Vernon Davis and NFL's top tight ends

Eight of John Clayton's 10 best tight ends have one thing in common: a Pro Bowl quarterback.

Vernon Davis, ranked fifth, was an exception.

We hear quite a bit about tight ends taking pressure off quarterbacks, but it's tough for any tight end to produce at an elite level without a high-producing quarterback. Zach Miller might have landed on this list a year ago, but his production fell sharply with Seattle last season -- more a reflection of quarterbacks and the offense than of Miller.

Davis' 26 touchdown receptions since 2009 rank second only to Rob Gronkowski (27) among NFL tight ends. He has always had a strong rapport with Alex Smith.

Davis' playoff production sets him apart from most tight ends. He had 10 receptions for 292 yards and four touchdowns in two postseason games.

Closer Look: Clayton's Top 10 Tight Ends