Four years ago when Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff made the trade for future Hall-of-Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez, he knew what he was getting — a hard-worker whose career resume spoke for itself.
What Dimitroff may not have expected was how Gonzalez would change his own perceptions of the tight end position and how important he would make it.
Speaking to the media at the NFL Scouting Combine on Friday, Dimitroff was asked about the tight end position — one that could be of need, regardless of what Gonzalez decides is the best future for him — and Dimitroff didn’t hesitate to explain just how important the position is to the Falcons after seeing what Gonzalez has been capable of.
“To catch over 100 balls in a season as a 36-year-old is unbelievable, and I think, what he’s done on the field and off the field for us, it has changed our opinion of what a tight end is, at least what our goals are in acquiring a tight end,” Dimitroff said. “That doesn’t come around just every day, and we know that.”
The 2013 draft class at the tight end position looks deep and impressive, and Dimitroff said as much during his Friday press conference. Whether the Falcons will ultimately pull the trigger on Gonzalez’s eventual successor is yet to be know, but Dimitroff said the group will get a look from the Falcons.
“We talk about it all the time when we’re in our draft room, if you can find a tight end who can block, as well as run a route, separate, catch a ball and turn upfield — and there are a number of them in the league right now. It’s not just Tony Gonzalez,” Dimitroff said. “(There’s) a number of these tight ends who have been very prolific in our league and are such high-percentage shots that make us all realize the importance of the position and we definitely don’t underestimate when we’re evaluating.”