NFC South: tight end Power Rankings

Our Power Rankings for the tight ends are out and we’ve got two NFC South representatives.

Atlanta’s Tony Gonzalez came in at No. 6 and Tampa Bay’s Kellen Winslow is No. 7. It should be as simple as that, but it’s not. I’ve already gone out and bought a steel-reinforced floor to support the NFC South mailbag because I’m expecting heavy (and not necessarily happy) responses from fans of the San Diego Chargers and Antonio Gates.

The reason is I voted Gonzalez No. 2, one spot behind Dallas’ Jason Witten and one ahead of Gates. Every other ballot had Witten and Gates in one of the top two spots and it turns out Gates came up one point short of Witten in the final tally. You can blame that on me or the three other voters who put Witten at No. 1.

Go ahead and fill up the mailbag, but understand one thing: I wasn’t out to undercut Gates’ chances of landing at No. 1. I think he’s a great tight end, but I made a conscious decision to rank Gonzalez as highly as I did.

There aren’t any firm parameters on these Power Rankings, and I fully realize Gonzalez is nearing the end of his career and his numbers are dipping. But the reason I put him at No. 2 is because I strongly believe Gonzalez is the best tight end ever to play the game. In my eyes, that means something. I even considered putting him No. 1 on my ballot.

Even in his old age, Gonzalez still caught 70 passes last season and the Falcons went 13-3 and made the playoffs. Dallas and San Diego didn’t, so I’ve got no regrets about putting Gonzalez at No. 2.

I had Winslow at No. 6 on my ballot and that’s the highest vote he received. When we do these Power Rankings next year, I’ve got a hunch others will be giving Winslow some more attention. He’s made some noise about wanting to double his statistics next season. Well, that’s a little optimistic because it would put him at 132 catches for 1,460 yards and 10 touchdowns. But, hey, didn’t we all think Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris was a little crazy last season when he started saying the Bucs would win 10 games?

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