The Falcons have seven tight ends currently on the roster. Austin Hooper is the man Matt Ryan will be looking for a majority of the time in the passing game. Luke Stocker worked with new tight ends coach Mike Mularkey in Tennessee so expect him to have the inside track as the second tight end. Then, there is young tight end Eric Saubert, who has potential as both a pass catcher and blocker.
Saubert played in all 16 games last season and started Week 15 against the Arizona Cardinals. He hasn’t played a role as a receiver in his first two seasons in the league, but he did receive nine targets from Matt Ryan in 2018 and caught five. If the Falcons only keep three tight ends on the roster heading into thee season don’t be surprised if he’s the third.
Saubert made big improvement as a pass blocker last year and he’s only heading into his third NFL season. He has good speed for his size along with long arms and large hands. He can separate from linebackers off the line of scrimmage, so he has the tools to have more of an impact in the passing game in 2019.
In seven years in the NFL, Logan Paulson has yet to have an impact on any team’s passing game. Another big advantage Saubert gives over Paulson is the value he brings to the Falcons’ coverage units on special teams.
Finally, all things being equal, Saubert will make approximately $31,000 than Paulsen in 2019 but has a larger dead cap hit if the Falcons intend to cut him.
The tight end position will be an interesting one to watch in training camp and the preseason. Just don’t be surprised if you see number 85 on the sidelines in 85 days when the Falcons kickoff their season.