There are a number of schools notably adept at producing NFL-caliber tight ends, but the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have to sit at the top of that list.

Active NFL tight ends with Irish roots include Anthony Fasano, John Carlson and most recently, Kyle Rudolph. And though none of those players are necessarily considered the best at their position, all three are capable, reliable starters (or was in Carlson's case).

For the Falcons, the need to get younger at tight end is something fairly self-apparent.

Though his on-field performance may indicate otherwise, Tony Gonzalez is not immortal. The Falcons are vigorously campaigning for his return, as they should. But will Gonzalez come back?

If not, replacing the most consistent pass-catcher in the history of the game, a guy who made 93 receptions for 930 yards at age 36, is not easy. It could be a harsh reality to face in 2013.