Pop quiz, smart folks: Who was the 18th-best fullback in the NFL back in 2014, per Pro Football Focus? Here's the answer, because I hate suspense:
DiMarco was a decent-enough fullback for the Falcons in 2013 and 2014, but he blossomed into a tremendous asset for the Falcons' offense, with some bone-jarring blocks, a few timely receptions, and quality special teams play. He went to the Pro Bowl because of it, which was a well-deserved honor. He's on the Falcons roster for at least one more year, with a deal that expires after 2016.
Trying to figure out what you should expect from DiMarco in 2016 is a little tougher, though. He's quite obviously a good fullback, but he's operating in an offense that actually utilizes the position, and despite the offense's less than stellar production at times, he had two capable running backs, a solid line, and the threat of Julio Jones to help him look good. The entire offense, with the exception of Julio, had the same advantages a year ago.
That's what gives me pause about both DiMarco and Freeman, players I firmly believe are quality all-around options who may be in for a little regression in production this season. Freeman may see some of his carries stolen by Coleman, while DiMarco may simply be on the field a little less with Austin Hooper in the fold and the Falcons likely to feature three wide receivers a little more often in 2016 (since, you know, Kyle Shanahan isn't likely to ignore his new #2 receiver). DiMarco can still have a tremendous year on fewer snaps and I'm not going to bet against him doing so, but it's something to think about.
I'm hopeful DiMarco will repeat his 2015, earn a long-term deal from Atlanta, and pave the way for the likes of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman for many years to come. What are your expectations?