Sports

Top 10 tight ends in the NFL today

Is Rob Gronkowski the best tight end in the NFL today?

Michael Dwyer/AP

Is Rob Gronkowski the best tight end in the NFL today?

With help from an NFL scout, the Globe breaks down the rankings of the 10 best tight ends in the NFL today:

1. Rob Gronkowski, New England

“He’s a freak. You kind of underestimate how fast he is. He’s got great hands, great range, great catching radius. If there is someone around him he’s going to go get it. He’s a good blocker, not great, not dominant.”

2. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans

“He is the new Tony Gonzalez, a basketball guy playing football. Brees throws the ball up, and it looks like he’s just jumping up for a rebound. He’s not a great blocker. That’s why they don’t really use him in that role.”

3. Jason Witten, Dallas

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“He’s a savvy route runner. He finds holes, knows defense. You can tell he studies by the way he exploits defenses. He’s got great hands. He’s just a grinder. As a blocker, he’s good. A better blocker than Gronk.”

4. Vernon Davis, San Francisco

“Probably the one tight end who has the most freakish ability. You can literally line him up in the slot, and out wide and he can go by corners. He has that speed and explosiveness.”

5. Antonio Gates, San Diego

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“He’s not the same guy he once was, but he’s still good. He is still a really good player. He’s still got good speed. I don’t think he’s that great of a blocker. Savvy route runner; he’s going to get open with little head fakes.”

6. Aaron Hernandez, New England

“I like how New England uses him – showcasing him in the backfield, splitting him out wide. I don’t know if he could really be that stud No. 1 guy. He’s wonderful in that offense, though. He’s not a great blocker.”

7. Jermichael Finley, Green Bay

“He’s on the list because of his athletic ability and what he can do. He’s never lived up to it. He’s all talk. He’s gotten hurt, dropped passes. He has that type of ability, but he’s never been able to put it all together.”

8. Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta

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“He’s the offensive version of Ray Lewis. He’s older and plays at a high level. I think that the biggest thing that people don’t talk about is his understanding of defenses. The only thing he has lost is his speed.”

9. Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit

“He’s not going to wow you with his physical traits. He may be a better blocker than receiver right now. The way they throw it in that offense he is going to put up some numbers. He is a solid hands guy.”

10. Heath Miller, Pittsburgh

“I think he’s very, very underrated. He would be better than Witten if he were in that offense. A lot of tight ends nowadays are a receiver or a blocker, and he can do both pretty well.”

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