There is no true way of predicting who will be drafted in the upcoming draft, but history would say that the first overall will often be a quarterback. That might not necessarily be the case in the 2011 draft for the Carolina Panthers, but whichever team takes a QB first in the draft historically will take a tight end in the draft. In fact, since the 2000 draft, eight of the eleven teams that took the first QB in the draft ended up drafting a tight end in the draft. Half of those (nearly 1/3 of the teams that picked the first QB in the draft) took a tight end with their next pick, either in the 1st or 2nd rounds.

Here is the data from the last 11 drafts:

As you can see, teams that take the top QB in the draft like to take tight ends to compliment the young gun. This may come as a slight surprise to some because a tight end is rarely a game changer. Tight ends are not as valuable as a left tackle, they aren't as dynamic as a wide receiver or a running back, and they don't defend the other team. So why would you take a tight end in the same draft as your new passer, especially early in the draft? Simple. Versatility, potential and dynamics.

Tight ends are receiving threats for a QB, and that instantly helps a QB, but the best part of it is that they are short and intermediate pass catchers. This mean that the quarterbacks aren't expected to drop back and spend time under pressure, and it also gives the young passer a potential short range gain or a checkdown. Tight ends also are used to block which would give the QB more time to pass the ball when needed.

Overall a tight end could be called a young quarterback's best friend because they are used to give the quarterback a wide range of options to make them do less. That is why we have seen nearly 3/4 of the teams who take the first QB in the draft take a tight end at some point, and that is why we can expect to see it again.