as those players age and see their play diminish there’s a new breed of talented tight ends. One man on the New Orleans Saints, and the other on the New England Patriots. Tom Brady and Drew Brees are both top three QB’s in the NFL. So these two young guys have some help, but they still come down with big catches and a ton of yards. It’s the little things that are going to separate Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski. It may have been the year of the QB, but there’s a case that this could have been the year of the TE.
Jimmy Graham – 99 rec, 1310 yards, 13.2 AVG, 11 TD
Rob Gronkowski – 90 rec, 1327 yards, 14.7 AVG, 17 TD
Incredible production put up by both these players this season. I hate to say Gronk is a scorer and Graham isn’t because that’s simply not true. Gronkowski just broke the single season touchdown record for TE’s. Eleven touchdowns is outstanding, but Gronk really overshadowed him there. The only thing Graham bests Gronkowski at is receptions. Which isn’t all that big a deal when he outmatched him in yards and touchdowns. Maybe Graham can make up for this in another area.
Graham – Height 6-7, Weight 260 lbs.
Gronkowski – Height 6-6, Weight 265 lbs.
Graham has an inch on Gronk, but Gronk is a much bigger force. I’ve seen instances where Brees could just throw it up to Graham like he’s a wide receiver, and he would come down with it for a TD. He’s very athletic, and has shown he can be on the better redzone threats in the NFL. He did play basketball in college so when you see him dunk on the goal posts, just remember why.
Gronk is also a very athletic guy. He too shows off some basketball skills at times by boxing on the defenders in the redzone. There’s one guy Brady’s looking for in the redzone and that’s Gronk. You can literally throw the ball anywhere near this guy and he’ll come down with it. Gronk looks like the bulkier guy, and shows incredible balance for a big guy. He can also carry a ton of defenders around with him. As you can see…
It’s one thing to have great receiving numbers, but it’s another to be able to stay back and block. I think this is what separates these two from number one and number two. When people would compare Antonio Gates to Jason Witten, the thing that gave Jason Witten the edge in my opinion was his blocking abilities. So with that I’ll have to give Gronkowski the edge here once again. Belichick even praises Gronk’s blocking enthusiasm.
Before writing this I thought it was close, but now it seems Gronkowski is the clear number one. I actually asked a few people around the web on various sports forums and the neutral fan believes Jimmy Graham is the better tight end. The media has talked much about these guys, but has rarely put that stats head to head against each other. So now you make the decision for yourself. Graham, or Gronk? Being me I’ll have to take the complete player in Gronkowski. Once again GRONK SMASH.
By Lead Columnist Joe F