Last Successful Player to Hold the Job: Tony Gonzalez in 2013
Potential Candidate: Levine Toilolo
Tony Gonzalez was the greatest tight end to ever play the game. In Atlanta, he never had a season with less than 70 catches, 650 yards or six touchdowns. He averaged 82 catches, 837 yards and seven touchdowns every season during his final five years in the NFL.
The crazy part of that is it was a drop-off from his production in Kansas City. He wasn’t the same player in Atlanta that he was in Kansas City because he lost a lot of speed as he got older. However, he was still the same guy as a route-runner and always boxed out defenders.
Levine Toilolo right now is essentially a poor-man’s version of Alge Crumpler. He’s a good blocker and will make most of his money due to that. But he’s really not like the defense-stretching Gonzalez. At least, not yet. He has shown more quickness in 2013 than Gonzalez showed all five seasons in Atlanta.
He looked like a fresh and ready player compared to the worn-down Gonzalez. Sure, Gonzalez was still highly productive, but he was a poor and unwilling blocker and ran maybe three or four different types of routes during 2012 and 2013. Toilolo should be able to run more and different routes to help open up the offense.
All stats used are from Pro Football Focus' Premium Stats (subscription required), ESPN.com, CFBStats or NFL.com. All combine and pro day info is courtesy of NFLDraftScout.com. All contract information is courtesy of Spotrac and Rotoworld.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, college football, the NFL and the NFL draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.