Each year, NFL Network puts out the top 100 players of the upcoming season. But, instead of analysts, the players cast the votes. Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce continues to make the list. This time, however, he shot up the board to 26 overall. That position is 65 spots higher than last year. Does Kelce deserve that spot? Let’s take a look.
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Kelce Did Make A Leap In 2016
While Kelce played well as the starter in 2015 and 2016, 2017 was a breakout season for him. He set career highs in receptions and yardage, while also improving on his catch percentage. 1125 yards on 85 catches show he rose in 2017.
Stats courtesy of pro-football-reference.com
The stats are proof of Kelce’s rise. The potential was seen early, and he showed his potential last season. His vertical presence shone brightly in the Chiefs passing offense, as his 13.2 yards per catch show. Not only did he become a vertical threat, he also did work after the catch.
653 of his receiving yards came after the catch, good for 7.7 yards after the catch per reception (courtesy of sportingcharts.com). That 7.7 yards was good enough for top 10 in the league, assuming the player had at least 50 receptions.
All of these stats show the rise of Kelce. He leaped to elite status as a tight end.
Where Does He Fit?
While it seems like a stretch to have him so far ahead of guys like Jordan Reed and Greg Olsen, Kelce continues to prove he belongs with the elite. The only tight end who has proven to eclipse him is Rob Gronkowski, who is one of the greatest to play the position. However, Kelce shined brighter than him in 2016, earning first team all pro honors. He definitely deserves the second tight end spot, and he also has earned a spot in the top 30 players.
Where he should be: 25-30 range.
— Jake Schyvinck is a Managing Editor for cover32 and covers the Kansas City Chiefs. You can follow him on Twitter here.