Atlanta Falcons: Who is D.J. Tialavea?
Taking a look at a guy fighting for a spot with the Atlanta Falcons, D.J. Tialavea. Can the former tight end turned offensive tackle make the team?
When you look at Atlanta Falcons offensive tackle D.J. Tialavea, you don’t see a normal offensive lineman. The reason for that is he played his entire career at tight end up until training camp kicked off a few weeks ago.
Head coach Dan Quinn decided to move the tight end this season, and although he looks to have added weight, the big tight end is now an undersized tackle — one that’s still listed at 260-pounds.
Games Played: 2
Tialavea played collegiately at Utah State and was picked up as an undrafted free agent by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He didn’t last long there as he was released well before training camp and then spent the 2014 season mostly unemployed — with the exception of a stint on the Buffalo Bills practice squad through September.
In 2015 he was picked up by Atlanta before being set back by a knee injury. He was able to fight through and in 2016 he made his way to the active roster and caught his only pass of his career, which went for a one-yard touchdown.
Now his new job is to help keep the quarterback clean and so far he’s been much better than could be expected.
So what prompted the move? Apparently it was something the player himself wanted, and Quinn decided it was worth it. Here’s a quote from Quinn regarding the move via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitutional:
"“It was something that he and I discussed previously, He really wants to give it a shot, and I thought the earlier the better.”"
Next: Atlanta Falcons: Breakout candidate Ra’Shede Hageman
There’s still a long way to go and the team did bring in Austin Pasztor to be the swing tackle. Still, it’s an interesting story and one worth keeping a close eye on.