NFC South Top 25: No. 17

We continue my NFC South Top 25 with No. 17:

Tony Gonzalez, tight end, Falcons

What he did in 2012: Gonzalez caught 93 passes for 930 yards and eight touchdowns while helping the Falcons reach the NFC Championship Game.

Why he’s No. 17 in 2013: Gonzalez spent most of last season saying he was 95 percent certain he would retire. But, when the season ended, the Falcons begged him to come back. They pointed to his 93 catches as proof that he still had plenty left. They pointed to the fact that they were 10 yards away from the Super Bowl as incentive for a man that has never played in one. Eventually, Gonzalez reversed course and decided to play another season. He’s 37, but I’m not expecting Gonzalez to be much different than he was a season ago. It’s not about speed or athleticism at this point. It’s about the savvy Gonzalez has and the chemistry he shares with quarterback Matt Ryan. Gonzalez still will find ways to get open and Ryan is going to get him the ball. Along with receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones, Gonzalez forms what has to be considered one of the best pass-catching trios in the NFL.

For previous entries in the NFC South top 25, click here.