Jermaine Gresham, the first tight end selected in the 2010 NFL Draft, going to the Cincinnati Bengals with the No. 21 pick, has 108 receptions for 1,067 yards and 10 touchdowns for his career. The latter two numbers do not match up to what Rob Gronkowski (No. 42 overall) and Jimmy Graham (No. 95 overall) produced last season.
Brooks: Gronk vs. Graham
Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy
Graham lead a renaissance at the tight end position. Who's better? Bucky Brooks examines. **More ...**
Despite being added to the Pro Bowl roster -- as a Super Bowl replacement for Gronkowski -- Gresham is aware that he is lagging behind in the production department and looking to close the gap, writes Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
"I have to step my game up to get where those guys are at, to even be considered with them. Right now I'm not even close," Gresham said. "I'm very, very average, below average right now. I need to excel at things so I can be on the top-level tier with those guys. It's just that simple."
Gresham may never be as productive a receiver as Gronkowski or Graham have been thus far, but he certainly has the talent (and quarterback) to catch over 60 balls annually with a yards per catch well above the 9.9 yards he's averaged his first two seasons.
With a full offseason to become more comfortable in Jay Gruden's offense, and no clear-cut No. 2 receiver (outside of third-round pick Mohamed Sanu), Gresham could see a jump in his production if the Bengals start to utilize him as a downfield option. Most of Gresham's receptions thus far have come on short routes that do not take advantage of the athleticism that made him the highest-rated tight end in the 2010 draft.