With the NFL draft approaching, I’m going to kick off a series in which I rank the team needs at each position group. We’ll start with the tight ends.
The earlier the ranking, the greater the need.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: If the season started today, they’d be in big trouble at tight end. Dallas Clark, last year’s starter, remains an unsigned free agent. Luke Stocker isn’t suddenly going to turn into a stud. I think there’s a very good chance Tampa Bay tries to get a tight end fairly early in the draft. If that doesn’t happen, the Bucs might have to bring back Clark or find some other veteran.
Atlanta Falcons: Tony Gonzalez is back for one more year (at least). There’s a school of thought that the Falcons should draft a tight end early and use this year to groom him. That might not be a bad idea. But I think the Falcons have more pressing needs. They’re in a win-now mode and they’ll probably be in a similar situation next season. It’s not an absolute necessity for them to get a tight end now.
Carolina Panthers: There’s no need for the Panthers to consider drafting a tight end early because Greg Olsen is firmly entrenched as the starter. Carolina could look for some depth to go with Ben Hartsock and Richie Brockel later in the draft.