The starter: Ryan Griffin
Ryan Griffin was a player who showed some serious progress in 2015 and my have been the lone bright spot at an otherwise dismal position for the team.
Weight: 256 pounds
Career Receptions: 49
Career Receiving Yards: 586
Career TDs: 4
A sixth-round pick out of Connecticut in 2013, Griffin entered last season as third on the depth chart, but quickly found his way his way up that list. He unfortunately missed seven games due to injury, but in the end played in nine games (with four starts) and had his most productive season as a pro.
For the year, Griffin pulled down 20 receptions for 251 yards and two touchdowns. His impact was felt best upon his return from injury when he proved to be a reliable threat in the middle of the field.
With Graham now gone, Griffin looks to be entrenched as the top pass catching tight end on the roster. That doesn’t necessarily mean he will be the only starter as Houston employs two tight end sets often, but it could mean he will be the starter who affects the passing game in the biggest way in 2016.
Griffin’s sure hands and toughness over the middle could be a huge plus for new starting quarterback Brock Osweiler. However, don’t expect any gaudy numbers because after two seasons it’s becoming evident that O’Brien simply doesn’t rely on tight ends to do a lot outside of blocking.
Season prediction: 36 receptions, 425 yards, 3 touchdowns
Next: The other starter