1. Tony Gonzalez, 1997
It really is just a matter of time before Aaron Donald passes Tony Gonzalez on this list and that is saying something. That is no knock against Gonzalez, he is one of the best tight ends of all-time and certainly belongs on the Mount Rushmore of great tight ends.
That is just how dang good Aaron Donald is. For now, in 2021, Gonzalez is still the greatest player to be selected with the 13th overall pick.
Charger fans know Gonzalez all-too-well after his 12 seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs. While he came into the league before Antonio Gates, the Gates-Gonzalez battles and debates from the mid-2000s were fantastic for the tight end position.
Right in front of our eyes were two of the greatest to ever do it who would inspire the next wave of tight ends in Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce and George Kittle, among others.
Gates could never catch Gonzalez on the all-time receiving yards list for tight ends and it is going to take a lot to catch him. Gronk simply does not have the juice to put up the yardage in the regular season and Kelce would have to average 1,035 for another seven seasons to pass Gonzalez or 1,300 yards for another five and a half seasons.
It is possible but unlikely.
Gates did pass him and stands alone for the most touchdowns by a tight end with 116. Gates and Gonzalez are the only tight ends in the triple-digits. Gonzalez is one of just five players in NFL history with 15,000 career receiving yards and 100 career touchdowns.
He was a 14-time Pro Bowler, six-time All-Pro and is now a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.