When the Atlanta Falcons opted to release the oft-injured Bradie Ewing this offseason, it certainly created a void at the fullback position. That void is currently filled by Patrick DiMarco, who was serviceable in the absence of Ewing last season. But is DiMarco capable of filling that void in 2014 and beyond?
The Falcons certainly will add fullbacks to bolster competition in camp, but the question remains whether they will draft one.
I’ve outlined in the past why drafting fullbacks has garnered little value for NFL teams over the years. My research shows that drafting a fullback adds marginal value over signing one as an undrafted free agent.
Could the team afford to wait until after the draft before addressing the position? The research says it would be prudent. But it’s understandable that given so many picks the team would be hard-pressed to not address a vacancy at fullback with one of them.
But whether or not the Falcons feel compelled to add that player could depend on whether they address another position early in the draft: tight end.
The team certainly has a need at tight end, and if they are successful in using a high pick on the position, that player is going to be expected to play quite a bit as a rookie. Thus it would appear the Falcons could transition to using more two tight end sets with a rookie and Levine Toilolo. That transition would deemphasize the fullback’s role in the offense, and thus make it a little less necessary to draft one later.