As an avid Falcoholic reader, you certainly know the Falcons have met with this year's top tight end prospect Hunter Henry. The team is likely doing their due diligence on the entire tight end class, but Henry provides a lot of upside.
Here is ESPN's Vaughn McClure from about a month ago.
Arkansas TE Hunter Henry told me he met with Falcons TE coach Wade Harman last night. Henry has just one formal interview set up: Falcons.— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) February 25, 2016
Vaughn additionally met with Henry, and the Georgia native admitted to being a lifelong Atlanta Falcons fan. Poor guy. However, he sounded excited about potentially playing for his home team, and thinks he would be a great asset.
"I think I could create a big mismatch -- I know I would amongst the linebackers and the secondary," Henry said. "You need as many threats as you can on the field. That's a big part of the offense, so the defense can't just key on one guy."
What is interesting is the premier football analytics website, Pro Football Focus, compared Henry to one of the league's best tight ends: Travis Kelce. Here are some interesting tidbits, from their play-by-play grading and scouting intel.
Recorded zero drops in 2015; earned the highest receiving grade in the draft class each of the previous two seasons.
The Falcons have obviously lacked a downfield tight end that could catch for years. Outside of the aging Tony Gonzalez, Matt Ryan has not had a play maker at tight end. Hunter would be a quick fix for that problem, as PFF comes away impressed with his route running, hands, consistency, and speed.
His hands are so good, he may be the arch-nemesis of Leonard Hankerson.
Some of the best hands in the class—only two drops on 90 catchable passes the previous two seasons.
That is almost as impressive as being compared to Kelce, who has averaged nearly 870 receiving yards the last two seasons. Didn't Jacob Tamme have over 650 yards? Yes, but he was also one of the more targeted tight ends in the league, and his anemic 11.1 yards per catch was surprisingly the 2nd highest in the league.
Henry’s projection to the NFL is fairly straightforward. He’s played in a pro-style offense, produced for multiple seasons, and has plus athleticism. Physically-speaking he’s no Rob Gronkowski, but Henry can step in and create space versus NFL linebackers from day one.
Henry would get the enviable position of dealing with safeties and linebackers in single coverage, allowing him to produce early and often. The biggest problem is he is expected to be drafted in the 1st or 2nd round, and he may be too early at 17 and may not be there when Atlanta comes up to draft in the 2nd round.