As nondescript as his career may appear to be while watching it unfurl over the past 15 seasons, Greg Olsen is in all likelihood a Hall of Fame tight end.
Even prior to his injury to his foot with the fascia injury, and what may have been his last game ever considering his age and length of playing career and amount of abuse his body is taken throughout his career, Greg Olsen has compiled some of the most gaudy receiving numbers by a tight end to have ever played in the National Football League.
Let’s look at how he’s stacked up historically.
Greg Olsen if he never played another down would finished with the fifth most receptions in NFL history behind only Shannon Sharpe, Antonio Gates, Jason Witten (who I hate and wrote about here “Jason Witten HOF? Somewhere, Todd Christensen Is Sick To His Tummy“), and Tony Gonzalez.
In analyzing the historical significance of the tight end position statistically, it becomes very apparent very quickly how great Tony Gonzalez was leading all NFL tight ends and passes caught, yards, and 2nd most in tight end receptions. In terms of touchdown receptions by a tight end Greg Olsen is eighth all time with a total of 60 receiving touchdowns — only seven tight ends have ever accumulated more in history: Shannon Sharpe, Vernon Davis, Jason Witten, Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, Tony Gonzalez, and Antonio Gates.
When analyzing all-time tight end stats, it becomes of a game of who was the second best hiding in history. And while Olsen was not the second best tied in history because of Shannon Sharpe and Antonio Gates and to some level possibly even Rob Gronkowski, as his career progresses in my opinion he’s at least the fourth best tight end to play in the last 30 years.
You could argue all day that Ozzie Newsome is better and maybe he is. Jackie Smith needs to be in the conversation As well. Kellen Winslow Senior also enters the fray. Jimmy Graham’s name also has to be mentioned as a top 10 all-time tight end. But Olsen is better than all of them statistically and by duration of career.
In terms of yardage, Greg Olson, if he never played another down, would retire with the fifth most receiving yours by a tight end in NFL history with 8,668 yards.
Olsen’s 60 receiving touchdowns place him in eighth in history amongst tight ends behind only Shannon Sharpe (by 1), Vernon Davis (by 3), Jason Witten, Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, Tony Gonzalez, and ultimately Antonio Gates in number one.
The 6‘5“ Olsen was drafted with the thirty-first pick in the 2007 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. During a 15-year career for the Bears, Panthers, and Seahawks, Olsen in his career made the Pro Bowl three times, was a second team All-Pro twice, won the Bryan Piccolo award, and made the all rookie team in 2007.
In terms of team success Greg Olsen made and played in the Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos as a member of the Carolina Panthers during their 15-1 season were Cam Newton won the MVP award.
In a lot of ways the title and position is different now than it’s been viewed historically regarding production. It’s very similar of the wide receiver position. When the NFL put passing production at a premium over rushing production and even defense, you almost have to excuse the numbers.
Does a reception even mean anything anymore? Are receiving yards a true metric of success? In the case of Jason Witten, NO, because he sucks and he’s just hung on long enough to put up and accumulate large numbers.
In the case of Olsen who constantly played under duress with subpar quarterbacking in a lot of cases no wide receivers to protect him, he always put up numbers and produced in the run game as a blocker.
Is Greg Olsen a Hall of Fame tight end? I think he is. He was great year and year out, consistent for multiple franchises and helped evolve the position of tight end into a legit offensive of weapon in the footsteps of Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates and others.
What hurts awesome though, is the passing numbers being racked up at historical levels to the point where numbers are no longer a metric for success as they were in almost every prior generation of tight end.
Similar to the way a player like Cris Carter and to wait forever to hear his name called. Or Tim Brown. Soon, quarterbacks will be in the same exact position. What will we do then? I’m not sure, other than the eye test, and the media generate all important sta of most Super Bowls won.
In your opinion is Greg Olsen a Hall of Famer? Or is he just another really good guy?
Comment down below and let me know your thoughts.