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The one position that has been talked about less than any other leading up to the 2011 NFL draft is tight end. The grouping has been graded poorly in the days leading up to the draft, lacking in both high-potential talent and substantial depth. But regardless of what's available, some teams are still in need of help at the position. In the 21st installment of the Draft Dose series, PFW takes a look at five teams that might choose to grab a tight end:
The Cardinals struggled immensely in the passing game last season. After finishing the 2010 campaign with just 10 TD passes, 19 interceptions and a 60.5 passer rating, an effective tight end could be just what the Arizona offense needs. Regardless of which Cardinal QB was under center, the TE position was targeted just 44 times and produced only 25 catches for 210 yards without a touchdown. Arizona's young group of signalcallers could benefit from a productive talent in the short passing game, perhaps opening up the field enough to allow WR Larry Fitzgerald to make more plays downfield.
The quarterback position is the top concern in Tennessee after moving on from Vince Young, but a young tight end could be a valuable addition as the Titans attempt to turn the franchise around. Bo Scaife had a mediocre 36-318-4 receiving last season, but the 30-year-old's numbers have declined the past two seasons and he's not considered much of a blocker. Reserve TE Craig Stevens has been a valuable backup but, after recording just 12 catches in three seasons, it's clear that he's best as a blocker. The team might want to bring in someone with the ability to catch and block.
Four different tight ends caught passes in Buffalo last season, but their combined production wasn't much to speak of. David Martin, Jonathan Stupar, Scott Chandler and Shawn Nelson combined for just 23-187-1 a year ago, and no Bills tight end had more than three catches in a game. Buffalo had six players gain 11.4 yards per catch or better a year ago but lacked a true threat over the middle.
QBs Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow threw a combined 25 touchdown passes in '10, but none of them went to the tight end. Daniel Graham started all 16 games at the position, but pulled in a career-low 148 yards on just 18 catches. The 32-year-old was released in March, leaving a major gap in the Broncos' offense. The arrival of head coach John Fox likely will mean the Broncos will air it out a bit less than last season, upping the importance of a tight end who can be both a valuable option in the passing game and provide extra support in the ground game.
Unlike the rest of the teams on the list, the Falcons currently have one of the NFL's premier tight ends on their roster. Gonzalez's statistics have decreased for the past three seasons and, although he still had 70-656-6 receiving, it might not be a bad idea for the organization to begin looking for an eventual replacement for the 35-year-old veteran. TE Justin Peelle filled that role last season but he's 32 years old and is best suited as a No. 2.