RZL All-Decade Team Ė 2010s (Tight Ends)
This is the fourth article in what hopefully will be a long series of articles. In an effort to explore our leagueís history, Iím developing an All-Decade team for the years 2010 to 2019. To do so I have had to sift through a lot of our archives, so itís likely there are some errors. At the same time, we have a very rich history with many talented players. So itís very likely that a few were excluded that some think should be included, especially since each of us may value some elements of the game over others. Either way, this series is meant to be fun and enlightening. I hope you enjoy.
For the TEs, I chose only 2 players to represent the All-Decade Team. I was torn a bit about maybe adding a 3rd TE since there are so many good candidates (as you'll see below), but at the end of the day most teams only carry 2 Tight Ends, so the All-Decade team will as well. In making this list I had to email the Commish and inquire about the nature of Vernon Davisí play. Itís been a few seasons, but I distinctly remembered some controversy over listing him as a TE since he played a lot in the slot. But as AF pointed out, no one had enough of a problem with it to keep from voting Vernon Davis the Best Tight End 5 times. Fair enough.
Here are the Tight Ends of the Decade
Vernon Davis (49ers, 2010-2016; Jaguars, 2017; Broncos, 2017-2019). The RZL has had its quintessential players at certain positions Ė Ben Roethlisberger, Calvin Johnson Ė but maybe the most dominant at a position has been Vernon Davis. Davis went to 6 Pro Bowls during the 10 years of the Decade, but even more impressive are his 5 Best TE awards. Talk about domination. Davis had two 1,000 yard receiving seasons in the Decade and caught more than 50 passes in 6 straight seasons. Of course, the controversy with Davis is that he spent a good amount of time playing in the slot. However, it didnít stop him from winning the Best TE award, so it shouldnít stop him from being named to the All-Decade team at the position. Itís also worth noting that even if Davis played the slot, he was doing at least a little blocking. In the Decade he recorded 529 pancakes and allowed only 8 sacks Ė better stats than fellow All-Decader Darius Hill.
Pancakes/Sacks Allowed: 529/8 (66.1 ratio)
Pro Bowls: 6 (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Awards: 2012 Best TE, 2013 Best TE, 2014 Best TE, 2015 Best TE, 2016 Best TE.
League Leader in Rec: 2013, 2016
League Leader in Yards: 2012, 2013, 2016
League Leader in TDs: 2011, 2013, 2014T, 2015, 2016T.
Darius Hill (Giants, 2011-2014; Redskins, 2015-2018; Packers, 2019). It was tough to leave out Shawn Gregory from the list, but if thereís one Tight End who deserves inclusion more, itís Darius Hill. Hill had during the Decade 7 seasons of 50 or more catches, including the 2015 season where his 66 receptions translated into nearly 1,100 yards. In fact, Hill lead all Tight Ends Ė including Davis Ė in receptions for the Decade. Hill lead the league in receptions among Tight Ends 3 times, more than anyone. Sent to 4 Pro Bowls in a career that stretched the entire Decade and beyond, thereís a nice bit of symmetry and testimony to the greatness of Hillís career in that he won the Best TE award in both the first and last years of the Decade.
Pancakes/Sacks Allowed: 504/8 (63.0 ratio)
Pro Bowls: 4 (2010, 2015, 2018, 2019)
Awards: 2010 Best TE, 2018 Best TE.
League Leader in Rec: 2010, 2015, 2019
League Leader in Yards: 2010
League Leader in TDs: 2018
Others Considered: The fact that Shawn Gregory is not on this list is a great injustice. Gregory made 5 Pro Bowls during the Decade and was the league leader in receptions once, yards twice, and TDs 3 times. Perhaps the only thing that kept him off the list is that he didnít enter the league until 2014. Another exceptional TE that just missed the team is Kellen Winslow. Winslow went to an amazing 4 Pro Bowls and led the league in receptions in 2012. Similarly, Brandon Pettigrew was also very deserving of inclusion with 4 Pro Bowls and a receptions title. Dorin Dickerson, Greg Olson, Gus Dixon, and Jamerson Konz all made 3 Pro Bowls during the Decade. Dallas Clark and Jared Cook only made 2 Pro Bowls, but both won a Best TE award.