Levine Toilolo is the closest thing to a cipher you can be when you're a 6'8" tight end playing for a professional football team. For all the ink we've spilled talking about him, it's not really clear where he fits in this football team.
Let's start with the obvious: Toilolo is not an option to start right now. His routes aren't polished, he's had a couple of costly drops and he simply can't get the separation from receivers he needs to in order to be a real threat. At the same time, the physical tools are there, his size is an asset and he's made a couple of nice catches in the end zone against defensive backs he easily dwarfs. The question for the Falcons is, what's the future look like with Toilolo?
That's an important question, because while it's always possible that Tony Gonzalez decides to return for one more season and continue to catch the ball like a wizard, it's not particularly likely. The Falcons will have to decide whether they want to dip into free agency, invest draft assets, make a trade or entrust the position to Levine Toilolo, Chase Coffman and whatever block-first UDFA they have hanging around.
For those of us who would like to see most of the team's assets going toward the offensive line and defense, having Toilolo turn into a starter would be enormous. In more ways than one, even.
So the Falcons need to ramp up Toilolo's snaps as much as they possibly can while continuing to try to contend. If he can learn on the job and improve over the off-season, he's got a shot to be a starter. He may never be a star, but with improved hands, sharper routes and that ever-present size, he can do enough to be a real weapon for Matt Ryan.
Do you think Toilolo will pan out?