Jimmy Graham tops preseason tight end rankings

An early-season MVP candidate, Graham averaged 119 yards per game prior to his late-October plantar fascia tear and just 52 yards once his snaps were reduced following the injury. With Graham hobbled, the Saints' offense stumbled through a five-game November-December stretch, topping 17 points just once. Graham still led all tight ends with 86 receptions, 1,215 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2013.

Gronkowski was better than ever before his season-ending ACL injury in December. After struggling for the majority of the season, Tom Brady led the NFL with 35.75 points and 473.25 yards over a five-game span once Gronk returned to the lineup. From a statistical standpoint, Brady has been Aaron Rodgers with the Patriots' All-Pro tight end healthy -- and Andy Dalton when Gronkowski is sidelined. Keep in mind: Gronk is younger than 2013 breakout stars Jordan Cameron and Julius Thomas.

It would be interesting to see Davis' numbers if he wasn't asked to concentrate as much on blocking at the expense of his pass routes in the 49ers' ball-control offense. It's telling that Davis' regular season averages of 43.7 yards and 0.44 touchdowns per game spike to 75.0 and 0.88 in the playoffs.

Cameron's smooth athleticism evokes memories of an early-career Tony Gonzalez. Hauling in errant passes from the Cleveland Browns' trio of Brandon Weeden, Brian Hoyer and Jason Campbell, Cameron posted 15 more catches and 129 more yards than fellow former hoopster Thomas managed with Peyton Manning.

Witten isn't quite as spry after the catch as he once was, but he remains one of the NFL's most complete tight ends for the Cowboys.

Miller, meanwhile, is the AFC's answer to Davis. If Pittsburgh used Miller in a similar fashion to Graham, he would clear 70 receptions on an annual basis. It's no coincidence that the Steelers got off to an 0-4 start as Miller worked his way back from an ACL and finished with the conference's best record in the second half of the season once the tight end was back to full strength.

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