How could Hunter Henry ignite the Atlanta Falcons’ offense?
Tight end is far from the Atlanta Falcons’ biggest need. The defense is in need of upgrades at defensive end and linebacker, but could they make a move for tight end Hunter Henry in the second round?
Henry would be the definition of taking the best player available, assuming he’s top of the Falcons’ board at No. 50. While there are bigger needs on the team, adding a player of Henry’s caliber would give the offense a significant upgrade.
Julio Jones was relied on too heavily in 2015. Kyle Shanahan’s approach makes sense: Jones is the best player on the team and you want to give him the football as often as possible. But surrounding him with talent will ease the pressure and let his star shine even brighter.
The Falcons have been proactive in trying to improve their group of pass-catchers. Last year, wide receiver Leonard Hankerson and tight end Jacob Tamme were added in free agency and a fourth-round draft choice was used on wideout Justin Hardy. Hankerson couldn’t stay healthy (or catch the football), and despite flashes as a solid No. 2, was released before the end of the season.
Tamme became a trusted target in the middle of the field for Matt Ryan down the stretch, but he is best suited as a complementary tight end as opposed to the No. 1 piece on the depth chart.
Hardy was inactive for much of the season as he became familiar with the playbook and settled into life in the NFL. He showed off some of his potential late in the season and will be relied on as the Falcons’ No. 3, primarily in the slot.
Depth remains an issue, and the Falcons are an injury away from being worryingly thin with their pass-catchers. If Sanu gets hurt, the tandem of Jones and Hardy would have to be enough.
More from Blogging Dirty
- Atlanta Falcons are the perfect fit for Leonard Floyd
- 3 Largest Atlanta Falcons 2023 dead cap hits
- Atlanta Falcons trade up for a quarterback in this full mock draft
- Atlanta Falcons: 3 trade packages to land first-overall pick
- 3 Reasons the Atlanta Falcons shouldn’t fear Derek Carr and the Saints
Henry is the premier tight end in this year’s draft, and he would give Atlanta’s offense an upgrade. The Arkansas product would give Ryan a big-time threat who can open up the middle of the field and free up more opportunities for the receivers operating on the boundary.
Receiving isn’t all he would bring to the Georgia Dome, however. Henry is a talented blocker and would help keep Ryan upright while creating lanes for Devonta Freeman to exploit on the ground.
Henry could be a versatile weapon on offense who could create mismatches against defenses with his ability to catch the football and block. He could dare linebackers to cover him against base defenses and give favorable matchups as a blocker against nickel looks.
Adding a tight end might appear as more of a luxury than necessity, but adding a playmaker on offense could be a game-changer. And who doesn’t need a playmaker?
Henry could slide to Atlanta in the second round which would provide a nice option at No. 50. It’s unlikely at this stage, but it would feel more feasible should the Falcons trade down on day one.