The Atlanta Falcons had to prepare themselves for the possibility that they would need to replace future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez after the season was over. Gonzalez had mentioned several times that retirement was a strong possibility after 16 seasons in the NFL, so mock drafts consistently took that into account early on before Gonzalez decided to come back for at least one more year. Once he did that, experts softened on the idea of Atlanta drafting a tight end in the first round.
But not all of them have.
Convincing Tony Gonzalez to return for his 17th season in the NFL certainly allows the Falcons to look at other positions with this pick but if Eifert remains on the board this late, the team would be wise to look toward the future. The 2012 Mackey Award winner boasts the talent to be drafted earlier but the depth at tight end this year could push teams to address other concerns in the first round.
If Eifert is available when the Falcons pick in the first round, he certainly makes sense for Atlanta. Even if Gonzalez is coming back, he has proven that the tight end position is important for this offense and also shown that it is unlikely he will be there in 2014.
Just because the current guy is still here, there is still room for the next guy.
More from SB Nation:
• NFL draft stock report: Who's rising or falling?
• Pat Summerall's surprising legacy with Brocnos
• Is the Packers-Vikings the NFL's best rivalry?
• Pats Pulpit: A Patriot for life
• NFL mock draft: Trades shake up first round
• The best NFL draft picks of the century