By just about any metric, the last 12 months stand out for Redskins tight end Jordan Reed. The 2015 season saw Reed emerge as a star for Washington, where he broke team records en route to nearly 1,000 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns. Then, in May, the Redskins rewarded Reed with a nearly $50 million contract extension, with $22 million guaranteed.
And the accolades keep piling up.
Redskins tight end coach Wes Phillips called Reed "maybe the most exciting player in this league," and while it might sound like hyperbole, the young tight end looks like he could be on the verge of another monster season. With Kirk Cousins cemented at quarterback, and numerous receiving threats in DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon, Jamison Crowder, veteran tight end Vernon Davis brought in as a free agent and rookie WR Josh Doctson, the Redskins offense should be dynamic this fall.
While Reed was perhaps under the radar this time last year, that is no longer the case. The MMQB.com ranked the league's top tight ends in a podcast, and Reed ranked No. 2 overall, just behind New England's Rob Gronkowski.
"Best route runner tight end in the NFL," MMQB's Andy Benoit said to describe Reed.
"He does other things well," Benoit continued, "most dangerous pure receiving threat in the league at his position."
High praise? Certainly. But look at how Reed closed the 2015 season and it makes sense. The Redskins finished the year on a four-game win streak to claim the NFC East title, in that stretch Reed grabbed 29 passes for nearly 400 yards and five touchdowns. And those stats came with Reed largely sitting out a Week 17 victory over the Cowboys.
In his first ever playoff game in January against the Packers, Reed had nine catches for 120 yards and a touchdown. In a playoff loss where the Redskins looked largely out of their element, Reed did not.
Nobody will argue that Gronk does not deserve the top tight end spot in the NFL, though if Reed can play all of 2016 like he closed 2015, that gap will continue to narrow.