August 16, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham (84) spins past Atlanta Falcons defensive back Thomas DeCoud (28) in the first half at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
When it was time for the 2010 NFL draft to begin, the Cincinnati Bengals had one clear need, and that was to find a tight end that could help a middle-of-the-road offense take the next step and become elite. There were many talented TEs that could have helped do such, including Arizona’s Rob Gronkowski, Florida’s Aaron Hernandez, BYU’s Dennis Pitta, Miami’s Jimmy Graham, Iowa’s Tony Moeaki and Oklahoma’s Jermaine Gresham.
The Bengals ultimately went with Gresham, a former All-American who had missed the entire 2009 college football season due to knee injury suffered in preseason practice. This didn’t stop Cincinnati from taking him in the first-round, making him the first TE taken that year.
But up to this point, he’s been regarded as the fourth or even fifth-best TE to come out of that class, as he’s been outperformed by a pair of New England Patriots in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
The Baltimore Ravens also landed Dennis Pita, who last year caught 61 balls for 669 yards and 7 TDs, compared to Gresham’s 64 catches for 737 yards and 5 TDs.
But perhaps the best TE to be drafted that year was Jimmy Graham, who had just one year of collegiate experience at TE after playing basketball for the Miami Hurricanes.
All of that being said, here are the career statistics from the top TEs drafted in 2010:
Again. Gresham has been “at-best” the #4 TE in a class which he was projected to be the #1 in. Last season, Gresham also graded out as the worst NFL TE (-16.4) yet received the 6th-most snaps of any Bengals player (offense or defense).
But with Gronkowski’s recent injuries, and Hernandez looking like his career may be over as he faces murder charges, the Bengals may have not missed as badly as it appeared just a few weeks ago.