The search for another Falcons tight end

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons are clearly thin at tight end right now. Will they add another in the upcoming draft? Sources say probably (logic is the source).

Tony Gonzalez isn't walking through the Georgia Dome tunnel in 2014. That era is over. Now the Atlanta Falcons are left with a monstrous second-year player and a few no-names at tight end. Where do they go from here?

For the past three or so years, it seems every "expert" or analyst has predicted the Falcons drafting a tight end. Tyler Eifert was the favorite in 2013, Ladarius Green the year  prior. Instead, Levine Toilolo came to Atlanta via a fourth-round pick.

As the roster stands today, the Falcons have four tight ends:

  • Toilolo: At 6-foot-8, he's a giant. His size makes him a great red-zone target, which is commonly discussed. But he isn't the best blocker, and he didn't do anything to really wow the staff in his rookie season. Unless he takes a huge leap forward in 2014, they need someone to complement him on offense.
  • Adam Nissley: He plays football sometimes.
  • Mickey Shuler: He's on the Falcons roster.
  • Andrew Szczerba: His last name is hard to spell.
If you combined the latter three, you'd have a pretty decent tight end! Someone check to see if it's possible.

So, judging by the state of the depth chart, it's obvious the Falcons need to draft a tight end. They didn't address the position in free agency. Jermichael Finley is still on the market, but he's still working his way back from a nasty injury last season. Ed Dickson is available (no he isn't he's in Carolina) ... and that's as many free agents as I'll discuss.

The remaining solution is the draft. The Falcons have visited with three prospects:
  • Jace Amaro, Texas Tech: The 6-foot-5 Red Raider is clearly a talented receiver. Good hands, good versatility. He fits the bill of a Joker tight end. Would he fit in the Falcons offense? He certainly needs a few tutorials on blocking, as he wasn't asked to do much in college. But most college tight ends need improvement here. How high would the Falcons be willing to draft him? Amaro could be a first-rounder.
  • C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa: Nearly the same height and weight as Amaro, Fiedorowicz ran just 0.02 seconds slower in the 40. He has big hands and is a reliable receiver. Suited for the traditional in-line (or Y, whatever you want to call it) role with better blocking chops than Amaro. Doesn't do a lot after the catch.
  • D.J. Tialavea, Utah State: Unlike the first two, I haven't seen much of Tialava other than random clips online. He underwent foot surgery and missed most of 2013. He'd be a developmental player/UDFA who already has a leg up on blocking.
Surely the Falcons have others in mind, but these three have been reported with visits, from what I've seen. Who else should they look at? Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Troy Niklas both could be off the board in rounds 2-3.

If they decided to wait until the later rounds, would they take a chance on someone like Colt Lyerla? An elite athlete with a ton of problems off the field, Lyerla is going to be a steal for some team if he can get his act together. But we know the Falcons stray away from those type of players, and considering he's been involved with cocaine, multiple speeding tickets, a suspended license, leaving his team in the middle of the season (am I missing anything?), we probably shouldn't even be discussing him.

I feel comfortable with Toilolo potentially starting, but the Falcons need another tight end to push him. Fiedorowicz is the one I'm rooting for. He has the tools and upside to make a great impact with the Falcons offensive scheme. Plus, he shouldn't require a first or second-round pick.

Who's the best option for Atlanta?

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