Dallas Clark is Not a Hall of Fame Tight End

Dallas Clark is a phenomenal player.

He’s one of my favorites.

He’s a vital cog in the Indianapolis offense.

My nephew is named after him.

He’s also historically overrated by most pundits.

We saw last season what happened to the Colts offense when Clark went down with injury. While Indy replaced his his production with Jacob Tamme, the vertical stretching of the defense that Clark provides was missing. He’s a fantastic and important player, there’s no question.

However, when discussing the Colts of the past decade, Dallas Clark frequently gets words like ‘future Hall of Famer’ attached to him. 

It’s a patently ridiculous assertion.

Dallas Clark has been to ONE Pro Bowl in his career.

One.

He’s a dynamic and talented player, but he’s not anywhere near the kind of ‘all time’ player that some perceive him to be. Take note of the following:

Dallas Clark has one 1,000 yard receiving season. There have been 28 such seasons by tight ends. 7 have done it more than once.

Clark has had 60 receptions in a season just twice. It has been done 131 times by a tight end. 16 different tight ends have done it three times or more.

Since 2003 (Clark’s rookie year), he’s 6th in receptions behind Gonzalez, Gates, Witten, Shockey, and Chris Cooley.

Since 2003, he’s 6th in yards behind the same men.

Since 2003, he’s 3rd in touchdowns, but is 25 behind Gates, and 7 behind Gonzalez.

If we just take the last five years, he’s still 6th in yards and receptions and 2nd in touchdowns.

All-time, Clark is 25th in receptions by a tight end. He’s 31st in yards, and 12th in touchdowns.  He’s much closer to Marcus Pollard than to Tony Gonzalez.

There are eight tight ends in the Hall. Here is how Clark, Antonio Gates, Jason Witten, and Tony Gonzalez stack up:

G Rec Yards TD YPC All Pro PB
Mike Ditka 158 427 5812 43 13.6 2 5
John Mackey 139 331 5236 38 15.8 3 5
Shannon Sharpe 204 815 10060 62 12.3 4 8
Dave Casper 147 378 5216 52 13.8 4 5
Ozzie Newsome 198 662 7980 47 12.1 1 3
Charlie Sanders 128 336 4817 31 14.3 3 7
Jackie Smith 210 480 7918 40 16.5 0 5
Kellen Winslow 109 541 6741 45 12.5 3 5
Dallas Clark 104 393 4535 44 11.5 1 1
Antonio Gates 119 529 7005 69 13.2 3 7
Tony Gonzalez 222 1069 12463 88 11.7 5 11
Jason Witten 127 617 6967 36 11.3 2 7

Clark has a long way to go. He lags well behind his peers in both All Pro and Pro Bowl honors. Despite playing in an offensively heavy era, it’s plain to see that he would need another 4-5 2009 type seasons before he could be taken seriously as a Hall of Fame candidate. He’s the fourth to fifth best tight end of this era, clearly behind Gonzalez, Gates, and Witten.

Clark is a great player and will one day be in the Indianapolis Ring of Honor, as he should be. He deserves to be admired and celebrated as a classy, talented player.

But in terms of his all-time status, he’s vastly overrated.

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