NFC South a sudden hot spot for tight ends

April, 23, 2009
4/23/09
4:45
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

In the NFC South, where trends catch on quickly, there's a new one.

Well, actually it started last July when the Saints traded for Jeremy Shockey. But it looks like the division where the two-back system was the rage last year, suddenly will be known for pass-catching tight ends.

With Tony Gonzalez joining the Falcons today and Kellen Winslow joining the Buccaneers in February, the NFC South is suddenly filled with the best pass-catching tight end in history and two guys who, at least on paper, aren't that far off.

All we need now is Jeff King or Dante Rosario to step up or the Panthers to bring Wesley Walls out of retirement.

Anyway, this is suddenly looking like the showcase division for tight ends, which is a pretty strong contrast to the end of last season when, by default (Shockey's injury and no other pass catcher in the division), I selected Tampa Bay's Alex Smith as the All-NFC South tight end. These days, Smith might be No. 3 on Tampa Bay's depth chart.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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