Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, Vernon Davis, Julius Thomas, Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten. The tight end position in the NFL is evolving. They are running like wide out's and as big as linebackers. It seems like ever since the New England Patriots drafted Gronk and Aaron Hernandez in the 2010 NFL Draft, teams have tried to copy that dangerous blueprint .... not just one, but two pass catching TE's.
The Cincinnati Bengals have two first round TE's (Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert), the Indianapolis Colts took two TE's within the first 65 picks of the 2012 NFL Draft (Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen), the Baltimore Ravens have two young TE's in Dennis Pitta and Ed Dixon, and so on and so forth.
It's a copycat league. Always has been and always will be. Teams see the success of dangerous pass-catching TE's and teams will try to mimic it. Therefore, teams are paying tight end's more than ever before. Tennessee Titans gave Delanie Walker a big deal, St.Louis did the same for Jared Cook, Giants forked over some cash for a former 1,000 yard receiver in Brandon Myers, and even Martellus Bennett is a huge focal point in new head coach Marc Trestman's offense.
Now a days you don't just have one...you have two or in some offenses (like Denver, Houston, Philly, New England) you can have THREE TE's who are a threat on every play. Too fast for a linebacker and too big for a defensive back. What will defensive coaches do now? Watch for that hybrid S/LB to start evolving in the NFL. Copycat league. Remember.
(Here is a list of the NFL's top TE's up to week 13 and their numbers. Their INSANE)