When Arthur Smith accepted the job to become the head coach of the Falcons, most people pointed out his impressive rushing attack in Tennessee, sparking hope regarding the hire. A consistent run game is something Atlanta hasn’t had in quite a long time. Smith did it with the Titans through multiple tight end sets and a lesser-known running back named Derrick Henry.
The Falcons ended up drafting Kyle Pitts 4th overall, which gave Smith a balanced tight end room — a rookie phenom, a sixth offensive lineman in Lee Smith, and Hayden Hurst. The Falcons’ offense predictably used more two and three tight end sets than most of the league. According to Sharp Football Stats, Atlanta recorded 280 plays from 12 personnel (2 TEs) or about 27% of all offensive plays, which ranked fifth in the NFL. They also deployed 13 personnel (3 TEs) 80 times or about 8% of offensive plays, ranking fourth among all teams.
Smith sees tight ends as potential mismatches and wants to use them as often as possible. However, the tight end room looks rather bare at this point in the offseason. Kyle Pitts headlines the group, but the depth is questionable at best. Parker Hesse, Daniel Helm, and Ryan Becker round out the depth chart. The position is a sneaky big need because of Smith’s desire to run so many multiple tight end sets.
So I wouldn’t be surprised if the Falcons added a veteran from the free-agent market or selected one high in the draft later this month, and the front office is doing their due diligence as Atlanta recently hosted UCLA’s Greg Dulcich.
One of the Draft’s top TE’s, #UCLA’s Greg Dulcich, continues a busy month with a Top-30 visit with the #Falcons today and tomorrow. He’s met with over 20 teams in the past month, including with TE-needy teams such as the #Bengals, #Packers, #Colts & #Chargers, among others.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 11, 2022
Some draft pundits believe Dulcich is the best tight end in the upcoming draft, but he’s only projected to be a mid-round selection. I’d guess he goes late-second or early-third round.
In 12 games, Dulcich caught 42 passes for 725 yards and five touchdowns as the Bruins’ top receiver last season, leading all Pac-12 tight ends in receiving yards and earning first-team All-Pac 12 honors.
Dulcich is closer to Pitts than Lee Smith in that he’s a receiver first and blocker second, which might even be stretching it. The Falcons don’t have that traditional tight end like Smith, who can handle blocking defensive ends one-on-one, and Dulcich isn’t that guy either. However, the Falcons need pass catchers; we all know the receiver room is among the worst in the league.
— SportsTalkATL.com (@SportsTalkATL) April 4, 2022