Aug 18, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams tight end Lance Kendricks (88) celebrates his 23 yard touchdown reception against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE
Lance Kendricks is going to be a very busy man this season. Preseason work tilted heavily on the St. Louis Rams' second-year tight end who caught five passes for a team-high 78 yards and a touchdown. Kendricks is likely to sit on Thursday night against the Ravens, according to the Post-Dispatch, and it might be the last break in the action he gets until the Rams' Week 9 bye.
Tight end is "the NFL's new glamour" position, according to Don Banks of SI.com. He offered up a prediction this week that Kyle Rudolph of the Vikings and Jared Cook in Tennessee will be among the leading receivers at the position this season. You can put Kendricks in that category as well.
You don't really need to be a whiz with the crystal ball to figure it out. Dustin Keller was the Jets' leading pass catcher last season with 65 grabs for 815 yards and five scores. The number of catches put him ninth on the list of tight ends last season, all of whom were a step below other-worldly tight ends Gronkowski and Graham.
Keller's numbers ranked in or around the top ten in the league over the last two years, even with some viable receiving options and running backs who caught the ball.
Football Outsides predicted 54 catches for Kendricks this season, for 668 yards and four touchdowns. That would have been enough to put him in the top 15 last year, and given concerns about the Rams receivers, it might be in the low range of estimates.
Rams fans might marvel at the sight of a tight end catching passes. The last time a Rams tight end caught more than 40 was Daniel Fells in 2010, who caught 41. Only four times in the team's history has a tight end caught more than 50 passes in a season ... an we wonder why Bradford has struggled.