We’re finally approaching the beginning of the 2020 NFL season, with only a week left until the first games kick off. I’ll be continuing my Player Profile series in the meantime, where we’ll take a look at each of the players on Atlanta’s roster. I’ll break down their measurables, past production, and try to project their 2020 season with the Falcons.
After taking a look at the projected starters, we now turn our attention to the depth on the Falcons’ roster. Today I’ll be discussing TE Luke Stocker—a reliable blocker and receiver who spent 2019 with the Falcons only to find himself cut early in the offseason, then re-signed mid-way through training camp.
TE Luke Stocker
Contract: $750K cap hit, free agent in 2021
Career Production: 114 games played, 77 games started | 76 receptions for 630 yards (8.3 YPR) and 5 TDs | 65.9 overall PFF rating
2019 Production: 15 games played, 9 games started | 8 receptions for 53 yards (6.6 YPR), 14.3% drop rate | 63.0 overall PFF rating
Previous Teams: Drafted in the 4th round (#104 overall) by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2011-2017), Tennessee Titans (2017-2018), Atlanta Falcons (2019-present)
Early in the offseason, we expected a drastically different TE room heading into the 2020 season. Austin Hooper was allowed to walk in free agency and Luke Stocker was cut, leaving Jaeden Graham as the only holdover from 2019. Fast forward to the end of training camp, and aside from trade addition Hayden Hurst at the top of the depth chart, things might be more similar than different. That’s because Luke Stocker has returned to Atlanta, presumably to take up his previous job as a primary blocker and tertiary receiving option.
Fans should remember Stocker from a relatively forgettable 2019 campaign with the Falcons, where he caught 8 passes for 53 yards (for a very pedestrian 6.6 YPR) and was surprisingly ineffective as a blocker. This performance—particularly as a blocker—was uncharacteristic of Stocker over his career, however. Stocker had a solid 7 seasons in Tampa Bay before being cut late in the 2017 season. He was then picked up by the Tennessee Titans on a two-year deal, and turned in his best season as a pro in 2018.
Historically, Stocker has been a good blocker and a passable receiver. His flexibility to line up as a FB and in different positions due to his athleticism adds to his value. In 2020, I’d expect Stocker to have a smaller role than in previous years as the TE3 who will be asked to block on most occasions. While I personally preferred someone like Khari Lee at this spot, Stocker’s late addition probably signals a lack of trust in the younger players by the coaching staff.
Projection: Luke Stocker had a disappointing season in 2019 that led to his cut early in the offseason, but has returned on a much cheaper deal late in training camp. This probably means he’s a shoe-in for the TE3 spot, but I’d expect his role to be smaller than it was last year due to the presence of Hayden Hurst and the emergence of Jaeden Graham.