With the Falcons trading third year tight end Eric Saubert to the Patriots on Monday morning, the obvious question is what does it mean for the team? There was a presumption going into the season that Saubert would be the third tight end and the second true receiving option behind Austin Hooper. With him gone, it opens up a range of possibilities, with some more likely than others.
Sticking with the old guys
This is the safe, easy option to consider. With Austin Hooper locked in as the starter, the team may opt to carry both Luke Stocker and Logan Paulsen in 2019. Neither Stocker or Paulsen are good receiving options, so this could hint towards using our tight ends more as blockers this season. Stocker and Paulsen are decent enough, but both guys are north of 30 and are clearly only short-term options.
This isn’t a particularly exciting possibility, but it does make some sense. With receiving options galore on the roster, the Falcons may think they have more than enough guys to catch the ball without having to worry about a true secondary receiving tight end. They can wait until 2020 to find another player in the draft that they could invest in at the position.
It’s time for some youth
A little less likely is the possibility of going with a younger player with upside. Specifically, Jaeden Graham. At just 23 years old, the second year player out of Yale spent all of 2018 on the team’s practice squad and was signed to a reserve/future contract on December 31st last year. So far this preseason Graham has looked good in camp. He finished the 2018 preseason with a strong performance in week 4 and he’s a definite name to keep an eye on over the next several preseason games. As the third tight end, he won’t see many targets this year anyways, so it may make some sense for the team to slot him in at that third spot on the depth chart. If he performs well this preseason, the Falcons may not want to risk trying to stash him on the practice squad again.
The guy from across the pond?
This seems unlikely, but Alex Gray has been with the team for the past few years. The former rugby player out of the UK has flashed on the field at times. His athleticism seems good, but his lack of experience in American football is a big issue. At this point, it would be shocking if Gray was the option for the team, but stranger things have happened. Consider this one to be a long shot at best.
With a roster spot open for the Falcons, it’s entirely possible they fill it with another prospect they like or a veteran option at the position. However, with only three preseason games remaining, it seems highly unlikely they’re going to find someone that’s going to instantly become the third option ahead of guys like Paulsen or Graham.
What do you think the team will do?
What will the Falcons do at tight end?
This poll is closed
Safe: Logan Paulsen
Upside: Jaeden Graham
International: Alex Gray