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Jordan Reed and the Best Receiving Tight Ends of 2015

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How did Jordan Reed stack up against the best tight ends in the league last season and how does he compare to some of the game's all-time greats?

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Redskins recently rewarded Jordan Reed's stellar play with a new $46.75 million contract extension ($9.35 million average per year) that includes $14 million in guaranteed money.  Those three figures represent the third, third and fifth highest totals among all tight ends in the NFL respectively.

It's no secret that Reed is a special talent and that he is one of the best at his position in the entire league.  But I wanted to take a deeper look to find out exactly how he stacks up against the best receiving tight ends in the NFL, and not so much to determine if he's worth the contract or not, but rather to find out just how good this guy really is.

This is not my first rodeo studying Reed either.  Some of you may recall that I discovered that his rookie season was one of the best ever by a first-year tight end from an efficiency standpoint.  I've also tracked his progress weekly in installments of the Snap Judgments series.

The Cream of the 2015 TE Crop

In this instance, I felt that the best way to determine if Reed was really one of the best was to compare him to the best.  So with that thought in mind, I decided to look at his statistics in multiple categories and levels of efficiency lined up against 11 of the other top performers at the tight end position in the league last year.

That group includes the following players: Gary Barnidge, Tyler Eifert, Zach Ertz, Antonio Gates, Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, Greg Olsen, Delanie Walker, Ben Watson and Jason Witten.  Almost every one of them finished in the top ten last year in targets, receptions, receiving yards and either touchdowns or first downs.  Eifert and Graham were the only two that did not completely meet that criteria, but both of them ranked in the top ten of nearly every advanced efficiency statistic.

These 12 (including Reed) were also the only ones in last year's 44/44 club (44 receptions and 44 yards per game).  That's really just a random sorting method that I created; but hey, it gets them all nicely together in this Pro Football Reference search.

Process this Process

I compared Reed's 2015 targets, receptions, receiving yards, receiving first downs, receiving touchdowns, Football Perspective adjusted catch yards (ACY), Pro Football Reference receiving expected points added (EPA), Football Outsiders defense-adjusted receiving yards above replacement (DYAR) and Pro Football Focus receiving grade (PFF Rec) to the same numbers for each of the other tight ends in our group.

Adjusted catch yards count receptions as five yards and touchdowns as 20 yards to give us one more all encompassing receiving yardage total.  The PFR EPA numbers that I used do not include plays in which a turnover occurred.  Turnovers will be accounted for in another regard later.

I wanted to leave no stone unturned, so I then went as far down the statistical rabbit hole as I could for each of the nine aforementioned metrics. I was able to dig deeper by looking at each of those stats from seven different levels of efficiency: raw totals, market share, per game, per reception, per target, per snap and per route run.

Please note that all of the following group tables are sorted by the players' average rankings in the listed statistics (far left columns).  All statistics in these tables are of the receiving variety (i.e. they do not include any rushing, passing, defensive or special teams production).

Unless otherwise noted, players were required to have 100 career receptions to be included in any career stats discussions.  Redskins players needed more than 25 receptions in 2015 to be included in any Washington player rankings from last year.

Raw Totals

2015 TE Totals Tgt Rec Yds FD TD ACY EPA DYAR PFF Rec Avg Rk
Rob Gronkowski 120 72 1176 52 11 1756 73.1 235 19.5 2.4
Delanie Walker 133 94 1088 52 6 1678 66.1 174 12.3 3.1
Jordan Reed 114 87 952 54 11 1607 70.7 206 13.8 3.2
Gary Barnidge 125 79 1043 52 9 1618 67.3 218 12.0 3.3
Greg Olsen 124 77 1104 52 7 1629 59.1 132 18.9 3.7
Ben Watson 110 74 825 42 6 1315 62.1 87 5.7 7.3
Tyler Eifert 74 52 615 38 13 1135 57.4 247 10.3 7.4
Travis Kelce 103 72 875 40 5 1335 48.5 110 5.4 7.9
Zach Ertz 112 75 853 39 2 1268 37.2 56 6.0 8.3
Jason Witten 104 77 713 36 3 1158 30.0 36 -1.4 9.6
Antonio Gates 85 56 630 33 5 1010 30.9 113 7.1 9.6
Jimmy Graham 74 48 605 29 2 885 34.7 110 7.2 10.6

2015 TE Totals Tgt Rec Yds FD TD ACY EPA DYAR PFF Rec Avg Rk
Jordan Reed Values 114 87 952 54 11 1607 70.7 206 13.8 3.2
Jordan Reed Ranks 5th 2nd 5th 1st t-2nd 5th 2nd 4th 3rd 3rd

Despite missing two games last year, Reed finished in the top five of every raw total or counting statistic, including his league-high 54 first downs by a tight end.  The only players in our group that outdid him in any of these stats were Rob Gronkowski, Delanie Walker, Tyler Eifert and Gary Barnidge.

Gronkowski and Walker were the only two that had a higher average ranking across the entire category than Reed.  Gronkowski was the only player to best him in the majority of these stats (6 to 3 in favor of Gronk).

Reed led the Redskins in all nine of these statistics last season.  His 2015 totals were also good enough to set single-season franchise records by a tight end in receptions, yards, adjusted catch yards, defense-adjusted yards above replacement and PFF receiving grade. His 114 targets and 11 receiving touchdowns both rank second in team history among tight ends.

Market Share

The following market share numbers only reflect the games in which the tight ends in this group played in.

2015 TE Market Shares Tgt MS Rec MS Yds MS FD MS TD MS ACY MS Avg Rk
Delanie Walker 26.2% 29.3% 29.9% 28.7% 26.1% 29.4% 2.0
Jordan Reed 23.8% 25.6% 24.5% 29.5% 39.3% 26.2% 3.2
Greg Olsen 25.1% 25.7% 28.5% 26.4% 20.0% 26.8% 3.3
Gary Barnidge 20.8% 21.3% 25.1% 27.1% 45.0% 25.2% 4.5
Travis Kelce 22.2% 23.2% 25.1% 25.8% 25.0% 24.5% 5.3
Rob Gronkowski 21.1% 19.3% 26.3% 24.6% 33.3% 25.1% 5.5
Jimmy Graham 23.6% 21.8% 22.2% 24.0% 11.1% 21.2% 7.0
Tyler Eifert 17.5% 18.5% 17.7% 23.6% 48.1% 20.9% 8.3
Jason Witten 20.0% 23.1% 19.4% 20.6% 18.8% 20.4% 8.7
Antonio Gates 18.5% 18.7% 19.6% 21.2% 27.8% 19.9% 9.0
Zach Ertz 18.9% 19.4% 20.6% 21.2% 9.5% 19.5% 9.5
Ben Watson 16.6% 16.1% 15.9% 17.0% 18.8% 16.1% 11.5

2015 TE Market Shares Tgt MS Rec MS Yds MS FD MS TD MS ACY MS Avg Rk
Jordan Reed Values 23.8% 25.6% 24.5% 29.5% 39.3% 26.2% 3.2
Jordan Reed Ranks 3rd 3rd 6th 1st 3rd 3rd 2nd

Reed landed in the top six of every market share metric and was behind only Delanie Walker in average ranking.  Walker and Greg Olsen beat him out in four of the six MS stats.  No other tight end topped him in more than two of these numbers.

And consider this, who did the teams of these other players really have to throw to?  Once you get past A.J. Green, Jeremy Maclin, Julian Edelman, Brandin Cooks and 17 combined games between Dez Bryant and Keenan Allen the pickings get pretty slim.  That's basically five player seasons of top-end wide receiver talent between these 11 other teams.

The 2015 Redskins, on the other hand, actually had other good players in their passing attack (Jackson, Garcon and Crowder), and yet they still threw it to Jordan Reed more often than most of the other teams did to their tight ends.  He also dominated his team's receiving work to a greater degree than these elite peers did.  That is saying something.

Per Game

2015 TE Per Game Tgt/G Rec/G Yds/G FD/G TD/G ACY/G EPA/G DYAR/G PFF Rec/G Avg Rk
Jordan Reed 8.1 6.2 68.0 3.9 0.8 114.8 5.0 14.7 1.0 2.2
Rob Gronkowski 8.0 4.8 78.4 3.5 0.7 117.1 4.9 15.7 1.3 2.6
Delanie Walker 8.9 6.3 72.5 3.5 0.4 111.9 4.4 11.6 0.8 3.2
Gary Barnidge 7.8 4.9 65.2 3.3 0.6 101.1 4.2 13.6 0.8 4.7
Greg Olsen 7.8 4.8 69.0 3.3 0.4 101.8 3.7 8.3 1.2 5.0
Antonio Gates 7.7 5.1 57.3 3.0 0.5 91.8 2.8 10.3 0.6 6.2
Tyler Eifert 5.7 4.0 47.3 2.9 1.0 87.3 4.4 19.0 0.8 6.6
Zach Ertz 7.5 5.0 56.9 2.6 0.1 84.5 2.5 3.7 0.4 8.8
Ben Watson 6.9 4.6 51.6 2.6 0.4 82.2 3.9 5.4 0.4 8.9
Jimmy Graham 6.7 4.4 55.0 2.6 0.2 80.5 3.2 10.0 0.7 8.9
Travis Kelce 6.4 4.5 54.7 2.5 0.3 83.4 3.0 6.9 0.3 9.9
Jason Witten 6.5 4.8 44.6 2.3 0.2 72.4 1.9 2.3 -0.1 10.9

2015 TE Per Game Tgt/G Rec/G Yds/G FD/G TD/G ACY/G EPA/G DYAR/G PFF Rec/G Avg Rk
Jordan Reed Values 8.1 6.2 68.0 3.9 0.8 114.8 5.0 14.7 1.0 2.2
Jordan Reed Ranks 2nd 2nd 4th 1st 2nd 2nd 1st 3rd 3rd 1st

The deeper we go, the better Reed looks.  This time his top-four ranking in each instance propelled him to the highest average ranking in the group.  Gronkowski was the only one to beat him in more than three of the nine stats.

And to the surprise of no one Reed also led the 2015 Redskins in each metric yet again.

However, I did actually discover something that was quite surprising when I went to look at Reed's career per game numbers.  His per game efficiency hasn't just been good up until this point in his career, it's been historically great.

Jordan Reed's career average of 0.41 touchdowns per game ranks eighth all time among tight ends. And six of the seven players ahead of him on this list started in 69% or more of their games, while Reed has only started in 41% of the games that he's played in.  He also ranks fourth all time in receiving yards per game (just behind Gronkowski, Graham and Winslow).

What's even more astounding is that Jordan Reed is the all-time leader in receptions per game among tight ends.

All Time Rank Tight End Career Rec/G
1st Jordan Reed 5.35
2nd Kellen Winslow Sr. 4.96
3rd Jason Witten 4.93
4th Tony Gonzalez 4.91
5th Jimmy Graham 4.88
6th Rob Gronkowski 4.75
7th Aaron Hernandez 4.61
8th Kellen Winslow Jr. 4.47
9th Antonio Gates 4.44
10th Travis Kelce 4.21

And just look at how the players ranked between second and fifth are separated by less than 0.1 receptions per game and how Reed is 0.4 (nearly five times the difference between 2nd and 5th place) ahead of second-ranked Kellen Winslow.  That is some truly mind-blowing stuff, and I am not one for hyperbole either.

What might be even more amazing is that just telling you that probably doesn't even do Jordan Reed justice.  That's because Reed ranks 14th all time in career receptions per game across all positions. And for the most part, he is only surpassed in this department by modern-day greats like Marvin Harrison, Calvin Johnson, Antonio Brown and Larry Fitzgerald.

Per Reception

From here on out all non-yardage related statistics (first downs, touchdowns, EPA and PFF receiving grade) will be expressed as a percentage of each player's raw total for the given category (receptions in this case).   So for example, Rob Gronkowski scored a touchdown on 15.3% of his receptions and on average added more than one point over expectation for his team on all of his receptions.

2015 TE Per Rec Yds/Rec FD % TD % ACY/Rec EPA % DYAR/Rec PFF Rec % Avg Rk
Rob Gronkowski 16.3 72.2% 15.3% 24.4 101.5% 3.3 27.1% 1.6
Tyler Eifert 11.8 73.1% 25.0% 21.8 110.3% 4.8 19.8% 2.1
Gary Barnidge 13.2 65.8% 11.4% 20.5 85.2% 2.8 15.2% 3.7
Greg Olsen 14.3 67.5% 9.1% 21.2 76.7% 1.7 24.5% 4.1
Jordan Reed 10.9 62.1% 12.6% 18.5 81.2% 2.4 15.9% 5.4
Jimmy Graham 12.6 60.4% 4.2% 18.4 72.3% 2.3 15.0% 6.4
Antonio Gates 11.3 58.9% 8.9% 18.0 55.2% 2.0 12.7% 7.7
Travis Kelce 12.2 55.6% 6.9% 18.5 67.3% 1.5 7.5% 8.0
Delanie Walker 11.6 55.3% 6.4% 17.9 70.3% 1.9 13.1% 8.1
Ben Watson 11.1 56.8% 8.1% 17.8 83.9% 1.2 7.7% 8.4
Zach Ertz 11.4 52.0% 2.7% 16.9 49.5% 0.7 8.0% 10.4
Jason Witten 9.3 46.8% 3.9% 15.0 39.0% 0.5 -1.8% 11.9

2015 TE Per Rec Yds/Rec FD % TD % ACY/Rec EPA % DYAR/Rec PFF Rec % Avg Rk
Jordan Reed Values 10.94 0.62 12.6% 18.47 81.2% 2.37 15.9% 5.4
Jordan Reed Ranks 11th 5th 3rd 6th 5th 4th 4th 5th

Reed falls back to earth a bit in this efficiency category.  His 11th place standing in yards per reception average was his worst ranking in this study and he did not come in first or second in any of the seven statistics.  His fifth place average ranking here is the lowest that you will see.

Per Target

Per target numbers are the most closely related group of stats to quarterback efficiency metrics like QB rating and adjusted yards per attempt, so this is the best time to look at them and to see how quarterbacks did last year when throwing to these tight ends.  It also gives us a chance to finally include turnovers in the equation.

The replacing of DYAR with DVOA in this category follows that same principle, because DYAR is an aggregate total of value added over replacement and DVOA is a measure of value added over average on a per play basis.

2015 TE Per Target Catch % Yds/Tgt FD % TD % ACY/Tgt QB Rating AY/A EPA % DVOA PFF Rec % Avg Rk
Tyler Eifert 70.3% 8.3 51.4% 17.6% 15.3 134.8 11.8 77.5% 42.0% 13.9% 2.0
Jordan Reed 76.3% 8.4 47.4% 9.6% 14.1 129.0 9.9 62.0% 20.1% 12.1% 2.6
Rob Gronkowski 60.0% 9.8 43.3% 9.2% 14.6 120.0 11.3 60.9% 21.0% 16.3% 3.2
Greg Olsen 62.1% 8.9 41.9% 5.6% 13.1 106.4 9.7 47.6% 8.9% 15.2% 5.4
Gary Barnidge 63.2% 8.3 41.6% 7.2% 12.9 103.5 8.7 53.8% 19.7% 9.6% 5.7
Travis Kelce 69.9% 8.5 38.8% 4.9% 13.0 107.9 9.0 47.0% 9.3% 5.2% 6.4
Delanie Walker 70.7% 8.2 39.1% 4.5% 12.6 100.7 8.1 49.7% 13.0% 9.2% 6.9
Jimmy Graham 64.9% 8.2 39.2% 2.7% 12.0 93.6 8.1 46.9% 14.8% 9.7% 7.8
Antonio Gates 65.9% 7.4 38.8% 5.9% 11.9 102.6 8.1 36.4% 13.1% 8.4% 8.3
Ben Watson 67.3% 7.5 38.2% 5.5% 12.0 100.0 7.8 56.4% 4.9% 5.2% 8.6
Zach Ertz 67.0% 7.6 34.8% 1.8% 11.3 80.7 6.4 33.2% 0.2% 5.4% 10.4
Jason Witten 74.0% 6.9 34.6% 2.9% 11.1 81.9 5.3 28.9% -1.9% -1.3% 10.7

2015 TE Per Target Catch % Yds/Tgt FD % TD % ACY/Tgt QB Rating AY/A EPA % DVOA PFF Rec % Avg Rk
Jordan Reed Values 76.3% 8.4 47.4% 9.6% 14.1 129.0 9.9 62.0% 0.20 12.1% 2.6
Jordan Reed Ranks 1st 4th 2nd 2nd 3rd 2nd 3rd 2nd 3rd 4th 2nd

Reed found himself in the top four of every category, but that was not enough to defeat Tyler Eifert.  Eifert absolutely dominated here by putting up the best numbers in seven of the ten statistics.  Eifert, or "Touchdown Tyler", as I may start calling him, produced these results on the strength of his otherworldly touchdown scoring efficiency last year.

Our hometown tight end was no slouch in the red zone either.  Reed led the NFL in red zone receptions (17) and receiving yards (139) and scored the third most touchdowns in the red area (10).

Per target efficiency isn't just about scoring touchdowns though; it's about what you do with each opportunity that your quarterback gives you.  The first component of that equation is simply catching the football, and nobody did that better than Reed last season.

Reed's 76.3% catch percentage led all non-running backs last year (minimum 60 targets), and was the third highest such single-season percentage in Redskins' franchise history (minimum 45 targets).  You want to guess who is sitting at one and two on that list?  That's right; Jordan Reed has the three best catch percentage seasons by a non-RB in team history.

However, it doesn't stop there.  As Warren Sharp recently pointed out in his excellent piece on J-Reed and the new trend of shrewd GMs investing in big-time tight ends, Reed leads all non-RBs in catch percentage within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage since 2006.

What he missed is that it's not just within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage or since 2006.  It's from any point on the field and since targets started to be recorded in 1992.  Jordan Reed has the highest career catch percentage (76.5%) among non-running backs in recorded NFL history!!!! Oh, and by the way, Jamison Crowder is currently sitting at third on that list.  Just thought you might like to know that too.

Per Snap

2015 TE Per Snap Tgt % Rec % Yds/Snap FD % TD % ACY/Snap EPA % DYAR/Snap PFF Rec % Avg Rk
Jordan Reed 16.2% 12.4% 1.36 7.7% 1.57% 2.29 10.06% 0.29 1.97% 1.9
Delanie Walker 19.4% 13.7% 1.59 7.6% 0.87% 2.45 9.63% 0.25 1.79% 2.2
Antonio Gates 17.1% 11.3% 1.27 6.6% 1.01% 2.03 6.22% 0.23 1.43% 4.0
Rob Gronkowski 12.8% 7.7% 1.26 5.5% 1.17% 1.87 7.80% 0.25 2.08% 4.2
Gary Barnidge 13.3% 8.4% 1.11 5.5% 0.96% 1.72 7.17% 0.23 1.28% 5.3
Tyler Eifert 9.9% 6.9% 0.82 5.1% 1.73% 1.51 7.65% 0.33 1.37% 7.0
Jimmy Graham 13.0% 8.4% 1.06 5.1% 0.35% 1.56 6.10% 0.19 1.27% 7.1
Zach Ertz 14.2% 9.5% 1.08 4.9% 0.25% 1.61 4.71% 0.07 0.76% 7.9
Greg Olsen 11.7% 7.3% 1.04 4.9% 0.66% 1.54 5.59% 0.12 1.79% 8.0
Travis Kelce 11.2% 7.8% 0.95 4.3% 0.54% 1.45 5.25% 0.12 0.59% 9.3
Ben Watson 11.2% 7.5% 0.84 4.3% 0.61% 1.34 6.31% 0.09 0.58% 9.6
Jason Witten 10.2% 7.5% 0.70 3.5% 0.29% 1.14 2.94% 0.04 -0.14% 11.4

2015 TE Per Snap Tgt % Rec % Yds/Snap FD % TD % ACY/Snap EPA % DYAR/Snap PFF Rec % Avg Rk
Jordan Reed Values 16.2% 12.4% 1.36 7.7% 1.6% 2.29 10.1% 0.29 2.0% 1.9
Jordan Reed Ranks 3rd 2nd 2nd 1st 2nd 2nd 1st 2nd 2nd 1st

Everything is coming up roses for Reed.  Top three rankings in every metric here help him to another number one ranking in a category.  Only Walker was able to outdo him in more than two of these stats (4 of 9).

Per Route Run

2015 TE Per Route Tgt % Rec % Yds/RR FD % TD % ACY/RR EPA % DYAR/RR PFF Rec % Avg Rk
Jordan Reed 29.4% 22.4% 2.45 13.9% 2.8% 4.14 18.2% 0.53 3.6% 1.4
Delanie Walker 27.4% 19.4% 2.24 10.7% 1.2% 3.46 13.6% 0.36 2.5% 3.7
Rob Gronkowski 23.6% 14.2% 2.31 10.2% 2.2% 3.46 14.4% 0.46 3.8% 4.1
Greg Olsen 25.2% 15.7% 2.24 10.6% 1.4% 3.31 12.0% 0.27 3.8% 4.3
Tyler Eifert 20.7% 14.5% 1.72 10.6% 3.6% 3.17 16.0% 0.69 2.9% 5.0
Antonio Gates 24.2% 16.0% 1.79 9.4% 1.4% 2.88 8.8% 0.32 2.0% 6.2
Gary Barnidge 21.2% 13.4% 1.76 8.8% 1.5% 2.74 11.4% 0.37 2.0% 7.6
Jimmy Graham 22.0% 14.2% 1.80 8.6% 0.6% 2.63 10.3% 0.33 2.1% 7.9
Travis Kelce 21.5% 15.0% 1.83 8.4% 1.0% 2.79 10.1% 0.23 1.1% 8.0
Zach Ertz 23.4% 15.7% 1.78 8.1% 0.4% 2.65 7.8% 0.12 1.3% 8.9
Ben Watson 21.2% 14.3% 1.59 8.1% 1.2% 2.53 12.0% 0.17 1.1% 9.6
Jason Witten 20.3% 15.0% 1.39 7.0% 0.6% 2.26 5.9% 0.07 -0.3% 11.3

2015 TE Per Route Tgt % Rec % Yds/RR FD % TD % ACY/RR EPA % DYAR/RR PFF Rec % Avg Rk
Jordan Reed Values 29.4% 22.4% 2.45 13.9% 2.8% 4.14 18.2% 0.53 3.6% 1.4
Jordan Reed Ranks 1st 1st 1st 1st 2nd 1st 1st 2nd 3rd 1st

Reed's really rolling, right?  Coming in first and second nearly across the board led to yet another top spot for Washington's most lethal weapon.  Gronkowski, Eifert and Olsen only beat him in one stat a piece this time.

You didn't think that was it though, did you?  You know who one of the greatest tight ends of all time on a per-route basis is?  You know.  You all know exactly who it is.  That's right.  Now, say his name.

Jordan Reed.

You're goddamn right.

I looked at dozens of the top tight ends since 2007 (PFF route data starts that year), and the only TE that I could find with a higher career yards per route run average than Jordan Reed's 2.22 yard per route clip was Rob Gronkowski at 2.39.  Jimmy Graham (2.05) and Travis Kelce (2.03) are the only other tight ends that have a career average over two yards per route run.  I also looked at 50 of the game's top wide receivers since '07, and only nine of them had a better career average than Reed.

What about receptions though?  You know, that thing that Reed holds all-time records in.  Well, hold onto your butts, because it's more of the same.  Jordan Reed has caught a pass on 21.1% of his routes, which is by far the highest career percentage among tight ends in recorded history that I was able to find.  The next closest was Jimmy Graham at 16.6% (mind that gap).

Oh, and remember those 50 receivers from a second ago?  None of them can match Reed either. Only four of those wideouts (Wes Welker, Antonio Brown, Percy Harvin and Jarvis Landry) had a reception per route percentage higher than 17.6%.  None of them topped 19.4%.

I mean, tell me if I'm crazy or if I calculated something wrong here, guys; because these numbers are flat-out insane.

Final Results

Unless you skipped all the way down to this part - and I know you lazy fans are out there - then you already pretty much know who the best receiving tight end in the NFL was last year.

Jordan Reed had an average ranking in the top three of all but one of the seven levels of receiving efficiency that we looked at.  He was in the top five of every one of them.

He won a group-high three categories; Gronkowski was the only other tight end to come out on top in more than one of them (Eifert and Walker were first in one each).  Reed, however, had a higher average ranking than Eifert, Walker and Gronkowski in five of the seven categories.

Over those seven categories we looked at a total of 59 individual statistics (not including average rankings).  Reed ranked higher than his next two closest competitors, Gronkowski and Eifert, in 57.6% and 61% of those stats respectively.  He also had the highest average ranking across all 59 metrics (2.75).

Tight End Stat Win % vs. Reed
Rob Gronkowski 42.4%
Tyler Eifert 39.0%
Greg Olsen 28.8%
Delanie Walker 27.1%
Gary Barnidge 18.6%
Travis Kelce 6.8%
Ben Watson 3.4%
Antonio Gates 3.4%
Zach Ertz 1.7%
Jimmy Graham 1.7%
Jason Witten 0.0%

Some of these guys don't even deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Reed.  Just look at old man Witten and his blutarsky-esque 0.0 winning percentage versus Reed.

Jordan Reed was simply the best receiving tight end in the NFL last season.  And if he can find a way to stay healthy then he might not just be remembered as the best tight end of 2015; he might go down as one of the best tight ends in NFL history.

But Will He Hold up Long Enough?

When you compare Reed to some of the game's greatest tight ends of all time (I looked at about 30 of them in this case) and project their career trajectories on to his next six seasons you realize that the notion of him ending up as one of the greatest tight ends ever isn't really that far-fetched.  We're talking career top ten all time numbers at the position for him here.

But will be around long enough to reach or to even sniff those lofty heights?  That's the million dollar question, or rather the $47 million question.  I'm not saying he definitely will, but consider a few points before jumping to the conclusion that he won't because of his injury-riddled past.

According to Rotoworld's depth charts, at his current age of 25.85, Reed is projected to be the seventh youngest starting tight end in the NFL this season.  The fifth and sixth youngest TEs, Zach Ertz and "touchdown" Tyler Eifert, are only two and four months younger than Reed respectively.

Nine of the projected starters are currently over the age of 30, and five of those nine made our 2015 list (Barnidge, Gates, Olsen, Walker and Witten).  Jimmy Graham is entering his age-30 season this year.  And even if you removed all of the guys that are on the wrong side of 30 and replaced them with players that just turned 25-years old, Reed would still currently be younger than the new league average age of 26-years old.

All 30-plus of the tight ends in the aforementioned greatest of all-time comp list played at least until they had completed their age-30 season.  Only three of those players did not see action in their age-31 season (90% did make it that far).  Every one of them played for at least nine years in the league.  Jordan Reed's age-31 season will also be his 9th year in the NFL and is the last year covered under his current deal.

And finally, on average those all timers had their best seasons just before they turned 27 and right after they began their fifth year in the league.  Reed turns 26 in July and he is entering his fourth year.  I'll leave the math to you for a change.  Let's just say that history tells us that we still haven't seen the best from Jordan Reed yet, but we're about to.