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Jermaine Gresham Could Be Poised For A Breakout Year

Inspiration for every football movie about to be made. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Inspiration for every football movie about to be made. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Getty Images

If we compare his rookie season to other rookies, Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham had a great season. No AFC rookie posted more receptions than Gresham's 52 catches (fellow rookie Jordan Shipley tied) and his 471 yards receiving ranked fifth. On the other hand if you compare Gresham to the rest of the league's tight ends (kind of pointless but we are anyway), then his 52 receptions ranks 12th, his 471 yards receiving ranks 23rd and his four touchdowns receiving ranks 15th. Though Gresham had a good year, setting a franchise rookie record for receptions by a tight end, Gresham also fumbled the football twice; only Washington's Chris Cooley fumbled more.

Now we don't fault Gresham for the production; the Bengals literally had tunnel vision on the Terrell Owens/Chad Ochocinco combination, hurting the chances with others. And quite frankly we're not sure if Carson Palmer was ideally capable of throwing to tight ends having spent most of his NFL career with Reggie Kelly -- a blocking tight end first and foremost -- as the primary guy at the position.

That being said it was a good rookie season and of the players we expect to breakout this year, Gresham could have the most explosive season. Rookie quarterbacks tend to favor tight ends early in their careers, greatly benefiting Gresham, who will greatly benefit the Bengals due to his size and overwhelming talent.

Scouts, Inc. ranks Gresham as the league's 22nd best tight end with Bo Scaife (24th) and Clark Harris (52nd) included. We should point out that Harris is a tight end by title only and is accurately defined as a long snapper. Chase Coffman didn't rank in the top 100.