On Now
Coming Up
  • There are no Events to display in this category.



Roster Review: Tight Ends

Posted Feb 17, 2012

With free agency and the NFL Draft fast approaching, Redskins.com's Brian Tinsman breaks down the Redskins' roster position by position. Up next: tight ends.

With free agency and the NFL Draft fast approaching, Redskins.com's Brian Tinsman breaks down the Redskins' roster position by position. Up next: tight ends.

The tight end position is changing in the NFL. Classic blocking tight ends have been replaced by over-sized wide receivers who create defensive mismatches with size and speed. Receiving tight ends are no longer a luxury, but a fixture in any team’s offensive attack.

The Redskins have had quality production from the tight end position in the last decade, leaning heavily on starter Chris Cooley. With the emergence of Fred Davis last year, the team started two tight ends on offense in five games, going with three tight ends once.

Cooley was slowed by a knee injury that lingered into 2011 training camp. He was unable to practice at full speed through preseason, but decided – with the coaching staff – against going on the physically unable to perform list.

Cooley started the first five weeks of the season, but played sparingly. In Week 5 against Philadelphia, a jarring hit after a reception shattered his index finger.

The severity of his hand injury combined with the lingering knee problems forced the team to put him on the season-ending injured reserve list.

Cooley finished with a career-low eight receptions for 65 yards, and was held without a touchdown for the first time in his career.

Davis brought stability to the position in Cooley’s absence, putting up career highs in starts (12), receptions (59) and yards (796). He also grabbed three touchdowns.

He was leading the team in each of those categories before he was suspended in Week 13 for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, ending his season.

Had Davis finished the season on his current pace, he would been only the sixth tight end in NFL history to have at least 78 receptions, 1,060 yards and a 13.0 yards-per-catch average.

The Redskins also turned to reserves Logan Paulsen, Richard Quinn and Rob Myers for the duration of the season.

Paulsen has been used primarily as a blocking tight end, but he developed a role in the passing game in 2011. In his second NFL season, he appeared in all 16 games, starting six, and registered 11 catches for 138 yards.

Quinn and Myers both joined the Redskins' roster in the final weeks. (Myers had a previous stint on the team's practice squad.) Both appeared in one game.


A year ago, the tight end position was thought to have great depth. Now, surprisingly, there are some question marks.

Is Cooley healthy? He says he is, and given his history with the organization, he deserves the opportunity to prove it.

Davis is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. He was the among the Redskins' top playmakers last season before his disappointing suspension.

The Redskins will likely make an effort to re-sign Davis for at least one more year, and they may have to apply the franchise tag to start. He could draw substantial interest on the open market.

Paulsen and Quinn are regarded as blocking tight ends, although Paulsen developed as sort of a secret weapon as a receiver, catching a pass here and there against unsuspecting defenses.

Myers is a young player to keep an eye on this offseason. A journeyman to this point of his NFL career, he has good height and frame at 6-4 and 239 pounds to be a solid pass-catching tight end.

Depending on Cooley's health and what happens with Davis in free agency, the Redskins may need to address the tight end position in free agency or the draft. Keep an eye on tall, athletic tight ends as coaches try to create more mismatches in the passing game.

Three NFL Tight Ends Eligible for Free Agency

As of February 17, 2012; names listed are in no particular order

-- Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers: Finley is the best of a weak free agent class at tight end, but it would be surprising if he left Green Bay. He has developed into a quality red zone target in the Packer’s aerial attack, snagging eight touchdowns last season. He put up nearly identical numbers to Fred Davis in terms of receptions and yards, but with four more games.

-- John Carlson, Seattle Seahawks: In his third NFL season, Carlson posted career lows in all statistical receiving categories, and could be looking for a new start in 2012. At 6-5, 251 pounds, he would represent an upgrade in terms of size, and he has found success in the red zone with seven touchdowns in 2010.

-- Jeremy Shockey, Carolina Panthers: Shockey is a familiar face in the NFC East after playing his first six seasons with the New York Giants. At age 31, he’s no longer the offensive playmaker that he was early in his career, but his size (6-5, 251 pounds) and veteran presence could help stabilize an offense.

Three Tight Ends Available In NFL Draft

As of February 17, 2012; names listed are in no particular order

-- Coby Fleener, Stanford: One of Andrew Luck’s top targets the last three years, Fleener stands at 6-6 and 240 pounds. He caught a career-best 34 passes for 667 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. Scouts project him as a potential elite pass-catcher because he has good speed and an ability to stretch the field.

-- Orson Charles, Georgia: Coming out as an underclassman, Charles has the look of a big wide receiver at 6-3 and 240 pounds. He posted career highs last year at Georgia with 45 receptions for 574 yards and five touchdowns. Scouts say he should be an effective presence in an NFL passing game but he needs improvement as a route-runner.

-- Ladarius Green, Louisiana-Lafayette: Green is a prospect the Redskins coached at the Senior Bowl. He is lean at 6-6 and 230 pounds and caught 51 passes for 606 yards and eight touchdowns last year. Scouts say he is still developing as a receiver – since he played at a smaller school – and don’t expect him to excel as a blocker given his frame.



widget powered by zoomph