The Atlanta Falcons re-signed fullback Patrick DiMarco before the outset of free agency, answering any concerns about who they deemed the best candidate to be their starting fullback going into 2015.
But despite that vote of confidence, DiMarco isn’t guaranteed a roster spot this year. The Falcons are in a position to add competition via the draft to push him this summer in training camp.
However, it’s unlikely that competition will come in the form an actual draft pick. Much like the quarterback position, the Falcons probably will settle for bringing in one or two undrafted players after the draft to push DiMarco.
After all, general manager Thomas Dimitroff is thrifty with his draft picks in a sense. He’ll use a pick on a player that has a strong chance of sticking on the roster, but if not, then he’ll pass and settle for an undrafted free agent.
That is the case at fullback. DiMarco is by no means a lock to make the roster. There’s a good chance that if the Falcons hit on the right undrafted free agent, he can come in and unseat the fourth-year veteran. But it’s not a guarantee, and as I illustrated last year, there is really no evidence that drafting a fullback leads to adding a better player than what a team can add in the undrafted market.
More than likely, the Falcons will be looking to replicate what the Washington Redskins did under offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan in past years. Upon his arrival in Washington in 2010, the team already had an established starter at fullback in Mike Sellers. They also had a young undrafted linebacker who spent the previous year on the team’s practice squad. That player was named Darrel Young and they quickly converted him to fullback. Young spent 2010 as the understudy to Sellers and passed him on the depth chart by the start of 2011.
Ideally, the Falcons could find find an undrafted player that could spend 2015 on the practice squad getting comfortable with the offense and then push DiMarco directly for the job in 2016. There’s a chance the Falcons can add a fullback that can speed up that timeline, but it won’t be a priority. DiMarco has been serviceable to solid the past two seasons and there’s little reason to not expect that trend to continue.