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Ranking the Carolina Panthers' Tight Ends in the NFC South

The NFC South at one time had one of the best collection of tight ends with players like Tony Gonzalez, Jimmy Graham and Greg Olsen. The Panthers' tight end is the only one remaining in this group and leads the way in the NFC South.

Over the next few weeks we will be going through the division by position, handing out our rankings to determine which team has the best roster entering the 2016 season. The position groups will be ranked based not only on the starter but the depth behind them from first to fourth with the best team receiving four points. These point totals will then be added up to determine who has the best team this season.

1. Carolina Panthers (4 Points)

Tight Ends: Greg OlsenEd DicksonBeau SandlandScott SimonsonBraxton Deaver

This is one position that the Panthers have the clear advantage because of a player like Greg Olsen. He is one of the best tight ends in the game today and coming off his second consecutive Pro Bowl season with the Panthers. He was the team's leading receiver in receptions (77), targets (123) and yards (1,104).

They also have depth at the position with veteran Ed Dickson and rookie Beau Sandland, who was selected in the seventh round. He is an interesting player who has tremendous potential both as a pass catcher and run blocker but may need a season or two to develop.

2. New Orleans Saints (3 Points)

Tight Ends: Coby FleenerJosh HillMichael HoomanawanuiRashaun Allen

This past year was the first season without Jimmy Graham for Drew Brees and this offense after the team traded him to the Seattle Seahawks. It was clear this group missed Graham's play-making ability in the middle of the field.

They tried to address this in the offseason by signing Coby Fleener, who played his first four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. He is a good route runner but is coming off a down season, which could be attributed to being without his quarterback, Andrew Luck last season. He should be in line for a big year with the Saints.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2 Points)

Tight Ends: Austin Seferian-JenkinsLuke StockerBrandon MyersCameron Brate

Austin Seferain-Jenkins was a tight end who entered the NFL with a great deal of fanfare however he has not been able to put everything together. He has only played in 16 games through his first two seasons with 42 career receptions, 559 receiving yards and six touchdowns.

His struggles, along with being kicked out of an OTA practice this offseason, has opened the door for a potential training camp battle with undrafted rookie Cameron Brate as Greg Auman of Tampa Bay Times details here. The former Harvard tight end is coming off his best season with 23 receptions, 288 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

4. Atlanta Falcons (1 Points)

Tight Ends: Jacob TammeLevine ToiloloAustin Hooper

The Falcons continue to struggle to find the answer at tight end since Tony Gonzalez retired a few seasons ago. The team initially turned to Levine Toilolo but couldn't make a major impact in this offense so last year they brought in Jacob Tamme.

Tamme had a decent season with 59 receptions, 657 receiving yards and one touchdown last year however he is somewhat limited and isn't necessarily a top tight end. The Falcons tried to address the position again this offseason by drafting Austin Hooper, who was one of the better tight ends in a relatively weak draft class. The question is just how much playing time he will get this offseason with Tamme and Toilolo on the roster.

Team Quarterback Running Back Wide Receiver Tight End Offensive Line Total
Carolina Panthers 4 3 4 4 15
New Orleans Saints 3 1 1 3 8
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2 4 2 2 10
Atlanta Falcons 1 2 3 1 7

 

*Depth charts courtesy of Ourlads.com

Twitter @BrandonCroce

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