Keeping up with the potential for Miami's players in 2012, it's time to look forward to the tight ends. Anthony Fasano has drawn mixed reviews, but he's still the starting position is still his to lose.
It's hard to judge many of the TEs because their role involves more than just catching passes. Ever since players like Tony Gonzalez and Anthonio Gates dominated in the passing game, TEs have been judged more in the receiving game than they have at blocking. The dual dominance of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez with New England had only furthered the trend of receiving TEs. While players such as Greg Olsen have followed the path of the receiving TE, Fasano has been more of the traditional TE that has been a strong run blocker. Even though some think of Fasano as a run blocking TE, he still finished 2011 with 451 yards and 2010 with 528 yards. Those numbers come in an offense where Miami often asked Fasano to be an extra blocker even on passing downs. Fasano may have ranked 23rd in receiving yards for TEs in 2011, but he was the only TE ranked in the top 25 to be targeted less than 50 times (42). Only four of the TEs ranked above him in receiving yards had a higher catch percentage (71.1%) than Fasano did as well. Even though he's not a TE to stretch the seam, only three of the TEs ranked ahead of him in yards had a higher YPC (14.1) than Fasano. Fasano also only had one dropped pass in 2011. All of this lends hope that Fasano can be an effective TE in 2012 if Miami wishes him to be more involved in the passing game.
Floor: Fasano is a strong run blocker, but will be playing in a west coast offense in 2012. With the new offense, Miami will likely ask their TE to be more involved in the passing game. With players like Charles Clay and Michael Egnew pushing for time, they could eventually make a move to take snaps away from Fasano. Clay and Egnew are more athletic and could provide more of a threat in the passing game. Still, Fasano is not a bad receiving TE. He has good hands, but isn't a seam stretching TE many would like. He has produced though when targeted and his balance of skills will keep him involved in Miami's offense. Stats: 20 receptions, 350 yards, 2 TDs.
Ceiling: Fasano may get more opportunities in Miami's offense than he has ever before. He started becoming more involved in Miami's offense back in the middle of the 2011 season and he will have more chemistry with Matt Moore than any TEs currently on Miami's roster, assuming Moore remains the starter of course. Egnew is also a rookie and most likely won't start in 2012, making Fasano's position as a starter a little safer for 2012. Though he may not be the most athletic TE and won't become one of the league's better receiving TEs, it's possible Fasano could enjoy career highs in many receiving categories. Stats: 50 receptions, 700 yards, 6 TDs.