FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The Falcons' third addition of free agency was not an offensive lineman, as the first two had been, but it was still for an offensive player.
Atlanta announced it agreed to terms with tight end Luke Stocker on a two-year deal Thursday morning, and it's a move that makes sense even if it fills an under-the-radar need.
Throughout his eight-year Stocker has been a dependable blocker at tight end and has shown the versatility to line up at fullback as well. Perhaps there's not much more to it than that, but it's the type of quiet move that could end up having a positive impact when football once again graces our Sundays in the fall.
Stocker was selected out of the University of Tennessee in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He spent six full seasons with the Buccaneers, and a majority of the 2017 season as well. During his six-plus years in Tampa Bay, Stocker caught 52 passes for 400 yards and three touchdowns.
Late in the 2017 season, Stocker was released by the Buccaneers and subsequently signed a two-year deal with the Tennessee Titans. Stocker finished out the 2017 season in Tennessee and started 11 games for the Titans in 2018; he caught 16 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns during his time there.
Where Stocker fits with the Falcons
There's a unique wrinkle to Stocker that lies just below the surface of what his stats can provide. Having played in both Tampa Bay and Tennessee, Stocker has direct experience working with Dirk Koetter and Mike Mularkey who are the Falcons' new offensive coordinator and tight ends coach, respectively.
That type of experience working with both of those coaches should help Stocker get up to speed very quickly and fit right into the role the Falcons have him pegged for. With Austin Hooper coming off a Pro Bowl season and third-year tight end Eric Saubert having shown some athletic flashes in the past, the Falcons won't likely need to rely on Stocker as a primary receiver.
Instead, Stocker should be able to provide a level of experience and ability as an in-line blocker from the tight end position and could slot in at fullback if the Falcons need him to.
The Atlanta Falcons have agreed to terms with TE Luke Stocker who was drafted by the Buccaneers in the 2011 NFL Draft and most recently played with the Titans.