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LA Chargers

Don't be dissin' Dissly

Taking a careful look at each player (which is what I do at this point of the year), something interesting tends to bubble to the surface with most of them. Case point for today, Will Dissly. He’s been a lot better than I thought.

More effective, anyway. Dissly has caught 84 percent of the passes thrown his way over the last five years. Of the 35 other tight ends with at least 100 catches, none of them have caught 80 percent of their targets. (Nor have the other 24 with at least 100 targets (but fewer than 100 catches), but in the interests of not making the chart impossibly large, I’m not listing them).

CATCH RATES FOR TIGHT ENDS (last 5 years)
PlayerTgtNoYardsAvgTDPct
Will Dissly1421191,26510.61183.8%
Durham Smythe1471171,1259.6379.6%
Robert Tonyan1871441,47210.21677.0%
Trey McBride1451101,0909.9475.9%
George Kittle4403294,38213.33074.8%
C.J. Uzomah1531131,1129.81173.9%
Travis Kelce6884976,09212.34272.2%
Dallas Goedert3802743,25511.91872.1%
Irv Smith1521099738.91071.7%
Foster Moreau1571121,30011.61371.3%
Cole Kmet2962112,11810.01571.3%
Tyler Higbee4122932,93010.01871.1%
Noah Fant3552522,80511.11471.0%
Hayden Hurst2581821,7399.61470.5%
Austin Hooper3192252,24510.01570.5%
Darren Waller4723323,94611.91870.3%
Tyler Conklin2972072,0189.7769.7%
Jordan Akins2141491,66211.2869.6%
Dalton Schultz3722582,64110.22269.4%
Evan Engram4913403,2589.61569.2%
Pat Freiermuth2241551,5379.91169.2%
Jonnu Smith2621812,00811.11569.1%
Gerald Everett3422352,2699.71468.7%
T.J. Hockenson5003413,54710.42368.2%
Hunter Henry3642482,79611.32668.1%
Mark Andrews5133474,30512.43767.6%
David Njoku2951992,23911.31767.5%
Logan Thomas3022001,8589.31566.2%
Jimmy Graham1661081,10910.31865.1%
Dawson Knox2661711,96611.52264.3%
Zach Ertz4312722,6079.61763.1%
Mike Gesicki3832382,65911.22062.1%
Cameron Brate1841141,0128.91062.0%
Jared Cook2081281,77313.92061.5%
Rob Gronkowski1661001,42514.31360.2%
Kyle Pitts2591492,04913.8657.5%

If we look instead at yards per target (recognizing that it’s easier to catch short balls around the line of scrimmage), then Dissly comes in at No. 2, a yard behind George Kittle. The others in the top 5 are all elite-type guys, including Travis Kelce, Rob Gronkowski and Dallas Goedert (with Mark Andrews and Darren Waller not far behind).

So purely by some of these counting stats, Dissly grades out as a surprisingly good tight end. The Chargers seem to realize as much; they signed him to a three-year deal worth $14 million, including $10 million guaranteed. They also signed better-known Hayden Hurst, but Hurst got only $1.1 million on a one-year deal.

Entering this process, I was thinking Hurst would be their main tight end. He’s got more pass-catching experience, with 50-catch seasons with Atlanta and Cincinnati. Now I’m not so sure. With the Chargers looking to rely more on a power running game, I’m thinking both of those tight ends will be playing plenty and catching some balls. (If we’re drafting today, I’m not selecting either of them.)

It seems right now that there is some valuing of blocking ability. I say that because there was a similar financial dynamic in Cincinnati, with Drew Sample (who’s mostly a blocker) getting a much larger deal than Mike Gesicki and Tanner Hudson, who are better pass catchers. Sample will count more against the cap this year than both of those guys combined.

Both Sample and Dissly, by the way, played their college football at Washington.

—Ian Allan

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