Pro Football Focus has moved on to tight ends in their pass blocking numbers, and when you think of blocking tight ends, the name that should immediately come to mind is that of Jim Kleinsasser, the longest-tenured Minnesota Viking and a guy that has been at the top of his game for years.
According to PFF, Kleinsasser was asked to stay in and pass block on 113 snaps in 2010 (and I'm not sure if those count the times that he lined up in the backfield or strictly the times he lined up at tight end), and allowed just two quarterback pressures all season long.
He's not just a one-year wonder, as we all know, but PFF quantifies this by declaring that Kleinsasser is the best pass-blocking tight end of the last three years. In 327 pass blocking snaps over the course of the last three seasons, Kleinsasser has allowed just eight pressures that entire time. To illustrate how good that is, PFF lists seven tight ends that allowed eight or more pressures in 2010 alone.
At the other end of the spectrum, Chicago Bears (alleged) blocking tight end Brandon Manumaleuna gave up a whopping twenty-four pressures in 2010 alone, yet was inexplicably left in to block for the second-highest number of snaps for any tight end in the NFL last season. It probably has to do with the fact that everybody knows that Greg Olsen, Chicago's other tight end, damn sure can't block either. . .Manumaleuna and Olsen rank first and fourth, respectively, as the most inefficient blocking tight ends of the last three years according to PFF.
With the drafting of Kyle Rudolph in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft, it really makes me hope that Kleinsasser doesn't get squeezed out or lost in the shuffle. Even at his advanced age, he's sure as hell a better player than Jeff Dugan. Could the answer be to stop wasting money to pay Naufahu Tahi and move Kleinsasser back to fullback? He's enough of a team guy where I'm sure he'd do it if he were asked, but I'm not sure that it's the best answer.