clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

New ranking of the league’s best duos ignores two deserving Chiefs players’s Bucky Brooks made some good choices — but blew it when judging the league’s tight ends.

NFL: DEC 18 Chiefs at Texans Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

You might have missed it over the weekend — but on Friday evening, ‘s Bucky Brooks published a ranking of the league’s best duos at 11 different positions.

Typically, this kind of thing is an interesting exercise — and I agreed with many of his choices. (I even thought that picking the Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Hurts and newly-acquired backup Marcus Mariota as the league’s best quarterback duo was fairly reasonable).

But I stopped nodding my head when Brooks weighed in on tight ends.

2. Hunter Henry (Year 8) and Mike Gesicki (Year 6) · New England Patriots

Bill O’Brien’s return to the offensive coordinator position could send the Patriots back to their 12 personnel roots, with Henry and free-agent signee Gesicki threatening opponents down the seams. New England tight ends haven’t combined for more than 1,000 yards receiving in a season since 2017 (the last year Rob Gronkowski reached that mark), but the big-bodied playmakers should restore the potency of the position on the team, with Mac Jones tossing the ball around in a ball-control offense featuring more high-percentage passes inside the numbers. As Henry settles into his role as a chain-mover and Gesicki puts up points as a red-zone weapon and hybrid playmaker, the pass-catching combo will give opponents matchup problems all over the field.

The next two: Mark Andrews and Isaiah Likely, Baltimore Ravens; Kyle Pitts and Jonnu Smith, Atlanta Falcons.


Yes... I remember: just a few days ago, I went on a major rant about NFL brass failing to give Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce his due. And I get it: it’s probably hard for an analyst like Brooks to keep track of a player like Kansas City backup tight end Noah Gray.

But come on, man! Brooks picks New England’s Henry and Gesicki because new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien might get two Patriots’ tight ends over 1,000 yards for the first time since Gronkowski had a locker at Gillette Stadium? I mean... sure, that could happen.

Here’s the problem: last season, Henry and Gesicki collected a total of 871 yards and seven touchdowns — while Kelce and Gray combined for 1,637 yards and 13 touchdowns! Kelce, of course, did accumulate the lion’s share of that production. Still, Gray's 299 yards (and a touchdown) weren’t all that different than Gesicki’s 362 yards — although the former Dolphin did notch five touchdowns in 2022.

Let’s be fair: suppose Brooks could construct a reasonable argument that Henry and Gesicki are superior to the Chiefs’ duo. Would Kelce and Gray then rank behind the Ravens’ Andrews and Likely? Or the Falcons’ Pitts and Smith? You don’t have to look through many metrics to blow those ideas right out of the water.

I’ll be happy to admit that part of my annoyance with Brooks’ ranking is my belief that Kelce already has a case to be considered the greatest tight end in league history. But even playing behind Kelce (and having to share time with Jody Fortson), Gray managed a respectable season in 2022. (And as our Ron Kopp noted in these pages last week, both Gray and Fortson play important roles in Kansas City’s offense).

It just seems to me like the former Duke tight end has earned a little love.

NEW: Join Arrowhead Pride Premier

If you love Arrowhead Pride, you won’t want to miss Pete Sweeney in your inbox each week as he delivers deep analysis and insights on the Chiefs' path to the Super Bowl.