The FalconsLife message board on AtlantaFalcons.com is where die-hard Falcons fans go to talk, share ideas and discuss every imaginable topic concerning the Falcons.
During the offseason we'll take a look at a hot topic on the Talk About the Falcons department of FalconsLife and examine what's on the minds of Falcons fans.
One of the debates that always takes place around draft season is whether a team should select a certain position group when there's an established starter already playing there. In the case of Atlanta this offseason, the conversation is a little more compelling because the Falcons have future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez at tight end and he's said 2012 could be his final season.
Numerous mock drafts have Atlanta selecting a tight end at their first pick in the draft, No. 55 overall. The theory is that one of the top tight ends could be available at their pick and the young incoming rookie would have the opportunity to work in an apprentice-style role under Gonzalez.
In some ways it's the classic best-player-available approach versus the drafting-for-needs approach. Both have their positives and downsides.
The debate on whether this is a good idea in this year's draft has been raging on this week on FalconsLife.
Falcons fan ol'_dirty2 poses the question: "Is this the best year to snag our next real threat at TE?"
There are numerous sides of this discussion and ol'_dirty2 begins it by saying if its between a lineman and a tight end, he'll take the lineman every time. On the other hand, he mentions that one of the top tight ends in the draft, Stanford's Coby Fleener, recently said he'd love the opportunity to play in Atlanta under Gonzalez and learn from a legend.
In one corner is the argument that says Fleener, still in a position similar to that of a job interview, would be foolish to say he wouldn't want to learn under a future Hall of Famer, or any current starting tight end or otherwise in the league.
Poster The Talon poses a followup question to all of that that is sound. "I think we can wait till next year on the tight end, rather sure up other positions," he wrote. "Who did Gronk and Hernandez learn from? The coaches, that's why you have them."
"Gronk and Hernandez" in this case are the dynamic young duo of tight ends in New England, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
While players are certainly influential to teammates in numerous ways, it's still the coaches teaching schemes designed to put its players in the best positions to be successful. Sometimes a player's best contribution to a young player is teaching him how to be a professional, how to practice and how to prepare to be the best. Findings like that for a young player can come from a number of areas on the team, not just from within the same position group.
Jbrinson, another poster, reminds everyone that former ten-year veteran tight end (and former Falcon) Alge Crumpler was present for Gronkowski and Hernandez' formidable early seasons in New England. Still the fact remains, if some teams doubt a player's approach to his work and wonder if he actually does require a mentor to help him adjust, they may think twice about drafting him at all.
Other fans dismiss the argument this year entirely because they feel the class of tight ends this year is not strong and a better candidate may exist next season when the need may be a bigger priority and the presence of a first-round pick will likely be in place.
In the end, only Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and his staff have the best idea on what direction Atlanta will go in this year's draft. But it's still always fun to imagine what you'd do if you were in the GM's chair.