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Travis Kelce

How long can Kelce keep it going?

I’m not excited about drafting Travis Kelce. He’ll be 35 in October. But I may wind up ranking him No. 1 among tight ends anyway.

While it’s easy to make a case against Kelce, it gets harder when you actually have to find someone else to put up in that No. 1 spot. T.J. Hockenson is coming off a knee injury that will likely shelve him into October. And Kelce is simply a notch better than Mark Andrews. George Kittle frequently gets hurt.

Sam LaPorta and Trey McBride, I suppose, might be the possibilities. But just one year of production for each guy. And we may view McBride differently after Arizona picks one of those elite wide receivers tomorrow night.

While Kelce is an older tight end and declined in the second half of last year, he sure turned it up nicely in the playoffs, averaging 8 catches for 89 yards in four games, with 3 TDs.

And as I look at other old tight ends, it becomes apparent that Kelce at 35 might be very similar to what he was at 34.

Since the merger, four other tight ends who were 34 years old at the end of the season have finished with top-10 numbers (using PPR scoring): Pete Metzelaars, Shannon Sharpe, Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates. Two of those tight ends (Sharpe, Gonzalez) came back and put up even better stats when they were 35. Gates declined, but he missed five games.

Metzelaars (in the mid-‘90s) declined, but I’m not sure I should even be listing him. He was never up there with those other guys (who should all wind up in the HOF).

I’m not quitting on Kelce just yet.

PlayerStats at 34Stats at 35Diff
Pete Metzelaars, Buff.49-428-520-171-3-55%
• Shannon Sharpe, Den.61-686-362-770-827%
• Tony Gonzalez, Atl.70-656-680-875-722%
Antonio Gates, S.D.69-821-1256-630-5-33%
Travis Kelce, K.C.93-984-5?-?-??

—Ian Allan

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