We dive back into the AFC North rooftop pool and tag the five players who made this exclusive list. 'Marco Polo' took a while to finish. Unlike the pair of stories (see links below), I was a lot more fastidious in choosing these mammoths. For starters, there are 14 tight ends in the AFC North who have two or less years of NFL experience.
The 10 other tight ends who've loitered around the league for three or more seasons have virtually role played ghosts, such as Browns teammates Gary Barnidge (eighth season) and Jim Dray (sixth). Some of you: Who?
The handsomely pair Owen Daniels (Broncos) and Jordan Cameron (Dolphins) fluttered out of the smash-mouth, rhinoceros-aggression style-of-play division. All four teams topped their rosters to the brim with tight ends in the offseason, which is why selecting the Ferocious Five wasn't smooth segueing on my end.
Again, like before, we have rules to follow.
1. The quarterback throwing the ball is Drew Brees, who has spruced up Saints tight end Jimmy Graham's stat sheet: five seasons, 78 games, 51 touchdowns, 386 receptions for 4,752 yards. (Hyptothetically), nobody gets hurt in 2015.
2. If your initials are the same as mine ... sorry. Make your mind up, Dennis Pitta.
3. We forbid rising rookies to cross the Top Three border, due to obvious reasons. #ProveYourself
From most explosive ... to most electrifying.
5. Jesse James, Pittsburgh Steelers
James hauled in 15 passes during his first season at Penn State. Not impressed?
Five of them went for touchdowns. The Steelers found the tight end of the future in the fifth round, an athletic route runner who will contribute to a lavishly decorated offense. While secondaries are busy hustling and turning their hips trying to cover the Steelers' receiving corps, James and Heath Miller could do some serious damage in the lanes.
4. Maxx Williams, Baltimore Ravens
Enough with the Pitta. We're talking Madd Maxx, and not the highly praised movie.
As we are all aware that Crockett Gilmore will take snaps away from the rookie, I believe that Marc Trestman will keep Williams in the huddle, especially in goal line packages. Why? The element of surprise. With linebackers hawking down Justin Forsett's whereabouts, a play-action fake from the five yard line (or closer), should provide enough time and space for Williams to sneak by unnoticed. Bold prediction: 45 receptions, 525 yards, 7 TDs
3. Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals
Sincere hope for Eifert to rebound nicely this season.
The Bengals beefed up their offensive line in the 2015 NFL Draft and also padded their tight end core with two big bodies: Third-rounder Tyler Kroft out of Rutgers and the fifth-rounder, C.J. Uzomah out of Auburn. The bigs should hold their blocks while the third-year pro fills in the cleats of Jermaine Gresham (free agent). It's Eifert's job to keep -- and keep he will -- by finishing the season with better numbers than he put up in his rookie campaign: 15 starts, 39 receptions, 445 yards and two six-point catches.
2. Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers
Forget his 2013 and 2014 touchdown total (4). Mr. Consistency is the heartbeat of the Steelers offense.
When Ben Roethlisberger scrambles out of the pocket to keep the play alive on third down, Miller's there. The tight end's reliable hands, sound route running fundamentals and savvy blocking skills have forced defensive coordinators to assign a safety (or his most athletic linebacker) on No. 83. No wonder the vultures Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell feast.
1. Rob Housler, Cleveland Browns
Free agent acquisition from the Arizona Cardinals, Housler, will triumph, not be underutilized by the Browns, and finish as the best tight end heading into 2015.
Nathan Zegura of the Browns media staff says that he "loves this move" and compares Housler to aforementioned Jordan Cameron. He adds, "[Housler] was never given the opportunity [in Arizona]," serving as the reason for the tight end's lackluster resume.
That leads to the final bold prediction of the night: Housler finishes with 50 receptions, 540 yards and nine touchdowns.