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State of the Steelers' Roster: Tight Ends

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cgolden continues his breakdown of the Steelers roster with an overview of the TE position. The pictures and quotes are complimentary of yours truly. Mr. Golden is a married man. A man of such high character would never willingly seek out pictures of long-legged, strikingly good-looking, young women :)

-Blitz-

With two first-day picks used on the position in the past three drafts, the tight end position is arguably one of the strongest groups on this team. Miller and Spaeth have the size and athleticism to stretch defenses, be above average blockers, and generally give defenses fits when and if utilized properly.

Heath Miller  

Age and 07 Statistics: 25 years old (10/22/82) - 47 receptions for 566 yards (12 ypc) and 7 TDs in 16 games

Contract Status: signed through 2009 with cap hits of $1.5 million (2008) and 1.6 million (2009)

2007 Analysis: Miller posted the best season of his young career in 2007 setting new highs in every single category. He saved his best for last when he caught 8 passes for 85 yards (both season highs) and a touchdown in the playoff game. In three seasons, Miller has yet to miss a game and is one of Ben's most reliable targets.

2008 Outlook: The only thing keeping Miller from being in the conversation of 'best tight end' is that he doesn't get enough looks. Miller caught 77% of the passes thrown his way (3rd highest of TE with at least 25 passes) and converted 68.1% of his receptions into first downs. He should only get better the next couple of years and hopefully the Steelers start talking about extending his contract soon after Ben is locked up.


Hopefully in 2008, Heath claims
his place among the elite NFL TEs

Matt Spaeth

Age and Statistics: 23 years old (11/24/84) - 5 receptions for 34 yards and 3 TDs in 14 games

Contract Status: signed through 2009 with cap hits of $558K (2008) and $648K (2009)

2007 Analysis: Spaeth got off to a great start in his first season with 3 receptions and 2 touchdowns his first two games, but injuries limited his playing time for the rest of the season. In his limited playing time in his rookie season, Spaeth proved to be a reliable target, especially around the goal line.  

2008 Outlook: If Spaeth can become a decent blocker, the Steelers' double tight end sets could become a frequent look. He may never take over the top spot from Miller but there are enough passes to go around in this offense.

Jerame Tuman  

Age and '07 Statistics: 31 years old (3/24/76) - 1 reception for 9 yards and 1 TD in 6 games

Contract Status: signed through 2008 with a cap hit of $1.7 million

2007 Analysis: A bad back limited Tuman to just six games but with Spaeth and Miller both ahead of him on the depth chart he wouldn't have gotten much playing time regardless. With that being said though, Tuman is still the best blocking tight end on the roster.  

2008 Outlook: Considering that the team would save $1.1 million if he is cut, I would be really surprised if Tuman makes the '08 roster. His age and injury status don't help his prospects in Pittsburgh much either.


Don't go Mrs. Tuman. Jerame can fly home on
weekends from his new city

Needs: Unless I'm missing something there aren't any needs here with the exception of getting the ball to Miller and Spaeth more. At their age I wouldn't trade this duo for any other teams top 2 tight ends.