FanPost

Greg Olsen: Elite Tight End?

Kevin C. Cox

Greg Olsen is an elite tight end. There, I said it. I know it’s a bold statement to make, but the numbers and advanced charting back it up. Greg Olsen was one of the best tight ends in the NFL in 2012, and one of the most valuable players on the Carolina Panthers’ offense.

Prior the 2012 season, I wrote a FanPost that had a top five list for Panthers who were poised to have a ‘breakout’ season, and I included Greg Olsen as the number one player on my list. Here’s what I wrote about Olsen back then:

Given the fact that Olsen played quite well last season, my #1 breakout player may come as a surprise to some of you. However, I really think Greg Olsen will reach his full potential this upcoming season. Like the other tight ends and wide receivers on the roster from last season, Olsen will have the benefit of having a full offseason to fully learn the offensive playbook, and build more chemistry with Cam Newton. If you look at his measurables, they are simply off the charts. Olsen measures in at 6-5 and 255 pounds, and he displayed great route running abilities and good hands.

Last season, he had 540 yards receiving and 5 touchdown catches, pretty good numbers considering he shared the tight end responsibilities with Jeremy Shockey the entire season. With Shockey gone, I think he can make up for the lost production and step it up to become a top ten tight end in the league. I think he could get 60 receptions, 750 yards and 8 touchdowns. I'm definitely looking forward to watching him play this season!

Olsen didn’t disappoint, as the numbers he put up this season exceeded my projected numbers for him back in June.

Let’s get into the numbers!

*All stats are from NFL.com, you can access them here.

Stats for Greg Olsen, 2012 – 2013 NFL Regular Season

Games

Rec

Yards

TD

YPC

YPG

1st Downs

Fumbles

16

69

843

5

12.2

52.7

42

0

As you can see, Olsen finished the 2012 season with 69 receptions, for 843 yards to go along with 5 touchdown catches.

Here’s a look at the top tight ends in the league this year, statistically. You’ll notice Olsen is near the top of the list for most of the categories:

Yards

Rank

Player

Team

Yards

1

Jason Witten

Dallas

1039

2

Jimmy Graham

New Orleans

962

3

Tony Gonzalez

Atlanta

930

4

Greg Olsen

Carolina

843

5

Heath Miller

Pittsburgh

816

Greg Olsen was the #4 tight end in the NFL in yardage, behind some of the league’s elite tight ends – Jason Witten, Jimmy Graham and Tony Gonzalez.

Receptions

Rank

Player

Team

Receptions

1

Jason Witten

Dallas

110

2

Tony Gonzalez

Atlanta

93

3

Jimmy Graham

New Orleans

85

4

Brandon Myers

Oakland

79

5

Heath Miller

Pittsburgh

71

6

Greg Olsen

Carolina

69

Olsen ranked #6 in receptions, once again with familiar company with some of the league’s elite tight ends.

First Downs

Rank

Player

Team

First Downs

1

Tony Gonzalez

Atlanta

65

2

Jimmy Graham

New Orleans

59

3

Jason Witten

Dallas

56

4

Rob Gronkowski

New England

45

5

Heath Miller

Pittsburgh

44

6

Greg Olsen

Carolina

42

Greg Olsen had 42 first downs this year, good enough to rank #6 among all tight ends in the league.

20+ Yard Catches

Rank

Player

Team

20+ Yard Catches

1

Rob Gronkowski

New England

13

2

Vernon Davis

San Francisco

12

3

Jimmy Graham

New Orleans

12

4

Heath Miller

Pittsburgh

11

5

Greg Olsen

Carolina

11

This one’s very close. Olsen finished the year with 11 catches of more than 20 yards, tying him for #4 on the list with Heath Miller. The leader, Rob Gronkowski had 13 catches.

As you can see from the tables above, Olsen is right up there with some of the best tight ends in the NFL. Of course, these are just raw numbers. Stats don’t tell the whole story. That’s where advanced metrics come in. Football Outsiders and Pro Football Focus also thought Olsen was one of the best tight ends in the league this year – both ranked Olsen as the #5 tight end in the league.

Here’s FootballOutsiders’ top 10 tight ends for the 2012 season:

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According to FootballOutsiders, Olsen was the #5 ranked tight end in the NFL in DYAR.

You can read more here.

Here’s Pro Football Focus’ top 10 tight ends for the 2012 season:

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Different website, but same story. Olsen was the #5 tight end in the NFL with a 1.82 YPRR.

You can read more here.

So, there you have it, folks. Greg Olsen was one of the deadliest weapons for the Panthers offense this year, and was one of the best tight ends in the league. I think the scariest thing of all is that he’s still quite young at the age of 27. With his contract locked up for another three years, Olsen looks primed for several more years of quality play. As quarterback Cam Newton continues to develop as a passer, and as he and Olsen continue to build their chemistry with one another on the field, I think it’s a good bet that Olsen will be one of the best in the league for a long time to come. So, is he elite? I definitely think so.

The content of these posts are those of the user/fan making the post only

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