Of all the offensive players on the roster, Falcons tight end Austin Hooper may be one of the more intriguing. A relatively strong rookie season coupled with a good off-season could lead to a nice up-tick in Hooper’s productivity. Hooper also figures to be the starting tight-end this year with veteran Jacob Tamme gone. How many yards might Hooper get in his second year? Let’s take a look.
Well, we only have one season with which to judge Hooper, so we’ll take a slightly different tact here. We will also consider Jacob Tamme’s role in this offense the past two years in determining our target. First, here are Hooper’s numbers from 2016:
2016 - 19 receptions, 271 yards
Here’s what Jacob Tamme managed in the offense:
2016 - 8 games, 210 yards
2015 - 15 games, 657 yards
Our target number
Hooper will still split snaps with Levine Toilolo, but figures to be the feature tight end in the offense this year. Given that, and Toilolo’s unremarkable abilities as a receiver, we’ll set the target number at 600 yards.
Why he’ll go under
Right now, Hooper is still an unknown. The second year for players can be a big leap year, but we’ve yet to see Hooper really take over a game. As always, the big issue is that in this offense, Matt Ryan has plenty of weapons to throw to. Hooper figures to be - at best - the fifth option in the offense behind Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Taylor Gabriel and even Devonta Freeman.
Why he’ll go over
Hooper is the only decent pass catching option at tight end the Falcons have. Additionally, spending time with Ryan during the off-season has undoubtedly helped develop a strong rapport with the MVP of the league. Ryan also showed trust in Hooper as he targeted him repeatedly in the Super Bowl. When you look at the yards that Tamme put up in the offense in 2015, there’s no reason to believe Hooper can’t hit 600 with relative ease.
Over/Under: 600 yards for Austin Hooper
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