During Friday’s show, former Dolphins tight end Troy Drayton and The Finsiders discussed the tight end position within the division. Here’s a look at the tight ends in the AFC East.
Projected Starter: Charles Clay
Key Reserves: Dion Sims, Michael Egnew, Arthur Lynch
Overview: While many believed that Dustin Keller would have been the star tight end for the Miami Dolphins last season, it was in fact Charles Clay stealing the show from that position in 2013. Keller’s injury in the preseason gave Clay the starting job. He broke out onto the scene with a career year, catching 69 passes with 759 yards receiving and six touchdowns. Behind Clay is 2nd year tight end Dion Sims, who started off hot last year with a game winning touchdown catch against Atlanta. Michael Egnew can play a variety of positions, and this new offense may be better suited to his skill set. 5th round selection Arthur Lynch will also look to make an impact, likely as blocking tight end that can be a quarterback’s safety valve as well.
New England Patriots
Projected Starter: Rob Gronkowski
Key Reserves: Michael Hoomanawanui, D.J. Williams
Overview: The Patriots boast the division’s best tight end in Rob Gronkowski, but Gronk has really been bit by the injury bug recently. After his breakout year in 2011, in which he recorded 90 catches, 1,327 yards receiving, and 17 touchdowns, Gronkowski has missed 14 games the past two seasons. That’s left New England without its biggest receiving target in key situations, with no true replacement to speak of. The Pats are hoping for Gronk to finally stay healthy, as they didn’t make any new additions to the position this offseason. Michael Hoomanawanui stays as a backup and is a capable blocker and average receiving target. The situation gets much murkier after that, with an unknown commodity in D.J. Williams, and fullback James Develin, who’s spent all of his time at tight end during the spring.
New York Jets
Projected Starter: Jeff Cumberland
Key Reserves: Jace Amaro, Zach Sudfeld
Overview: The New York Jets’ struggles in the passing game was not just limited to the wide receiver position, as Gang Green’s tight ends produced average marks at best last season. Starter Jeff Cumberland only caught 26 passes for 398 yards receiving and four touchdowns last season, so they decided to boost the pass catching abilities of that unit through the draft this past spring. New York’s second round pick in Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro was a receiving specialist in college, setting the FBS record for yards receiving (1,352) as a tight end. Zach Sudfeld hasn’t really produced on the field during his career yet, but standing 6’7, 253 lbs., he could be a big target and hard to cover for opposing defenses for whoever starts at quarterback this season for the Jets.
Projected Starter: Scott Chandler
Key Reserves: Tony Moeaki, Lee Smith
Overview: The Bills held serve at the tight end position this past offseason, keeping their core of Scott Chandler and Tony Moeaki. Chandler is the likely starter, as he’s held that position the past two seasons, and has improved from year to year. Last season, Chandler had his best year, racking up 53 catches for 655 yards. Backing up Chandler is Moeaki, who signed with Buffalo late last season. Moeaki has been injury prone since coming into the league in 2010, missing the entirety of the 2012 and 2011 seasons, and only played in two games with the Bills last season with no statistical impact.
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