Take a look at the Carolina Panthers just to see how important it is to have a tight end threat.
After that, scan the NFL to see how vital the tight end position is to teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, the New England Patriots, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Minnesota Vikings. Also, notice the coincidence that all were playoff teams as well.
The tight end play from Jacob Tamme this past season was very helpful as it eased the pain somewhat of not having a reliable #2 receiver plus not having reliable tight end options outside of Tamme.
With Levine Toilolo & Tony Moeaki, who are not long-term solutions in any way, backing up Tamme, plus the reality of Tamme being 30 and heading for unrestricted free agency in 2017, it’s not a ridiculous idea to go after a capable talent at tight end to possibly take over the reigns in 2017.
TE Jerell Adams, South Carolina
Weight: 244 lbs
2015 stats: 28 catches, 421 yards, three TDs
Strengths: Adams is a true mismatch as he has respectable size but he’s not too shabby in the speed department. For a 6-5 tight end, he has good footwork, which is arguably the most underrated trait for pass catchers. Adams’ athleticism would make him the most athletic tight end on the Falcons roster by a mile. He has a solid football IQ to work his way open when facing zone coverage. Adams is a reliable catcher and looks for yards after the catch and won’t go down of first contact. With Atlanta using zone blocking scheme, Adams has the check marks in the blocking department and will get better.
Prime example of Adams and his nice footwork. Fakes a dig on the inside, stops on a dime and loses his defender, continues with an out route, adjusts to catch the pass thrown behind him for a score:
Weaknesses: Red flag number one for Adams would be his numbers while at South Carolina, although that has some to do with being underutilized. Adams also has some stiffness in his hips and tends to run his routes upright instead of lowering his pads a little. Adams doesn’t have a great catch radius which is a little puzzling for a 6’5 pass catcher with long arms.
Bottom line: Adams is not a finished product by any means. However, he is a better option even at this juncture than Toilolo. Having Tamme for another year at least gives Adams plenty of cushion to gain a little more strength and ease his way into the offense. His receiving skills are well documented and even with the limited production, Adams has plenty of potential. The drafting of Toilolo was something similar but Toilolo didn’t show as much of a ceiling as Adams has. Grabbing Adams can go a long way to adding an athletic dimension to the tight end position for Atlanta.