ESPN.com angered Redskins’ outside linebacker Brian Orakpo last week by leaving him off its list of the NFL’s top 10 pass rushers. But teammate Chris Cooley wasn’t snubbed in this week’s installment of ESPN’s positional rankings.
The site’s panel of NFL experts ranked Cooley fifth on their list of top 10 tight ends.
Dallas’ Jason Witten topped the list and was followed by San Deigo’s Antonio Gates, Indianapolis’ Dallas Clark, San Francisco’s Vernon Davis, Cooley, Atlanta’s Tony Gonzalez, Tampa Bay’s Kellen Winslow Jr., Jacksonville’s Marcedes Lewis, Detroit’s Brandon Pettigrew and Green Bay’s Jermichael Finley.
Statistically, Cooley certainly ranks among the league leaders. Only Jason Witten had more catches than Cooley’s 77 last season, and Cooley’s 849 receiving yards ranked third among tight ends. In his seventh season, Cooley was targeted 127 times, second among tight ends to Witten’s 128 targets. But Cooley was often overlooked in the red zone, snagging just three touchdown catches.
Here’s how Cooley stacked up against the league’s top tight ends last season:
1.Jason Witten (DAL) - 94 catches, 1,002 yards, nine touchdowns.
2.Vernon Davis (SF) - with 56 catches, 914 yards, seven touchdowns.
3.Chris Cooley (WAS) - 77 catches, 849 yards, three touchdowns.
4.Antonio Gates (SD) - 50 catches, 782 yards, 10 touchdowns.
5.Benjamin Watson (NE) - 68 catches, 763 yards, three touchdowns.
6.Kellen Winslow Jr. (TB) - 66 catches, 730 yards, five touchdowns.
7.Brandon Pettigrew (DET) - 71 catches, 722 yards, four touchdowns.
8.Marcedes Lewis (JAX) - 58 catches, 700 yards, 10 touchdowns.
9.Zach Miller (OAK) - 60 catches, 685 yards, five touchdowns.
10.Dustin Keller (NYJ) - 55 catches, 687 yards, 6 touchdowns.
Where does he rank in your book?