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Ranking the NFC Tight Ends

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The Sporting News has a running series all summer where they've been ranking different tandems/units in each conference, then they'll rank the top 5 players at the position. The latest is NFC tight ends.

The Eagles ended up in the dead center of the conference

8. EAGLES L.J. Smith, a playmaker with elite potential, hopes to have a big season in his contract year. Matt Schobel is a capable backup.

There's one pretty puzzling team ahead of the Eagles on this list. The Chicago Bears at #5. Why? "Rookie Greg Olsen adds a vertical dimension to the position that had been missing." No one knows anything about Greg Olsen. He was drafted at the end of the first round wasn't even that highly rated coming into the draft. Certainly nothing like the top picks of recent years like Vernon Davis. Greg Olsen automatically makes the Bears' TEs that much better? Again, time will tell... but like the article that ranked WRs yesterday I don't get how these writers can assume so much about a rookie.

Their top 5 TEs in the NFC were as follows... (with some commentary)

1. Alge Crumpler, Falcons - I like him alot, but he has terrible hands.
2. Jeremy Shockey, Giants - Clearly talented, but injury prone and questionable hands. Also, when I say "injury prone" I know he doesn't miss games, but he always limping and/or "slowed down" by some type of injury. It just seems like Shockey is rarely 100% healthy and it hurts his game.
3. Jason Witten, Cowboys - Good player, but completely misused by the Cowboys last year. He was very average and not what I'd consider a top TE, although it wasn't really his fault. Talent-wise he deserves to be up here.
4. Randy McMichael, Rams Not entirely sure where the Randy McMichael lovefest comes from. He was a Dolphin last year and his numbers weren't all that different from LJ Smith. In a better passing offense like the Rams, I could see how he'd thrive though.
5. Chris Cooley, Redskins - I like Cooley, alway have. That said, you could put him McMichael, & LJ in a hat and I think you'd be happy with whoever you got. The numbers are all comparable. One thing Cooley has against him is his fashion sense. Or lack thereof.