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Training Camp Preview: Three or Four TEs?

Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has long been a proponent of tight ends.

The question is: Will four tight ends prove they deserve spots on the 53-man roster? That's impossible to know right now, but the Falcons seem to be improving at this position heading into 2016.

Coming off a strong season, Jacob Tamme will be Atlanta's No. 1 TE heading into XFINITY® Training Camp. Having finished with a career-high 657 receiving yards — second on the team, behind only Julio Jones — he's proven to be a reliable target for Matt Ryan.

Tamme's biggest competition will likely come from rookie Austin Hooper, drafted in the third round out of Stanford. Although he only played 24 games in college, the 6-foot-4, 248-pounder has the kind of natural skills needed to contribute right away — especially in the red zone.

Levine Toilolo's role in the passing game may have diminished last year, but with a big frame and three seasons of NFL experience, he can still provide value as a blocker. With one year remaining on his current deal, Toilolo's performance in 2016 should have a big impact on his future.

After getting cut during 2015 training camp with an injury, D.J. Tialavea returned to the organization in November — first on the practice squad, then on the active roster in Week 17. Dan Quinn and Shanahan have praised the Utah State product and hope he can develop into a reliable blocker.

Also on the roster heading into camp is rookie Joshua Perkins, signed as a college free agent after the draft. An All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention in 2015, he scored three touchdowns in each of the last three years at University of Washington. How many TEs will make the Falcons' roster?

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