Stanford tight ends and the NFL go together like lamb and tuna fish. No? Ok, fine. Spaghetti and meatballs.
It’s been the Saints’ Coby Fleener, who has just over 2,000 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns in his four-year career with the Colts. Zach Ertz of the Philadelphia Eagles, who had the seventh-most receiving yards for a tight end last year.
Now, Austin Hooper is NFL-bound. The tight end was selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the third round with the 81st pick.
In two years, the 6-foot-4, 254-pound tight end made circus catch after circus catch. He is coming off a junior year where he caught 34 passes for 438 yards and six touchdowns.
Hooper is rated as an excellent blocker and route runner, but according to Pro Football Focus, he dropped 10 passes in 84 chances. They rate him as a “safe bet as a tight end” and he could be a great matchup problem for the Falcons if he limits his drops.
Mike Mayock says Hooper has a "rare feel as a route runner" and could thrive as a matchup and red zone guy.
The Falcons use their tight ends early and often. Tony Gonzalez hauled in 35 touchdowns in five years with the team, and last year's starting tight end, Jacob Tamme, was third on the team in receiving yards.