Tight ends have become a mixed bag in the NFL. Historically, TEs have primarily been blockers with a few stud outliers like Shannon Sharpe and Mike Ditka proving the position as a viable offensive option.
Today, not only are TEs commonly a team’s best check down option, but they’re often the best receiver on the roster. The position has evolved from occasional red zone threat to viable pass option between the 20s.
TEs are just as critical in Madden. These elite players take advantage of defensive assignments as their size and skill overpowers lesser linebackers in coverage. These guys can literally carry your way to victory.
Here are the top five TEs in Madden NFL 19.
1. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
A member of Madden 19’s 99 Club, the beast known as Gronk is a mismatch dream come true. Whether facing Man or Zone coverage, there are few defensive players capable of stopping Gronk. He’s not the fastest TE, but he is the strongest with an 85 Strength and a great 86 Trucking. Give him a 94 Spectacular Catch and 97 Catch in Traffic, and that means Gronk is not only the ultimate check down pass catcher, but he’s also the best red zone target in Madden.
2. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
Before I say something that will anger KC fans, let me preface this by saying Travis Kelce is a stud of a TE in the NFL. Now to unleash the outrage: Kelce is a slightly lesser Gronk where Madden ratings are concerned. His 85 Speed is a tiny upgrade from Gronk’s 83. And while his Stiff Arm and Trucking scores don’t match up to his New England counterpart, his 82 Juke is a significant step up.
3. Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins
When he’s on the field, Reed is one of the more effective TEs in the NFL. His 95 Catch nearly matches Gronk’s 96. Reed doesn’t possess the same high-quality ball carrying moves of the previous guys mentioned, but he is a better Route Runner than Gronk and Kelce with 89 Short, 87 Mid, and 79 Deep ratings.
4. Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans
Walker doesn’t hold quite the same freak-of-nature-cheat-code status that Gronk or Kelce have, but he’s a quality check down option and should be your primary target while playing as the Titans, especially when within scoring range. However, the one move he has worth trying is an 85 Stiff Arm, which is only beaten by Gronk’s 87.
5. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers
After all this time, not only is Olsen still an elite TE, he remains the best target for Cam Newton. What sets Olsen apart from this pack is his catch skills. He sports a 93 in both Catch in Traffic and Spectacular Catch. His 97 Catching also leads the top five, giving Olsen the most reliable hands at the TE position.
Philadelphia Eagles’ TE Zach Ertz was just edged out of the top five with a 91 OVR. He isn’t equipped with some of the amazing moves his counterparts have, but he’s a solid TE with a 92 Short Route Running, topping everyone on this list in that category.
Now on the Green Bay Packers, Jimmy Graham stands at an 86 OVR. He’s rated as an okay route runner, but matches Gronk’s Spectacular Catch with a 94, best in class. With Aaron Rodgers now dishing the passes, Graham could conceivably surge back into his former elite status.
-Daniel Williams (Follow Dan on Twitter @thatDanW)
Madden NFL 19 launches August 10. Pre-order the Hall of Fame Edition for three-day Early Access and loads of MUT content. Stay in the conversation by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and EA Forums. Sign up for the Newsletter today to receive updates on Madden, and other EA news, products, and events, all season long.