It was never a secret that the Falcons needed to find their tight end of the future in the next year or two. That need is suddenly more urgent.
By declaring his intent to retire after 2012, Tony Gonzalez has changed the game. The Falcons were undoubtedly aware that this was coming—I seriously doubt a guy like Gonzo blindsides them with this, and they did sign him to a one-year deal—but it ramps up the timeline nonetheless. If you want a rookie to come in, learn from the greatest of all time and then carve out a starting spot in 2013 after Gonzo retires, you have to draft him now.
There's really no time like the present. This is widely considered to be a deep class, with top-flight talent like Dwayne Allen and intriguing projects like Orson Charles. The Falcons have complementary pieces, a jack-of-all-trades in Michael Palmer and a young, promising blocker in Ryan Winterswyk. All they're missing is the starting tight end with good hands, a guy who can take on Gonzo's mantle and contribute to an offense the Falcons are hoping will be dynamic for many years to come.
I doubt they got the veteran route again, because this is a team that needs to develop young, dynamic offensive talent. It's a team that needs more than a year-to-year solution at tight end once Gonzo hangs it up.I would put the chances of them acquiring a young tight end at close to 100%,
Who do you think the Falcons will draft?