Thumbs up for the Buccaneers. Top to bottom nobody in the NFC South has a group of tight ends like the Bucs do. Cameron Brate is an established touchdown scoring machine, O.J. Howard is a blooming star, and Anthony Auclair is loved by the coaching staff. The Bucs can exploit a lot of mismatches thanks to this group, and if their blocking improves they could become the top group in the entire league.
Despite having a weak group overall, Greg Olsen carries the Panthers to number two on the list. He’s getting up there in age and suffered the first major injury of his career last season, but when on the field he showed he’s got a lot left in the tank. Olsen seems to destroy the Buccaneers whenever they play, and if they’re not careful he is more than capable of doing it again in 2018.
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Atlanta finishes narrowly at number three on the list, thanks a lot to one tricky word: Potential. Austin Hooper is entering his third year and has the measurables to be a nice tight end in the league. He simply has to prove it in 2018. The rest of the Falcon tight ends are even less accomplished, so Hooper has quite a bit of pressure on his shoulders.
The New Orleans Saints claimed first place in both of the first two editions of the NFC South rankings, but today they finish last. The Saints are counting on 37 year old Ben Watson to carry the group, which may be fine for a limited amount of passes (it’s not like they don’t have a million other pass catching options), but it’s still hard to have much optimism. I doubt this weakness will sink an otherwise stacked Saints offense, but it’s certainly something they’ll need to fix next off-season.
That’s it for our look at the NFC South tight ends. Your Tampa Bay Buccaneers rather easily claimed first place thanks to their young dynamic duo of Brate and Howard. What’s your take on the rankings, Buccaneer fans? Sound off in the comments and check back next week for the wide receivers! (Spoiler alert: The Buccaneers will be ranked highly in that one, too).