In Part 1 of our training camp preview on tight ends for the Cleveland Browns, we looked at the first three guys on the depth chart. In Part 2, we look at the other two tight ends on the roster: Dan Gronkowski and Travis Tannahill.
4. DAN GRONKOWSKI - BACKUP BLOCKING TIGHT END
This is the year in which Dan Gronkowski could take a leap forward on the depth chart, due to the unproven commodities ahead of him. Gronkowski, a brother of the Patriots' Rob Gronkowski, first joined the Browns late in the 2011 season. He was with the Browns during last year's training camp, but did not make the final roster cut. He was re-signed to a reserve/future contract back in January.
Gronkowski turned heads during last year's camp. He seemed to be a solid blocked and displayed good hands whenever the ball came his way. Although the Browns weren't stacked at tight end, he didn't make the roster because of Benjamin Watson, Jordan Cameron, and Alex Smith returning from the previous season. This year, I think Gronkowski has a decent chance at competing with Kellen Davis for his roster spot. Gronkowski will have to prove that he is a better, or at least comparable, blocker to Davis. If he does, then his superior pass-catching ability might be enough for him to pull off the roster upset.
There is also a chance that Cleveland goes with four tight ends or no fullbacks, which would help Gronkowski's roster odds as well. He'll be one of those guys the team can look at on special teams too.
Final Roster Odds: 20%
5. TRAVIS TANNAHILL - UNDRAFTED FREE AGENT TIGHT END
Travis Tannahill played with QB Collin Klein at Kansas State, where he caught 23 passes for 284 yards and 1 touchdown in 2012. This article gives Tannahill very high praise, saying that he was asked to block in sophisticated schemes at Kansas State, but is capable of catching the ball very well.
Per the article, "That’s where Tannahill becomes a complete player, known more for his blocking skills than his pass-catching ability. Put the two together and you have the 2012 All-Big 12 tight end."
Mike Krupka also brought to our attention the fact that in college, Tannahill "grows his beard out every November, he tries to cut his hair as little as possible during the football season and he never changes or washes his gameday shirt when the Wildcats are on a winning streak." If he makes the Browns, we can look forward to that!
Tannahill will have a tough time unseating one of the guys in front of him for a roster spot. I typically don't see tight ends on a practice squad, but if Tannahill impresses a tight end guy in Rob Chudzinski, maybe he can end up on there.
Final Roster Odds: <1%
Practice Squad Odds: 20%
It is also worth noting that Brad Smelley, who I listed at fullback, is also seeing significant camp action at tight end. Today's poll asks whether you think Dan Gronkowski can unseat Kellen Davis for a roster spot as the primary blocking tight end.