A great tight end that can make the tough catches in the middle of the field and be a red zone threat is a prerequisite in the NFL, but what if your team has two? A new trend has emerged with teams using double tight end formations, to open up the passing game in ways never seen before. That’s why teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs all drafted tight ends high in the 2013 NFL draft, despite already having a solid starting tight end. They wanted to capitalize on this trend that’s sweeping the NFL, but which teams already have great tight end tandems? Find out, as we discover which teams will have the best tight end tandems going into 2013.
5. Indianapolis Colts: Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener
Allen and Fleener were a nice surprise for the Colts in 2012 as rookies who put up 802 yards and 5 touchdowns combined. They were instrumental pieces to a 2012 Playoff run and 2013 could be another solid season from the pair. The Colts’ new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton has alluded many times that he wants more touches from his tight ends this season and that will only highlight Allen and Fleener more. 2013 should be another solid season from this tandem, and they definitely have the talent to move up this list. However, for now, they’re number five.
4. Baltimore Ravens: Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson
The Ravens doubled up on tight ends with Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson in the 2010 draft, and the result was outstanding. Pitta and Dickson combined for 81 catches, 894 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2012. The only problem is Pitta and Dickson are both free agents after the 2013 season. Pitta and Dickson might not be signed on after this season, but both players being in a contract year at the same time is sure to spark your interest. There is no doubt that Pitta and Dickson can work their way higher up this list in 2013, but for now they’re fifth.
3. Denver Broncos: Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen
Broncos’ tight ends Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen combined for 93 catches, 911 yards and 7 touchdowns. Not bad for the tandems first season together. Of course having Peyton Manning slinging the rock around doesn’t hurt if you’re a tight end. However, Tamme and Dreessen deserve credit for the season they put up in 2012. They were part of Manning’s top five targets in 2012, and will definitely repeat that level of production in 2013 despite the presence of Wes Welker. You should expect big things out of this tight end group in Denver this season.
2. Detroit Lions: Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler
I will be the first to admit that Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler should be higher on this list, but they didn’t catch a lot of touchdowns in 2012. They combined for 101 catches, 1,071 yards, but only 4 touchdowns. The Lions had a down year in 2012 and that resulted in this tandem’s touchdown column lacking big time. However, Pettigrew and Scheffler have the talent and the quarterback in Matthew Stafford to help them bounce back in 2013. If they do, then opposing defenses need to circle their calendars every time they play the Lions this season, because they’re that talented.
Probably the most under the radar tight end tandem in the NFL is on the Houston Texans roster. Owen Daniels and Garrett Graham combined for 90 catches, 979 yards and 9 touchdowns in 2012. Sure, James Casey isn’t on the team anymore, but why did everyone forget about Graham? Garrett Graham will become better as a result of Casey’s absence, and Owen Daniels has always been one of the most underappreciated committee tight ends over the years. Don’t sleep on this tandem, because they just might become the best one in 2013.
James Cobern is a Division Leader for TPF and can be contacted at JCobern@ThePenaltyFlagBlog.com or follow him on Twitter @Jmcobern1