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Roundtable: Evalauting the TE Draft Prospects

The Falcons have a very tight end friendly offense with veteran Jacob Tamme returning following a career year. With saying that, Atlanta could look to add another young playmaker at this position in the draft. Who is one TE you think the Falcons could target?

KC: Jerell Adams out of South Carolina. Here's my logic: I definitely see the Falcons taking a tight end on Day 2 at some point, and I think this guy will be around. He's 6'5 and has incredibly long arms, and is especially dangerous after the catch. Adams has the skillset to excel in the NFL as a receiever and blocker. Mike Mayock of has the former Gamecock listed as the third-best TE in his position-by-position rankings, falling behind Hunter Henry and Austin Hooper.

AH: He may be gone long before Atlanta's second round pick (50th overall), but Hunter Henry would be a fantastic addition at that spot. Last season, the 6-foot-5, 250-pounder finished with 51 receptions and 739 receiving yards—both good for second on Arkansas' roster—and three touchdowns. Playing behind Tamme for a year could give him a chance to learn the offense; from there, he'd have the skill set and experience needed to become one of the NFL's best pass-catching tight ends.

What is the most important quality a tight end must posses to be successful in Kyle Shanahan's offensive system?

KC:In order to be successful in Atlanta's offense, the tight ends need to be good route runners. Freeing up Julio Jones in this offense is key, and the tight ends have the ability to do that as we saw last season with how much Matt Ryan found Jacob Tamme. You'd expect every tight end on the roster to be a good blocker too, but the route running is essential. Also, being a player who is able to gain a significant amount of yardage after the catch is important too, and that's actually where my favorite tight end for the Falcons, Jerrell Adams, is best.

AH: It might be versatility. Shanahan likes to keep a lot of tight ends around, and they're all given different roles based on what they can bring to the table and where they stand on the depth chart. But if you have the physical strength to block, move well laterally to fit the outside zone scheme and help in the passing game, you'll probably do well in Atlanta.

What round could you see Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff selecting a tight end in, knowing the needs on the defensive side of the ball?

KC: I am going to predict the Falcons select a tight end in the fourth round on the 2016 NFL Draft. I think if Jacob Tamme wasn't on the roster, it would be higher than that. Fortunately, Tamme will be back and I believe he will have another good year for Atlanta. So, with that I could see Quinn and Dimitroff taking a tight end to develop behind Tamme in the fourth round.

AH: If Hunter is there in the second round, I can definitely see the Falcons scooping him up. If he's not, however, Atlanta may wait until the later rounds or undrafted free agency to find a well-built, underrated TE who could help in the run game. If the Falcons want to add a pass-catcher other than Henry, Adams has the speed Quinn desires. Austin Hooper is a name to remember, as well. The Stanford product has long arms, soft hands and blocks better than his relatively lanky frame might suggest.

At this point in time, who do you believe will be the Falcons selection at No. 17 will be?

KC: I'm going to switch from my previous pick, and the guy I planned on becoming a Falcon in April. I'm going to pick LB Deion Jones out of LSU. The Falcons reportedly held a private workout for Jones last week, and based off his 40-yard dash time at the Combine, it sure seems like he has the speed Dan Quinn wants on defense. He also has the strength needed to perform at a high level in the NFL at OLB. In his final season at LSU, he had a team-leading 100 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, five sacks, two interceptions and a forced fumble.

AH: Given his natural athleticism and well-rounded skill set, I think Darron Lee is a good bet at No. 17. Like we've mentioned here before, he has the tools needed to thrive in Quinn's 4-3 defense. He would fill a big need, too, and should be able to jump into a starting role from Day 1.

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