Do the Falcons need to draft a tight end?

The Falcons haven't been the same since Tony Gonzalez left. Could a player like FSU's Nick O'Leary be the solution?

Well, Tony Gonzalez is obviously not walking through that door anytime soon. The Falcons will watch their former tight end enter Canton in a few years, but they certainly do miss him.

Gonzalez averaged 837.4 receiving yards per season in his five years in Atlanta. That was some kind of contribution from a tight end.

Then he retired and he was gone. Just like that.

Levine Toilolo took Gonzalez’s place, and it obviously wasn’t the same. In fact, Toilolo may be remembered more in the 2014 season for having to move to offensive tackle when the team had several injuries than what he did catching the ball.

Toilolo caught 31 passes for 238 yards last season and two touchdowns. That was quite a drop off from the 859 receiving yards from Gonzalez the season before.

The Falcons signed free agent tight ends Jacob Tamme and Tony Moeaki this offseason. But it’s doubtful either player is going to significantly change the position. Together, Toilolo, Tamme and Moeaki might increase the production, but it’s unlikely one player is going to emerge as a Gonzalez-like star.

So will the Falcons take a tight end in the draft? It’s very possible, but unfortunately most analysts have said this is not a great draft to need a tight end. The talent is just not there, so that means the Falcons will likely wait until later on day three to take a player at that position.

Here is a list of the top tight ends that will be available in the draft:

- Maxx WilliamsMinnesota – 6-4, 249
- Clive WalfordMiami – 6-4, 251
- Blake BellOklahoma – 6-6. 252
- Tyler KroftRutgers - 6-5, 246
- Jeff HeuermanOhio State – 6-5, 254
- Nick O’Leary – FSU – 6-3, 252

Yes, the Falcons need a tight end, but this is not a very good group. They all have a number of questions. It’s still likely the Falcons will take a player at this position later in the draft.

Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at Follow Bill at and email him at

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