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Insider

FBO: New additions dot the NFC South

5/1/2009

Football Outsiders analyzes the draft choices, trades and free-agent signings for all 32 NFL teams. FO already has analyzed the NFC East, NFC North and NFC West. Today, it's the NFC South.

Atlanta Falcons

The pre-draft acquisition of tight end Tony Gonzalez fills Atlanta's lone weakness on offense -- a pass-catching tight end who can give Matt Ryan a hot read outlet on blitzes, a great red zone target and a veteran desperate to win a ring. Tight ends Justin Peelle and Ben Hartsock are blockers first and are now free from receiving responsibilities. But they can't all play, and it remains to be seen how effective Gonzalez will be in Atlanta's blocking scheme. He was a decent blocker for Kansas City, but at age 33, his willingness to mix it up on the line of scrimmage may be the first thing to go. Someday he will slow as a receiver, but despite annual projections of slippage, Gonzalez remains one of the league's best. Specifically, he was very effective when the Chiefs reverted to the Pistol formation to energize their dormant offense.