Typically speaking, sports fans tend to worry about two things – the past and the future. They’ll debate who was the greatest player of all-time, while also spending hours discussing whether or not a rookie is going to be develop into an All-Pro.
Both are fun exercises, things that keep fans engaged and the beer flowing at the local tavern. But they miss out on what is most important – the present.
Forget about yesterday. Never mind tomorrow. Let’s talk about today.
Who are the best players in the NFL right now? Who can help a team win the Super Bowl this season? Who is writing a legacy with each passing week?
Those are the questions the editors at cover32 seek to answer in this series, “Top 10 in 2014.” In the coming weeks, every positions – as well as head coach, general manager and other off-field areas – will be graded, evaluated and ranked.
The series continues with a position that is evolving faster than any other in the NFL – tight end. What was once little more than a third offensive tackle on the field is now a pass-catching weapon that the best attacks in football use to stretch the defense.
Let the debate begin!
10. Jason Witten
Barring injury, the 12th-year tight end will eclipse the 10,000-yard mark in his career during the 2014 season; Witten will become only the 41st player in NFL history to reach this staggering plateau. And the veteran shows no signs of slowing down, coming off a season in which he caught 73 passes for 851 yards and eight touchdowns. When Tony Romo needs a catch, whether it’s a crucial first down or a red zone conversion, he looks for his Mr. Reliable.
9. Antonio Gates
It seemed as though Gates was waning in recent years, seeing his statistics taper off dramatically after his 30th birthday. But a season ago, the then-33-year-old tight end enjoyed a resurgence, catching 77 passes for 842 yards. In large part, the increase in production was due to improved health, as Gates played in all 16 games for the first time since his 1,159-yard campaign in 2009. When on the field, he can still produce.