By Joe Landers
Click Here if you missed the Introduction to the Series
The most common peak season for Tight Ends is Year 4. Years 2 and 3 aren’t too far off from Year 4. The drop from Year 4 to Years 5 and beyond is precipitous.
The norm for Tight Ends is Year 4. Here are some of the most recognizable names that peaked in Year 4.
The Norm – TEs Who Peaked in Year Four of Their Career
|Jimmy Graham||Vernon Davis|
|Dustin Keller||Kellen Winslow|
|Chris Cooley||Jermichael Finley|
|Jeremy Shockey||Jerramy Stevens|
|Clay Harbor||Kellen Davis|
These ten tight ends peaked as rookies. Their on-field productivity never again matched what they accomplished in their rookie seasons.
Rookie Peaks – TEs Who Peaked in Year One of Their Career
|Matt Spaeth||Tony Moeaki|
|Michael Hoomanawanui||Stephen Spach|
|Stephen Alexander||Daniel Coats|
|Dominique Byrd||Doug Jolley|
|Joe Klopfenstein||Tim Euhus|
These ten tight ends represent another set of outliers – those who had their peak season after Year 6 of their career.
Late-Peakers – TEs Who Peaked After Year 5 of Their Career
|Ben Watson (12)||Delanie Walker (10)|
|Greg Olsen (9)||Jason Witten (8)|
|Heath Miller (8)||Owen Daniels (7)|
|Martellus Bennett (7)||Dallas Clark (7)|
|Alge Crumpler (6)||Scott Chandler (6)|
These ten big-name tight ends seem to have their best season not only behind them, but they achieved it in the first three years. The prediction isn’t that they’re in terminal decline, but based on the odds and how prolific their peak season was (in parentheses), it’s highly unlikely that their career year is ahead.
Big Names Who Seem to Have Peaked in First Four Years
|Antonio Gates (2)||Jermaine Gresham (2)|
|John Carlson (2)||Bubba Franks (3)|
|Brandon Pettigrew (3)||Anthony Fasano (3)|
|Brent Celek (3)||Jacob Tamme (3)|
|Randy McMichael (3)||Daniel Graham (3)|
These ten players didn’t qualify for the study as they’re in the 2011 or later classes. However, they do have three years of productivity. Based on their career trajectory thus far, it appears their best season (in parentheses) might be in the rearview mirror.
Current Players Who Seem to Have Peaked in First Three Years
|Charles Clay (3)||Jordan Cameron (3)|
|Tyler Eifert (3)||Dwayne Allen (3)|
|Coby Fleener (3)||Julius Thomas (3)|
|Jordan Reed (3)||Timothy Wright (1)|
|Kyle Rudolph (2)||Lance Kendricks (2)|
Based on career trajectories, these ten tight ends seem as though their best season is ahead of them in the next 1-3 years.
Peak Coming 1-3 Years
|Allen Reisner||Crockett Gilmore|
|Austin Seferian-Jenkins||Virgil Green|
|Mychal Rivera||LaDarius Green|
|Niles Paul||Richard Rodgers|
|Rhett Ellison||Troy Niklas|
Next Up – Defensive Tackles