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The 5 O'Clock Club: Ranking the best Tight End groups in the league

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It’s 5 o’clock somewhere...

Training camp starts this week, and it’s time to turn our attention to the tight ends.

The greatest Redskin tight end of all time

Quick... which Redskin tight end is the greatest of all time?

Well, the answer might not be a slam dunk, but a lot of people would tell you that the answer to that question is: Jerry Smith. Consider this from a 2014 Fox Sports article:

Smith was the Redskins’ tight end from 1965-77. He retired with 60 touchdown receptions, which was more than any player to play that position until Shannon Sharpe broke the mark 27 years later. Indeed, Smith’s stats match or exceed many of the eight tight ends who are enshrined in the Hall.

In case you never saw Smith play, find the documentary the NFL Network showed last week. You’ll discover a guy making incredible catches, running precise routes and being the consummate teammate.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” said Brig Owens, Smith’s roommate and best friend on the Redskins..

Smith had 421 catches for 5,496 yards. That’s more receptions than three Hall-of-Fame tight ends, and only six fewer than Mike Ditka caught. Smith’s receiving yards also surpass three inductees.

He has two fewer touchdowns than Sharpe. But Smith’s total is eight more than Dave Casper, 13 more than Ozzie Newsome, 15 more than Kellen Winslow, 17 more than Ditka, 20 more than Jackie Smith, 22 more than John Mackey and 29 more than Charlie Sanders.

Jerry Smith is one of the great Redskins, and was the subject of an episode of NFL Network’s A Football Life some time back. If you haven’t seen the episode, tune in and learn about the guy that insures -- for the moment, at least — that Jordan Reed ranks no better than the 2nd-best tight end the Redskins have ever had. Smith is one of two tight ends on the list of the 80 Greatest Redskins (Don Warren is the other).

You can also learn more about Jerry Smith by reading the excellent article from Cadillactica, posted last month.

Tight ends from this century

Which team has the best tight end group in the NFC East at the moment?

It’s no contest -- the answer is the Washington Redskins, though there’s a guy in Dallas who’s had a pretty good career so far.

The only real question is: Is this the best tight end group in the NFL?

The Redskins tight end coach, Wes Philips, answers that questions with a loud & clear “yes”.

Niles Paul, who would likely be the starting tight end on half the teams in the league, is not even assured of making the regular season roster.

Vernon Davis, after carving out a huge piece of history in San Francisco, has re-ignited his career in the tight-end friendly offense that Jay Gruden runs.

And, while Jordan Reed may not go into the Hall of Fame as a blocker, he is arguably the best pass-catching tight end in the NFL today.

So, today, I don’t want to even bother ranking this position group inside the division; I want to ask you to rank the best tight end groups in the league.

I’ve listed a few teams that have some notable TE talent for your consideration.

Please tell us in the comments which NFL team you think has the best tight end group, and where you rank the Redskins.

New England Patriots

Rob Gronkowski, Dwayne Allen

Baltimore Ravens

Benjamin Watson, Crockett Gillmore

Cincinnati Bengals

Tyler Eifert, Tyler Kroft

Cleveland Browns

David Njoku

Indianapolis Colts

Jack Doyle, Erik Swoope, MO ALIE-COX

Tennessee Titans

Delanie Walker, Jace Amaro

Denver Broncos

Virgil Green, Jake Butt

Kansas City Chiefs

Travis Kelce

San Diego Los Angeles Chargers

Antonio Gates, Hunter Henry

Philadelphia Eagles

Zach Ertz, Brent Celek

Green Bay Packers

Martellus Bennett, Richard Rodgers, Lance Kendricks

Minnesota Vikings

Kyle Rudolph

Carolina Panthers

Greg Olsen, Ed Dickson

New Orleans Saints

Coby Fleener, Josh Hill, Michael Hoomanawanui

San Francisco 49ers

Vance McDonald, Garrett Celek

Seattle Seahawks

Jimmy Graham, Luke Willson

Poll

Question 1: Which VCU Alumnus has the best chance of making an NFL roster as a tight end this season?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    Ren Watson
    (1 vote)
  • 10%
    Monty Knight
    (4 votes)
  • 15%
    Edmund Sherrod
    (6 votes)
  • 10%
    Danny Kotack
    (4 votes)
  • 61%
    Mo Alie-Cox
    (24 votes)
39 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Question 2: Who is the greatest Redskin tight end of all time?

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    Jerry Smith
    (82 votes)
  • 6%
    Don Warren
    (10 votes)
  • 14%
    Chris Cooley
    (23 votes)
  • 2%
    Fred Davis
    (4 votes)
  • 24%
    Jordan Reed
    (40 votes)
  • 0%
    Vernon Davis
    (1 vote)
  • 2%
    Jeremy Sprinkle
    (4 votes)
164 votes total Vote Now