Atlanta Falcons: 15 best free agent acquisitions of all-time
Patrick DiMarco played his college ball for the legendary Steve Spurrier at the University of South Carolina from 2007 to 2010. Despite playing for the Gamecocks during arguably their best years as a program, DiMarco would go undrafted out of South Carolina in 2011.
The reason for this is probably that he played the antiquated position of fullback. Though it can still be an effective part of an offense, with so many teams trotting out 11 personnel as their base offensive set, many teams just do not use the fullback like they had in the 1990s and 2000s as the primary lead blocker.
DiMarco briefly caught on with the then-San Diego Chargers in 2011, but broke his foot before the start of the regular season. After playing five games with the absolutely horrendous 2012 Kansas City Chiefs, DiMarco would make arguably the best decision of his football career in 2013 by signing with the Falcons.
Atlanta had great success with fullbacks in recent years, including Ovie Mughelli and Justin Griffith prior to DiMarco’s arrival in Flowery Branch. While the 2013 and 2014 Falcons were dreadful football teams (10 combined wins in the final two years of the Mike Smith era), DiMarco would find his calling playing in Kyle Shanahan’s offense under new head coach Dan Quinn in 2015 and 2016.
DiMarco would be named to the Pro Bowl in 2015, as well as earning a spot on the All-Pro Second Team. He had 13 catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns as a receiver, as well as being the primary blocker in running back Devonta Freeman’s first Pro Bowl season. However, Atlanta only went 8-8 that fall and missed the NFC playoffs for the third year in a row.
While DiMarco wouldn’t get back to the Pro Bowl in 2016, that was the greatest year in Falcons history. Atlanta made it back to the Super Bowl, but infamously fell to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI in Houston after blowing a 28-3 lead midway through the third quarter. DiMarco would leave the Dirty Birds in free agency to sign with Sean McDermott’s Buffalo Bills.
DiMarco is entering his third year with the Bills, having made the AFC playoffs in 2017, but had to usher in a new starting quarterback in Josh Allen’s rookie season in 2018. At the halfway point of his Bills contract, it remains to be seen if he’ll be as productive of a player in Orchard Park as he was in Flowery Branch.
Overall, DiMarco had 37 catches for 273 yards and four touchdowns in four years with the Falcons. Despite only having one carry while in Atlanta, DiMarco definitely made a name for himself on the Dirty Birds. Frankly, Atlanta doesn’t win the NFC in 2016 without him as a vibrant part of that elite offensive juggernaut.