The third-ranked Falcon player is none other than tight end Tony Gonzalez. Click here to see how this ranking system was devised.
Total Score: 90
Player Grade: 82 out of 100
Teams he could start for: 30 out of 32
Teams he is best position player: 30 out of 32
Teams he could find role on: 32 out of 32
Peak-Year Bonus: +0
Positional Bonus: +3
Gonzalez had an uncannily good 2012 season. At age 36, he managed to put together the best season he’s had since joining the Falcons in 2009.
Gonzalez has always shined on third downs and in the redzone. His size, athleticism, hands, and ability to get position against defenders makes him virtually impossible to cover in these “money” situations. He’s ostensibly the NFL’s equivalent of a power forward, who goes down to the low block and posts up defenders.
The big question about Gonzalez going into 2013 is whether or not he can have a repeat of what he did in 2012. He’s well past his peak seasons, as only he and Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe were able to be productive tight ends up to age 35. For most other tight ends, even very good receiving ones, they don’t really make it past age 32. It’s why conventional wisdom suggests that Gonzalez could see a dip in his production due to the belief that at some point his age will catch up to him.
But he should still manage to defy the odds in 2013. Considering that it will be his final season, he’ll be highly motivated to succeed in order to help the Falcons win a title. He also should get plenty of opportunities with Roddy White and Julio Jones lining up on the outside of him to draw coverages away from him. And no one takes care of their body better than he does. It all means that Gonzalez could be in store to even top his production from a year ago and become the first Falcon tight end to ever top 1,000 yards in a season. If he manages to get 1,031 yards this year, he’ll become the team’s all-time receiving yards leader at the position, doing in five seasons what it took Jim Mitchell more than a decade to do in the 70s.