With Jacob Tamme no longer on the roster and Levine Toilolo being more of a blocker than a receiver, 2017 should be a breakout year for second year tight end Austin Hooper. He was relatively quiet in 2016 until Tamme got injured. The way he finished the 2016 season should give fans hope that he can be “the guy” going forward.
Hooper has only one season on record, so we’ll take a look at Tamme’s numbers as well.
Hooper 2016 - 3 touchdowns
Tamme 2016 - 3 touchdowns
Our target number
Given the fact that Hooper won’t be splitting time with Tamme - and figures to be the dominant pass-catching tight end on the roster - we’ll set the target number at 5.5 touchdowns.
Why he’ll go under
As with any other player on this offense, the issue is the sheer number of weapons Matt Ryan has available to him. With Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Taylor Gabriel, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman all being in the receiving mix, it’s fair to wonder where exactly Hooper will land in the pecking order.
Why he’ll go over
At 6’4”, Hooper is one of the tallest receiving options available to Matt Ryan. This figures to make him a worthy red zone target as he matches up against smaller safeties and linebackers. Ryan has already shown he likes targeting Hooper in the end zone, and if that trend continues across 16 games, there’s no reason Hooper can’t beat our target easily.
Over/Under: 5.5 touchdown for Austin Hooper
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